In the work that I do its common for the concept of vocation and purpose to come into the conversation at some point. Lately I’ve been finding myself in discussions with people – strangers, friends, acquaintances, clients – where each of them are talking about ‘trying to figure it out’. You know, figure out what they are doing, how they are doing it, what they are passionate about, and how to make it into a reality that sustains them.
It’s funny how the conversations we find ourselves in are such important mirrors for where we are on our own journey. Where we’ve traveled, where we’re going , where we’re stuck. I know my life purpose and my vocation. Knowing is not the problem. Its how to turn the knowing into something that I can use, into action, into an income that is sustained by my heart and my passion. Sometimes Ifeel like I’m on the slow boat to China.
Well, being that my business, my vocation, my calling if you will, is to help people vision and actualize the lives of their dreams I definitely don’t shy away from the discourse, despite not having it all figured out. Rather I offer up all the wisdom I’ve earned by following my dreams up to this point. What is that wisdom you ask? Well, its simple… sort of.
It starts with asking a few questions that sound a little something like this…
What is it that you are passionate about?
What lights up your life?
For me its a lot of things. I get excited and full of fire about the arts, the ocean and nature, about books and music, and dancing and yoga. There’s so much that I love and that I love doing (so much that it took me awhile to figure out what I really wanted to do with my life). Yet what pulls me in again and again with curiosity and intrigue and a desire to know more, is people, bodies, and their stories. My whole world lights up. Bingo! I want to work with people, their bodies and their stories.
Basically once I figured out what really got my lights turned on I invested in it whole heartedly. Granted the road was by no means straight, it was a meandering path through so many areas of inquiry and study. Yet all those side routes expanded my experience, my knowledge, and my intrigue in what I found myself to be so passionate about. SO, a few more good questions are:
What are the threads that you are following in your life?
Are they the ones that are filling up your spirit or filling up your pocketbook for the time being?
Yes, yes I know the pocketbook is important. I know all too well. I spent years doing multiple jobs in a variety of fields to support my calling. I worked jobs that enabled me to continue to fill the well of my passion so that I might have the opportunity to turn it into a service that inevitably fills both my heart and my piggy bank. As I look back, even as diverse as all those jobs were, each, in some way, informed what I was aiming to do. Basically on the way to living the dream, and more specifically to bring our own unique dreams to life, we gotta get in action and support our goals along the way. Heck, I’m still employed by “side work”. No matter the “side work” what’s most important is getting clear about our dream. Once we’re clear, we know (more in a gut sense rather than head sense ) how to move forward. And once we’re clear, our inner wisdom won’t let us turn our back on what we love. Our lives sink and we drown when we do that. Now more than ever, I’m fully invested in myself and the skills I’ve gained necessary to fulfill my life’s work and say yes to my vocation. I can’t turn my back on myself and what I love. Not a chance.
Which brings me to the next piece. We have to say yes to ourselves. We have to own our own awesomeness. Yes! OWN. YOUR. AWESOMENESS. There is no one else like you. You are one of a kind and what you bring to the table (whatever vocational table you are choosing to sit at) isn’t like anyone else who is saying they do the same thing (that’s why ‘life purpose’, which is unique to your life, is part of the title). We must get behind ourselves. If we aren’t why would anyone else want to sign on for what we offer?
Yes, you have probably heard this before, I have. It makes sense but isn’t the easiest to implement. Getting behind ourselves means we have to let go of our fears of not being good enough. It means we have to trust our intuition – that voice inside of us that is more resonant than all the excess noise of the current world we occupy but not always so obvious. It means we have to be creative, think outside the box, and believe that anything we come up with is possible.
How do we do all that you ask? Start by talking with a good friend, a friend who sees your special talents and skills, a friend who is prone to lifting you up and encouraging you (steer clear of those friends who lean toward pessimism and negativity on this one- and in general really). In the early stages as we begin to even consider flying with our big ideas we need to be bolstered and supported by someone who believes in us.
Be supported and then take action. Any action. Just take a step in the direction of what you want to do, hope to do, feel called to do, and see what happens. It could be a conversation, an email, a class, a personal practice… Whatever it is that gets you connected to that thing that you are most passionate about and brings it into focus in your everyday life, begin by doing that. Begin. Follow your heart, check your inner guide, and continue to take steps, to dream, to note ideas, to talk to supportive people, to talk to people who do what you long to do or who are actualizing their own big dreams. Be inspired and say yes to yourself. Invest in what you love, and your vocation and your calling will only get clearer.
As for the slow boat to China, its not so bad. I mean today I just launched MUSINGS. Last week I wrote up a new workshop idea and planned a community service program. Last month I started co-hosting a dance practice and teaching yoga on Kauai. Who knows whats next…? I’m envisioning an interview on the radio and launching some of my many Intentional Life Design ideas into form. You know, just living the life I love, and loving the life I live…