A friend wondered aloud, “What is truly mine to do with my life?” She noted that many of her colleagues were asking themselves similar questions. They wanted to know if they were following their true calling in life.
When we hear the word calling, perhaps it conjures up the thought that it is something spiritual or religious in nature. But there are many kinds of calls and they come to us in many ways. Often, they are work related. But there are also relationship calls, moral decision related calls or lifestyle calls.
Callings are different depending on where we are in life. The ones that we have in our twenties will be different from the ones in our 40’s, 50’s, and different still in our 60’s, and later.
A calling, whether in work or in personal life, is when we find and follow our authentic self that results in a sense of alignment and aliveness. It may be to leave a job altogether or come to it in a new way. Perhaps it means to take a new role or let go of an old one. It is possibly making a creative leap or launching a new venture. Maybe it’s simply making a course correction in life or work so that we will make our life “come alive.”
Usually the major question is “Am I doing what I feel I was put here to do?” I recall contemplating that question at a critical point in my life. I reached a point where I had to make a change. I only made that change to leave what was familiar and comfortable when I reached the point where the fear of answering my call outweighed the pain of not doing so.
Answering our call is simply a matter of remembering who we really are. A father was interacting with his seven-year-old daughter. She came to him one day and asked him what he did at work. He told her that he worked at the college, and his job was to teach people how to draw. He said she looked back at him, incredulous, and said, "You mean they forget?"
Our calling is hardwired in each of us. However, we’ve temporarily forgotten, or we push it aside because we may have accepted what society tells us is important. We can always resurrect our callings. They are deep inside our life and show up as urgings and inner promptings. They point us to our true north and come in dreams, intuitions, passions, books that mysteriously make their way on our night table, or positive feelings in our bodies when we are around people or events that remind us of our calling.
One of the challenges that show up when we answer our calls is the resistance from seeming outside forces. Sometimes just thinking about saying yes will tend to throw opposing energies into our lives. When those seeming opposing energies show up, one part of us wants to follow the call, the other wants to run like hell. However, joined at the hip with anxiety is courage.
But we can look at the resistance from a different perspective. The movie, “The Right Stuff,” helps us out here. In one scene, the pilot, Chuck Yeager, attempts to break the sound barrier for the first time. Just before he hits that point of breaking the barrier (768 miles per hour*), the plane starts shaking and shuddering and threatening to break apart. Then suddenly when he reaches that speed, he breaks through and experiences a glorious silence, and a perfectly smooth ride.
In our own lives, there is a similar experience whenever we seek to attempt a breakthrough. There is resistance, shaking and shuddering. However, and it is not opposed to the breakthrough; it’s part of it. In such instances, we must be resilient in moving forward since resistance is likely to show up as soon as we follow our call and say yes to the passion of our being.
Without the shuddering, there is no genuine growth. The capacity to be “shaken up" is often, ironically, the key to growth of any system. Whether it be at the molecular level, or the chemical, physical, social, psychological or spiritual.
Whatever is protected from disturbance is also protected from change and becomes stagnant. When answering your call, courage is often required to stay the course during the shaking and shuddering. This is what is meant by "character." It’s part of the process. When you answer that call, there is not only that sense of personal “aliveness” but you also encourage others to do the same.
Peace and Blessings,
*Reference, National Geographic Organization