Answering the Call
Last week, during class, I shared this piece written by Oprah about figuring out who are you meant to be: "I believe there's a calling for all of us. I know that every human being has value and purpose. The real work of our lives is to become aware. And awakened. To answer the call."
In this most recent O magazine there is whole segment on "Who Are You Meant To Be?". This section includes contributions by a variety of writers who discovered who they were meant to be by making mistakes and learning from them. Authors such as Anne Lamott, Mary Karr, Junot Diaz, and Uwem Akpan shared their story. The pieces submitted are beautiful, real, and worth reading.
I do realize that this a big question to ask but really just wanted to hear the student's reply and perspective. I suppose I brought this up because it has been on my mind a lot and for a long time. I am of the belief that each person IS born with a unique gift and purpose and that once you discover what that is for yourself, then things begin to come together or they fall apart and then come together.
On Sunday morning, the conversation was great albeit brief. Everyone in the room was really honest and willing to share. I loved the varied perspective and could definitely empathize with the frustration some were feeling because of being in the contemplation and concealment phase of their lives of trying to figure out the answer to this very question.
So here is what came up, the points made during our conversation...
We all agreed that some people are born into the world knowing their purpose and are aware of their unique gift or gifts from the get go while others have to figure this out by realizing what they are not. We also discussed the idea of who you are meant to be or thought you would be can change as you change. Another great point was the question as to whether or not your job is the same as your calling, which was confusing for many. My thought on this is that for some the answer to whether your job is your purpose is yes. While for others, the answer is no.
As our conversation continued, someone brought up the fact that some people never figure out their calling. To which I replied, "Why do you think that is?" Is it because they simply missed or ignored the signs directing them to their highest, or is there purpose to live this life as they are living it? As you can see, this is a rich and thoughtful topic.
The conclusion that I have come to and hold dear to my heart is this...
I think it is easy to get caught up in the have-to' s versus the love-to's and get confused on what the difference is. And along the way, we may loose sight of what matters most all because of a genuine and understandable concern about our livelihood and about what we think we are supposed to be doing versus what we feel soul-driven to do. Yes, it is important to be able to provide and care for your family and/or yourself, but it's not everything. I absolutely believe it is possible to both do what you love and get paid for it. It really is creative endeavor. Your life and happiness that is.
I will close with a quote by Anne Lamott and add to it.
Anne Lamott writes, "You have to make mistakes to find out who you aren't. You take the action, and the insight follows: You don't think your way into becoming yourself."
Ultimately, you find your way to the truth of who you are and what you love by trial and error. You give yourself and your life a chance. I feel strongly that if you pay attention to the things that bring you joy and make you feel good at the soul level, you will be guided right. Meaning that as you go for that which brings you joy and makes a difference in the world on either a small or large scale, you'll realize your gifts and know in your bones that something magical and beautiful that only you can offer.
Let me be clear, just because we go for what we love does not mean that all of our days are sunny and bright nor does this mean that the path there is an easy one to travel. However, what I do know is that you will have the strength and courage to carry on despite the difficult moments you may face. I think that when you follow the longing in your heart no matter what, you will be granted an infinite amount of courage and determination to reach the highest point. After all, the sky is limit. How far is that? I don't know. I'll let you know when I figure that out. ;p
Keep on keepin' on,