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  • Writer's picturej. alix barber


Updated: Sep 1, 2020

If you are new to our blog, which is the case for mostly everyone as our first post was only last week to the J. Alix Barber Photography - phoBLOGraphy, it’s possible you are wondering, Just what the heck is a phoBLOGraphy and how did I get here?

As stated in that first post, our phoBLOGraphy is where a photo is selected, any random photo, even a screen shot from an IG feed, and words are written to describe what it means to me, J. Alix Barber, author of the blog. A thousand words. Give or take a few. With the hope everyone may relate in some way. The goal is to use every part of our website to create a positive movement. An inspiring and artful experience. For all who visit.

Okay, so, here is this meme-ish thing combining a very pensive photo of Chadwick Boseman and a quote of his which showed up on Instagram while waiting for my eye exam. Thankfully, it was in extra large font.

He is right. Was right. Still right. Words as powerful as he is. Was. Will continue to be.

“The struggles along the way are only meant to shape you for your purpose.”

Over the course of time, I have shared with my sons, All we experience builds who we are and lends to our character. To myself I would add, Don’t think I need much more character. I have also explained the experiences from which we learn - the good and the bad - are powerful. In my opinion, it’s the latter which pack the most punch. We don’t want to create more struggles than necessary. Right?

Digging a littler deeper into Chadwick Boseman’s words, I heard so much. I heard accountability. I heard acceptance. I felt so much. I felt humility. I felt strength. His. My own. Words that struck so hard, the draft on which I'd been working for our second post was saved for another time. A shift from that title to this one.


I began thinking, Don’t struggle with your purpose, and you will have less struggles.


How many times have you turned left when your gut said turn right? In those very seconds we go against what we know to be right we create more work for ourselves. Sometimes immediately by getting stuck in the mud. Because we turned into a ditch. Or ultimately later, when they find dirt in the engine. Because we turned into that ditch. I don’t know if that’s even possible, dirt in the engine? Because I really only know how to put gas in the car and make sure the audio sounds like I am actually - at the show. But, hopefully you get my really great, or really awful, analogy. Listening to our intuition reduces the struggle. The obstacles. The hurdles. Limits the required learning from poor choices and experiences. Decreases the odds of any mud in the picture. How do I know? Made some left turns. Said no to my gut.

Strayed from my purpose.

Which is, and always has been, to make people feel really good about who they are. To encourage. Inspire. Heal. Oh, and laugh. That is actually the best! When I am able to make my sons laugh out loud, it feels like the greatest accomplishment in the world. They’re a tough crowd. They’re teenagers.

I digress.

I have always known this. My purpose. Sometimes, though, I would get in my own way. Get muddy. Through those struggles, I have learned that purpose requires personal boundaries. Guardrails. Seems every single time to have stepped over them or let them down, I got a little lost. Creating more work which would take me three steps backward.

When I saw this quote today, first there was an impending feeling of sadness by the loss of his young life. For his family, too. Immediately followed, though, was a feeling of grace and a sense of This is speaking - to me. Somehow, I have to believe this quote was at the core of Chadwick Boseman’s purpose, because there was such a positive energetic vibe while reading it. You made it, fluttered around in my head.

Our purpose is simple. Why? It’s innate. What’s even more simple, our purpose aligns to our success. Success, being our own personal measure of achievement. How do we find our purpose? Purpose is what makes us happy. All the other cool stuff in this world, in this life, is what makes us happy-er. Our purpose drives our energy - upward. Positively.

Purpose feeds the soul.

This quote and photo reiterated what I am doing today, with my corporate career and with J. Alix Barber Photography, took many left, and right, turns to find. Often re-routing from the guided direction of that intuitive GPS. Crossing over my own personal boundaries or guardrails to land flat in the mud. Which is why accountability and humility spoke greatly to me while reading his words.

Chadwick Boseman reminds us it's okay to fall flat. That each struggle just gets us closer. Shapes us. To find our purpose and stay the course. Strengthening and fine tuning what we were meant to do. Never comparing our journey to how she got there or he got here. Just be you doing the best you can do - today - constantly learning from this moment, the next and those past.

Happily shaped and settled into our purpose, life does become simpler.

Thank you for being here. Until next week!


j. alix barber

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