Skip to content Skip to sidebar Skip to footer


In the next section of her book, Markova asks four questions that guide each of us toward our purpose. All questions are based on the fact that humans are not broken, just unfinished.

First question: "What is unfinished for me to give?" Notice that Markova asks us to look at what we are doing well instead of focusing on our faults or deficits. She calls this looking for the "spot of grace."

Second question: "What is unfinished for me to heal?" Sometimes a wound in our life is a passageway to our purpose. Because God has a very twisted sense of humor, sometimes the worst thing that has ever happened to us holds the possibility of bringing the best in us to the wider community. As stated by Frederick Buechner, "Purpose is the place where your deep gladness meets the world’s needs."

Third question: "What is unfinished for me to learn?" Here she explains the difference between rut stories and river stories. A rut story is one in which we spend most of our lives telling ourselves stories and then believing them. A rut story is one that numbs us and convinces us that we will always be whom we have always been. In contrast, a river story is one that energizes us and carries us forward toward new possibilities with a sense of purpose. Once you become aware that you are telling yourself stories, you begin to have a choice about what stories you tell, thus becoming the author of your own life.

Fourth question: "What is unfinished for me to experience?" Markova had an experience in which she died for a moment, rose above her own body, then returned to her body. During that near-death experience, she was able to understand what it meant to fully live. She understood that a person does not have to find her purpose, but rather allows her purpose to find her.


Markova ends the book with a simple acronym that she uses to stay on track with her purpose in life. The acronym LIVE represents four questions that can guide each of us through major and minor life decisions:

  • What do I Love?
  • What are my Inner gifts and talents?
  • What do I Value?
  • What are the Environments that bring out the best in me?

She uses these questions as compass points whenever she comes to an important intersection in her life. The questions help her to stay on track with her life purpose and to live life passionately. These are questions I now use to guide my own decisions, and I share them in my coaching sessions to help people hear and see what is in their hearts and to trust that internal wise guide.

"Purchasing this book was a life-changing moment for me, because the theme that threads the chapters together is about reclaiming purpose and passion in one's life."


I ran out of time to correct Markova’s poem for my Gestalt class, but I came up with a better idea. After class ended in mid-March, I decided to buy an electronic copy of the book for my 16 classmates and our 20+ faculty members. I told them about the incorrect line in the poem, showed them the corrected line, and gave each of them a copy of the book. In return, I received the gift of gratitude and increased connection with my classmates and teachers.

One more note: about 30 years ago, I received a book called Random Acts of Kindness, and I was so taken by the concept of increasing the amount of kindness in the world by committing random acts of love and goodness. I even bought a sweatshirt proclaiming this concept. I had a full-circle moment recently when I had a thought about the book, picked it off my bookshelf, and discovered that the editor of the book was none other than Dawna Markova! What a beautiful reminder from the Universe that the goodness we put out into the world has a ripple effect, sometimes decades into the future.

I encourage you to use this blog and Markova’s reflections as an intentional act of kindness toward yourself. Live your passion. Live a life that you love.


From the opening pages of Dawna Markova’s book, I Will Not Live an Unlived Life: Reclaiming Passion and Purpose:

I will not die an unlived life
I will not live in fear
of falling or catching fire.
I choose to inhabit my days,
to allow my living to open me,
to make me less afraid,
more accessible,
to loosen my heart until it becomes a wing,
a torch, a promise.
I choose to risk my significance;
to live so that which came to me as seed
goes to the next as blossom
and that which came to me as blossom,
goes on as fruit.


  • Dawna Markova (2000). I Will Not Live an Unlived Life: Reclaiming Passion and Purpose. Berkeley, CA: Conari Press.
  • Dawna Markova and Daphne Rose Kingma (1993). Random Acts of Kindness. Berkeley, CA: Conari Press.

Editing by Paul M. Kubek of PMK Consulting, LLC.

Club HOPE Unlimited is a 501c3 organization. Donations may be tax-exempt. Consult your tax professional.

© 2024 Club HOPE Unlimited.
All Rights Reserved.