{flickr photo by: Brittany ((Halo))}

If someone asked you right now what you want to be when you grow up, what would you say?

Would you laugh nervously trying to buy time before an answer came? Would you smile and tell them that what you’re doing right now is what you’ve always dreamed of doing?

That answer is a hard one.

Finding Your Calling with Author Gregg Levoy

According to the talk I went to last week with Callings author Gregg Levoy, we probably already knew the answer to that question a long, long time ago. But it got beaten out of us. Years of criticisms, judgement, and conditioning buried that calling deep.

“Conformity is rewarded and the failure to conform is punished,” said Levoy. It’s no wonder we’re so confused about our purpose in life.

I always thought that my classmates who knew what they wanted to do with their lives early on were one of the “lucky ones.” Now I see things differently. Maybe it was not a failure on my part or that I was unlucky, but it was neglect. A daily unconscious burial of the dreams I held deep.

It took me almost 10 years before I returned to writing. And I was reminded of why it took so long.

Recently, someone laughed when I told them what I do for a living. It was someone close to me. I can’t say it didn’t hurt me.

But the journey it took to get me here was long and I’ve built a thick coat of armor to help shield me since then.

But where are you on this path?

Are you unsure about your purpose in life?

Or maybe you just need a boost of confidence to help remind you what you knew all along?

Here are a few things I garnered from the talk that could help you get clear, focused and confident.

What is a Calling?

Levoy said, “A calling is urgings, signs, signals, inspiration that come to our lives. A calling is something you hear, feel, sense, know intuitively.” It’s something we  already know about ourselves, but forgot. Or maybe it is something that is painful to reveal in that it would force us to reach down deep into our unconscious and pull up what’s uncomfortable and scary. Maybe acknowledging our calling would demand that we need to pay attention and reach outside of our comfort zone. It’s a lot easier to sit in the couch and bury our dreams.

In his talk, Levoy said a woman came up to him and asked him, “Why do you think I’m fat?” There was silence on his end because who would answer such a question? She said, “Because I have so many stories that I’m not writing down.”

It’s funny how at first it seems like not pursuing a dream would be less risky and easy, but the impact of letting our dreams die does something to our soul. Sometimes we feed it with food, but we could be feeling with work and other type of addictions too.

Levoy said that “we know what we’re supposed to become,” and that when people say that they “feel it in their bones,” he believes that to mean literally-that at our very core, we already know the answers.

How to Tune into Your Calling

Usually signs of your purpose come in small calls. For me, it was meeting a newspaper writer and feeling a stir inside. When she talked about how much she enjoyed interviewing people and how much she learned from them, I remembered how much I missed writing.

To get back in touch with your purpose, try doing this:

  • meditate
  • keep a daily journal of any synchronicities you have been noticing
  • write down your dreams and try interpreting them
  • go on a retreat
  • create your own “Personal Board of Advisors” to help and support you
  • be conscious of any patterns in your life (e.g. your continual desire to write, paint, or start your own business)
  • think about which section of the bookstore you are drawn to and always go to first and stay the longest

These are some of the things that Levoy said worked for people who found their calling.

In part II, I will talk about ways to figure out your calling and tips for starting on the path toward your dreams.

Til’ then, keep persevering.



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