Hello MFJ Readers.
I'd like to thank my friend
and author, Gregg
author of "Callings:
Finding and Following an Authentic Life," for
his contribution and inspiration for this week's article, "Are
You Following Your Calling." I'd also like to invite you to a free
with Gregg and myself next Thursday, Feb. 20th. See details below.
I've also started an R&D team for FacilitatorVille.com. If
you'd like to be part of the formation of this virtual
university, please come have a look at the site and join our
R&D team. Your involvement means that you will receive
emails from me periodically soliciting your input and ideas. As
we begin to flesh out the concept for this site, I'd really value
your support. So please join if you'd like to be a part of this
If you or your colleagues are interested in submitting an
article for consideration, please email
your ideas. I'd love to hear from you.
Thanks for reading!
You Following Your Calling?
You owe it to yourself
and to the world to find and follow an authentic life.
Many of us, operating as personal
and social change agents in the roles of facilitators, trainers,
coaches, teachers, leaders, etc., truly have a passion for
making a positive difference in the world, in the lives of
individuals, and groups. Many of us may have answered, what one might refer to as, "a calling," to do this work--some
deep inner prompting, or nagging, that compelled us to follow
one path or another.
We may have denied this calling
for a long while. Perhaps we have a calling or callings that we
continue to deny. And understandably so. As the act of following
a calling can really upset our lives. And who among us loves to
change? But still, is there a calling you've yet to answer, that
won't let you rest? That keeps haunting you? Perhaps in the form
of inner turmoil, pain, or frustration that nags you in the land
of status quo?
Our callings often operate on a level below and beyond our
conscious, rational, thinking minds. It takes courage and faith
to follow them. But realizing that this level of our being
connects to far more of the mystery and wisdom of life than our
rational minds can ever grasp, should give us pause to
Facilitators and coaches often help individuals and groups
resist their compulsive addiction to certainty, by teaching them
to hold opposites, to sit with a question, or to face a
conflict, long enough for something new and richer to evolve. We
challenge and support people to face and resolve the barriers
that keep them from acting on their heart's desire or their soul
Paradox and confusion are the nature of calls. Easing up on
ourselves when we're confused or uncertain is a great step
forward. Clarity is power, but lack of clarity around our
callings is not a sign of weakness. It's part of the path.
Without the friction of uncertainly, we would not be molded into
the vessel strong and deep enough to live them. Loving ourselves
through the confusion can open the space for the calling to do
its work on us. The great statues we admire did not come into
being without being hammered on relentlessly...but in the right
places of course.
Listen to what Gregg Levoy, the author
of "Callings," has to say about these mysterious
A calling is any urging or imperative from deep within your life
that tells you what it’s going to take to make your life---or
the lives of those you lead, manage or counsel----"come
true," and it is a request for a response----an awakening,
a course-correction, a decision that needs to be made, some
movement toward a state of integrity and authenticity. It could
involve a career change, a new role or relationship, a new
venture, a creative leap, or a move to a new city.
A calling is also an organism, a living entity, with an animus
all its own. It exerts a centrifugal force on your life,
continually pushing out from within, pushing you to decide
whether to say yes or no, now or later, ready or not. And it
will keep coming back until you give it an answer. Saying yes to
a calling tends to place you on a path that half of yourself
thinks doesn’t make a bit of sense, but the other half knows
your life won’t make sense without.
The bigger the calling, too, the more likely it will fling
opposing energies into your life. One part of you wants to
awaken, another to sleep. One part wants to follow, another to
run like hell. Courage is joined at the hip with anxiety.
Heroism can be redefined for the modern age as the
ability to tolerate paradox, to hold contrary impulses and ideas
within you and still hang on to your marbles, still retain the
ability to function. Thus a heroic approach to the oxwork of
bringing calls into form takes them on with no illusions,
knowing that your endeavors will always be attended by the
conflict between the voices of faith and doubt, passion and
Unfortunately, callings tend to bring on the fear that scares
away sleep, so we typically tune out the longings we feel rather
than confront and act on them. We’re all conservatives when it
comes to change; we want to conserve the status quo, protect our
investments. We also fear what might be demanded of us in
pursuing them, and perhaps even fear the hope that such dreams
evoke in us, and the power that we know is dammed up behind our
resistance. As someone I interviewed for my book,
"Callings," said, “You shall know the truth and it
shall make you nap.”
Ultimately, none of us want bumper stickers on our cars that say
“I’d rather be sailing,” or “The worst day fishing is
better than the best day working.” We want to do what we’d
rather be doing. We want our lives----and the work to which
we’re devoting our lives----to catch fire and burn blue, not
smolder. We want to feel called, not just driven. We want work
to be a channel through which we express our passion and
vitality, not a chin-up bar we have to pull ourselves up to
every morning. And we want success to be a way we feel, not just
a thing we achieve.
To do this, we must incorporate into our lives and our work the
understanding that hidden deep in the clockworks of the human
heart is the beneficent fear of living life, as Henry Miller
once put it, without ever leaving the bird cage, and that this
fear can be the beginning of great things. Outside the cage
there is life in all its toothsome grandeur, all the spill and
stomp and shout of it, all the come and go of it, all of it
waiting for us to act on the one hand, and on the other hand
rushing down the hourglass.
Gregg Levoy is the author of Callings: Finding and Following An
Authentic Life. Visit his website at www.gregglevoy.com.
you every had a calling? If so, how did it manifest? Do you have
a calling now that you're avoiding? If so, why? Do you want to
do something about it? If so, what? I'd
love to hear what happens for you. Please email
me your comments.
Finding and Following an Authentic Life, by Gregg Levoy.
do we know if we're following our true callings? How do we
sharpen our senses to cut through the distractions of everyday
reality and hear the calls that are beckoning us?
Callings is the first book to examine the many kinds of calls we receive
and the great variety of channels through which they come to us.
A calling may be to do something (change careers, go back to
school, have a child) or to be something (more creative, less
judgmental, more loving). While honoring a calling's essential
mystery, this book also guides readers to ask and answer the
fundamental questions that arise from any calling: How do we
recognize it? How do we distinguish the true call from the siren
song? How do we handle our resistance to a call? What happens
when we say yes? What happens when we say no?
is a compassionate guide to discovering your own callings and
negotiating the tight passages to personal power and authenticity.
Stories of callings
Have you ever helped a
group, "find it's calling?" If so, I'd love to hear
your story. Please send them to
me at ../contact.html
and I'll share with you all the inputs