This particular day started like many of the others this year, except that one of my closest friends – quite frankly, one of the best guys I’ve ever known – my buddy Joe – had emailed me the distinction between purpose and priority. Outside, it was grey, misty and foggy, with a hint of rain, though in this case that never came. The sun would only say hello later. Taylor and I went for a walk upon waking, both of us tired from hiking up and down hills yesterday. Waiting for me loaded into my car were fifteen 30-gal trash bags full of clothes from a purge that swept my belongings last month, following the Konmari method from a book I had read recently. But it was purpose and priority that was on my mind.

Purpose is Vision and Mission. Priority is Values and Principles.

“If you don’t know your purpose, discover it, now. The core of your life is your purpose. Everything in your life, from your diet to your career, must be aligned with your purpose if you are to act with coherence and integrity in the world. If you know your purpose, your deepest desire, then the secret of success is to discipline your life so that you support your deepest purpose and minimize distractions and detours.” -David Deida

My priorities are guiding way points along the journey to actualizing my purpose. They are cause for my discipline; they will keep me energized, aligned and oriented.

Joe has a way of putting thoughts in your head that are worth thinking about, words in your head worth writing about.

And with those words echoing in my head, I drove into San Francisco to St. Anthony’s donating all fifteen bags. Pulling up to the curb on 121 Golden Gate, I emptied all the bags into a huge cart Patrick had wheeled outside. St. Anthony’s is a wonderful organization helping the more than 15,000 homeless people in the city, not to mention thousands more that don’t have enough money to buy enough food, and so much more. I donated coats, suits, jeans, sweaters, sweatshirts, shirts and tshirts, chinos, socks, belts, performance wear, shoes, etc. I said goodbye to Patagonia, North Face, Jack Spade, J. Crew, Banana Republic, Levi’s, 7 for Mankind, Citizens of Humanity, Bonobos, When it was all said and done, conservatively speaking, I had spent over $20,000 on what I gave.

Feeling a smile envelope my entire body, I left and on a whim, instead of going home, I drove to Point Bonita Lighthouse, not far from where I live in Sausalito. The lighthouse was built in 1855, the third one built on the West Coast to give guidance across the treacherous Golden Gate straits. And like all other places in the Bay Area, stunningly beautiful Point Bonita is just another reason in a long line of reasons why I love living here. The sun brightly lit now, its rays warming the 60 degree temperature, I walk down the path, parts of it steep, to the lighthouse, disappointed it wasn’t open but not unhappy.

I sat on a bench by myself much of the afternoon, thinking upon my purpose and my priorities, my feet firmly esconced on a post and steel cables, absently glancing at my colourful Bucketfeet shoes, where just beyond me a straight drop down to the ocean. And like my other adventures in and around the Marin Headlands, the power of the Pacific with the sounds of its crashing waves and of the foghorn in the distance all play a song, singing along with the breeze in the air blowing by me. The pine trees seem especially green today, thankful for the rains this year. A house stands on a hill before me, with what was once a white picket fence, and an intensely green lawn. The rustic, black door opening to the lighthouse locked behind me. The Golden Gate proudly stands in the not too far off distance with the city behind it and to the right providing a painting to the music enveloping my thoughts.

Someone dear to me told me this morning that giving is the best way to getting. She was most definitely right.

Giving is indeed the gift that keeps on giving.
Giving is indeed the gift that keeps on getting.

At this very moment, I’ve been getting the Bay Area. And all I had to do was give clothing. And of course, reflect upon my purpose and my priorities.

And I was happy.

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