PART 5: Calling
This month’s article is a somewhat unusual article. It is meant to inform, intrigue, and inspire . . . in a slightly different way than, perhaps, other articles.
The overriding theme of this month’s newsletter is the same as the previous four newsletter articles: We in our world today are mostly staying on the surface of life . . . more than we even know. As a result of staying on the surface, we end up suffering needlessly and needlessly creating more suffering both for ourselves and for our world.
The specific theme of this month’s article is different from the previous. It’s about our calling . . . and the distortion of the meaning of the word calling.
Just like so much else in our world today, people are focusing on the outer meaning of calling and missing the inner, underlying meaning at the heart of what calling is.
Some synonyms for the word calling include: vocation, profession, occupation, business, work, mission, passion.
I understand those are amongst the meanings that have come to be common over time. But think about what else has come to be common over time. For example, bullying, war, lying, cheating, domestic violence, attempts to overpower someone – women, African Americans, Muslims, homosexuals. Just because it is common does not mean it is healthy, just, or leads to our being the best we can be individually or communally.
Numerous people have come to me wanting to find their calling. Thinking, because of all that’s been distortedly taught in our New Age world, that their calling is their purpose in life. Searching, desperately, to claim a purpose to their life. Terrified they won’t find one. This is one of the most cruel effects of the New Age teachings about calling.
Even Oprah has talked about calling as an outer “thing.” She has said things like, “It’s what I’m called to do.” and “The real work of your life is to figure out your function . . .” [Bolding is mine.] *
Doing is not our calling. Our function and how we function is not our calling. They are what we get all tied up into knots about when we don’t know what we really think, feel, need, and when we don’t know who we really are. Our function is not who we are. And if that is what we have been taught and swallowed whole . . . no wonder equality doesn’t exist in our hearts and in our lives! No wonder people don’t get the essence of themselves and those who share this planet. No wonder people aren’t inspired to dig through the layers and layers of defenses they have built –within and without – in an effort to protect the essence of who they are.
To me, after over thirty-some years as a depth psychotherapist and student of humanity . . .
It is clear that our calling is to find ourselves. In order to truly do that we need to explore within . . . Not get busy in the outer world “doing” and “functioning.” It’s not that we don’t need to function. It’s not that there isn’t anything we need to do. It’s just that we need to stop pretending doing and functioning is foremost. It sets us up to stay disconnected from who we are. It sets us up to be brainwashed and taken advantage of. It sets us up to be used, misused, and abused. It sets us up to be unable to stand up for ourselves and our world in the healthiest ways needed.
Calling, at heart, is not about doing. It’s not about functioning. It’s an exploration within. It’s a mystery within each of us. It’s about knowing who you are. It’s about discovering aspects of yourself you didn’t even know were part of you before. It’s about discovering gifts within yourself that were buried when you buried your feelings and memories long, long ago. It’s about discovering unconscious yet destructive parts of yourself that were buried or came into being when you were wounded in days long ago. It’s about working with what you find in order to go deeper and deeper to who you really are. It’s about dissolving the walls you built between who you think you are and who you really are at your core . . . and transforming the walls, one by one, into part of your underlying essence and the gift of who you are.
After thirty plus years of both my own explorations within and my helping others with theirs . . . I believe we’re called to know ourselves . . . to spin the straw of our wounds, our defenses, and our compensations into the gold of who we really are. Then we can live our lives from the inside out, bringing the gold of who we really are out into the world, truly enriching ourselves and the world around us. That is our calling. Nothing less. Nothing more. That is our Calling.
© Judith Barr, 2013
WHAT YOU CAN DO
TO HELP MAKE YOUR AND OUR WORLD SAFE . . .
FROM THE INSIDE OUT
As you go on your healing journey, and as you contemplate your calling, ask yourself what finding that calling means to you. Does it mean something exterior . . . “doing” and “functioning”? Or do you really hear and recognize the call to do the inner healing work that will help you come to know who you really are, to uncover the perhaps hidden gifts and talents within yourself that are interwoven with the core of who you really are?
Make a commitment today to focus on truly going within, so that eventually, you will be rooted deep enough within to be able to live from the inside out. You may find you need the help of a caring, integritous therapist to do this sometimes delicate exploration. Commit to your own inner exploration and healing first and foremost – to find yourself as you truly are, and to not stop doing this inner work, as you continue to do those things in the outer world that your calling may lead you to do.
2 thoughts on “If We Stay on The Surface . . . We End Up Suffering and Creating More Suffering . . .”
I am a psychotherapist in West Hartford. Everything you have written here is EXACTLY what I believe, what I communicate to my clients, and even in my own personal journey of eventually becoming a Motivational Speaker.
I loved all your words. I completely agree!!
Naomi Lufkin, MA, LPC, NCC
Thank you, Naomi, for your comment…In a world where the concept of “finding your calling” is so distorted and misunderstood, it’s wonderful to find a kindred spirit (and so close geographically!) who understands the need for including doing your own inner work as a necessary part of that process.