Have you ever wondered if you are doing what you should be doing? If you are making a difference in the world?
Do you think time is running out and you’d better step up or shut up?
I look around me and see two types of people: those who knew themselves early on and followed that little internal voice to claim their true purpose, walk the path they were meant to walk.
A lot of clergy fall into this category. They just heard a calling of some sort early on and enlisted in study that led them to become spiritual leaders.
And then the second category of people are the ones who maybe heard that little voice but silenced it and pursued a path that others thought would be right for them – the promise of a hefty paycheck, a discipline rather than a creative pursuit, a “sure thing,” if you will, as opposed to taking a chance and realizing the Self.
In a way, I straddle both categories. I moved to New York three weeks after college graduation to become a journalist and I spent the next 15 years writing for pay. It was fun, and something I did well, and enjoyed, but always there was a wandering eye within me that pondered whether another path would be more interesting, easier, more lucrative, more for me.
I went to graduate school for writing much to the dismay of my family – how will you earn a living with an MFA? Go to law school!
And maybe they were right, but I went anyway and loved my two years stringing words together in the Vermont forests and pondering meanings with poet-friends over wine that reflected the crackling of the fireplace.
The thing with achieving all your goals is you start to wonder, what next? Because maybe the real goal is enjoying the here-and-now, living in the moment.
There is no graduate degree for that. It’s a spiritual lesson that either comes from within or is cultivated by slowing down and listening to the rain drops. You learn that in yoga or in meditation or in prayer. And you can’t hear it if you don’t make the time.
Rather than push my children to choose a career, pick a path, I hope I can encourage them to listen to their internal voices. To assert the Self and follow its call. To do what feels like they’re pulled to do, regardless of society or structure or expectation.
What do you LOVE to do? What doesn’t seem like work? What would you do even if you weren’t paid to do it? What makes you come alive, and thus happy, and thus full of passion for the task at hand?
Do it. Just do it. Just jump in and don’t think about whether you will make money at it or anything too far down the road. Just get started and see what happens.
It’s advice I wish all of us had way back when. Can’t look back though and so the task for today is to figure out the little voice, let it get loud and stop long enough to see what it has to say.