Tag Archives: Vocation

Pressed: 52 Weeks Begin Now: Week Forty-Two: Waiting for Grace

31 Aug

52 Weeks Begin Now: Week Forty-Two: Waiting for Grace.

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The Waiting Room:  I remember this quote from the movie Shadowlands where Anthony Hopkins speaks to his colleague about his difficulty with waiting for a new season.  It captures, very aptly, the impatient space where I find myself right now:  “I’ve always found this a trying time of the year.  The leaves not yet out, mud everywhere you go.  Frosty mornings gone.  Sunny mornings not yet come.  Give me blizzards and frozen pipes, but not this nothing time, not this waiting room of the world.”  Lately, I have found myself waiting—waiting for people to do what they say they are going to do; waiting for people to communicate with me; waiting for my work to get started after a strike; waiting for some financial matters to resolve; waiting for the outcomes of an insurance matter to be concluded; waiting to meet people in my new location who can inspire me further on my life path (lover, and mentor roles as outlined by Downs, 2002, although I am meeting some very special and interesting new friends); waiting for my lifestyle to kick in physically so that I look and feel better; waiting to have fun; waiting for my next trip; waiting for some sign of what it is that I am supposed to do next with my life–my calling…I am waiting.  At this exact moment, I am waiting for the appliance repairman to come and fix my dishwasher.  It is the last straw on the camel’s back.  For God’s sake, will everyone (and the divine), just hurry up!

Let’s Go! I have never had trouble living “in the meantime” before (Vanzant, 1999) to the degree that I am struggling with now.  Now, I do not want to wait.  In fact, I am ready to move forward in so many facets of my life.  I have done the work.  I am in a state of openness.  I feel primed to leap outward, but thoughtfully because anything that I choose to do now will have a great impact on the latter part of my life.  With this being said, I feel prepared to say, “Sure, let’s go!”  I am sending these signals out the universe daily, hourly, and in every moment when I can no longer bear doing something that does not inspire me.  Something important is bellowing from the sidelines, but I cannot quite make out what it is saying.  Instead, I feel that I am in a holding pattern.  

Although I feel physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually ready to go on a journey and to share this leg of it with someone significant, or with like-minded people who are on a similar path, where are they?  Everyone is pretty involved in their lives, and they are not all looking outwards to share in new experiences at this time.   However, those variables of meeting “the right people” are outside of my control.  As well, I want to do something meaningful and to have some impact on the world for the short time that I am here; however,  I believe that that this flow of vocation needs to come from the synchronous source that leads us all to our purpose in life.  

The Universe in Slow Motion:  The universe is testing me of my patience because not all of the things that I want in my life are within my control, despite my efforts to take the reins, and seize the day.  At times, life feels as though it is unfolding unnervingly–painfully slowly as the universe gets around to what is supposed to manifest.  However, time is of the essence.  It feels as though it is running short.  I am feeling my age; my mortality; and my dreams keenly.  I know that I am on the cusp of experiencing something new.  It is at the tip of my tongue.  It is this ethereal tapping on the inside of my head.  Something is tempting me from another realm, and I know that I am supposed to be doing it.  But what?   

Letting Go:  I have done my part to front load my life work so that I am in shape and prepared to take the next part of my journey.  I have done everything that I can to be open to the signals.  I have learned what makes me flow, and at the moment, I am ebbing.  I know what authentically grabs me, and I have also learned what wastes my time.  I am long past “willing [myself] to do something when [my] mind says no…[which takes setting the] ego aside…” (Dyer, 2004, p. 41).  As a result, I have opened my arms up wide to the universe and said, “I have done my best.  Now it is up to you!”   

“Then, when you know in your gut that you have done all that is required, that is, all you know to do at this moment, turn loose.  Breathe a sign of relief, and turn the results of your actions over to the powers that be—whether you call it God, the Universe, a Higher Power, angels, the fates, karma.  Consider the matter done and out of your hands;  trust that whatever happens will turn out to be for the greater good…This creates the space for magic and synchronicity.  It allows the Universe to do its part”   (Belitze and Lundstrom, 1998, p. 181)

However, in doing this, and believing that I have let “it” go, I am still impatient.  “Come on Universe!”  I cheer from the sidelines of my life.  I am well-educated, well-travelled, well-read, and experienced enough to know that I know nothing.  I have a lot more to learn.  I know that there is a big world out there that I have not sunk my teeth into it in ways that I know would be absolutely delicious.  “Come on Universe and make it happen!”  Instead, for multiple reasons, and some more notable than others, I am waiting on a few things:  the right job (calling), the right partner (champion), the right logistics to support the dreams; the right timing; the inner knowing that, “Yes, this is it!”

And so I wait.   I am trying to “[r]emain confident that through continued reliance on [my] imagination, [my] assumptions are materializing into reality (Dyer, 2004, p. 41).  I have taken risks to set some of my dreams into motion. I moved to the island to seek inspiration and refuge in its stunning beauty.  It has replenished me and afforded me inspiration and insight.  I realize the enormity of operationalizing my recent move out to British Columbia from Alberta (leaving my friends and family, and a successful career) at this stage in life.  However, it felt right, and I have no regrets.  I know that I am on the right track, and that this is one big step towards the next leg of my “raison d’être”.   However, now I need to wait for a bit of divine intervention to afford me insight and patience so that I do not feel this “nothing time, not this waiting room of a world”.  

The Perfect Citation:  The answer came to me today as I wrote this article.  I pulled my faithful friends, which are my books, down from bookshelves, and put my mind to this matter of waiting, and out popped the answer that I needed to hear.  The right books leapt into my hands, in particular, Eckhart Tolle’s A New Earth (2005).  The perfect citation jumped out at me as if the Universe wanted to answer me:

So while you are perhaps still waiting for something significant to happen in your life [Shelley], you may not realize that the most significant thing that can happen to a human being has already happened within you:  the beginning of the separation process of thinking and awareness.

Many people who are going through the early stages of the awakening process are no longer certain what their outer purpose is.  What drives the world no longer drives them.  Seeing the madness of our civilization so dearly, they may feel somewhat alienated from the culture around them.  Some feel that they inhabit a no-man’s-land between two worlds.  They are no longer run by the ego, yet the arising awareness has not yet become fully integrated into their lives.  Inner and outer purpose have not merged. (pp. 261-262).

It is eery to come across a citation that gives me goose bumps because of its poignancy and uncanny personal relevance.  It also never ceases to amaze me how quotations find me when I write for personal meaning.  

Making Peace:  It is also difficult to write anything beyond this profound excerpt that so eloquently addresses all of the difficulties that I have raised above. I will, however, say one thing.  As Tolle describes, I do feel keenly discombobulated lately as I grapple with an open sense of liberation in myself that other people do not seem to understand.  And so, I feel a little alone in this journey.  It heightens my need to be around other people who “get it”.  I now feel keenly that it is through relationship that I will be better able to understand my next steps.  Therefore, it reminds me…again…that I am waiting to meet these types of people who are conscious and awake, and who are open to connecting with me and talking about something spiritually important.  

Therefore, the other things I list above, like waiting for the dishwasher repairman, are manageable (by the way, he did come, and we ate dinner together, which in itself is a bit unusual).  It is this waiting for this enlightened connectedness that is truly difficult to do.  I now understand that because I am waiting for this sense of spiritual connection (impatiently so) that it has drawn my attention to everything else in my life that is taking time and taxing my patience.  So, now I need to breathe and make “peace with the present moment…[because b]eing one with life is being one with Now” (Tolle, 2005, p. 115).  In other words, by being present, I am creating “space for magic and synchronicity” (Belitz and Lundstrom).

I’m not afraid of death, but I’m in no hurry to die. I have so much I want to do first.

Stephen Hawking

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Pressed: 52 Weeks Begin Now: Week 27: Peering in the Cracks and Finding Words

15 Apr

52 Weeks Begin Now: Week 27: Peering in the Cracks and Finding Words.

IMG_3267

Books Speak to Me: As always, when I have questions, all it takes is for me to open a book that I have found inadvertently, and an excerpt will jump out at me as a life lesson. Such was the case today when I opened the book The Wise Heart (Kornfield, 2008) and a story lept out at me:

In a large temple north of Thailand’s ancient capital, Sukotai, there once stood an enormous and ancient clay Buddha. Though not the most handsome or refined work of Thai Buddhist art, it had been cared for over a period of five hundred years and become revered for its sheer longevity. Violent storms, changes of government, invading armies had come and gone, but the Buddha endured.

At one point, however, the monks who tended the temple noticed that the statue had begun to crack and would soon be in need of repair and repainting. After a stretch of particularly hot, dry weather, one of the cracks became so wide that a curious monk took his flashlight and peered inside. What shone back at him was a flash of brilliant gold! Inside this plain old statue, the temple residents discovered one of the largest and most luminous gold images of Buddha ever created in Southeast Asia…

The monks believe that this shining work of art had been covered in plaster and clay to protect it during times of conflict and unrest. In much the same way, each of us has encountered threatening situation that lead us to cover our innate nobility. Just as the people of Sukotai had forgotten about the golden Buddha, we too have forgotten our essential nature. Much of the time we operate from the portective layer. The primary aim of Buddhist psychology is to help us see beneath this armouring and bring our our original goodness, called our Buddha nature. (pp. 11-12)

Operating from the Protective Layer: The unfortunate thing for so many people is that we have been operating from the protective layer for so long, that we forget who we are at a deeper level. Unfortunately, it takes some fundamental shift in our lives to crack the facade, and to allow light into our inner beauty. Otherwise, it can remain tucked away and out of reach.

Sometimes, the difficulty is not in finding our secret goodness, it is knowing what to do with it once it is found.

It takes risk to emancipate ourselves from the clay, and often ourselves or others will not know how to advise us once we know that we need to become reconnected to our inner purpose. People will suggest that we do “THAT” (our passion) in our spare time because we obviously have to make a living. There will be some confusion by those of us who have not taken the time to stop what we are doing to consider our own cultural domestication, and reconsider our value in the short time that we walk the earth.

Therefore, it is incumbent on us to take care to guide ourselves on this journey and to seek out mentorship of others who have made some significant self-discoveries, and through some personal risk and tenacity, acted on them. They are the ones who have the light to guide us whereas, often (not always), our counterparts, will operate from a place of security, darkness, naivete, fear, or ignorance and may steer us back to that with which they are familiar in their own journeys, and of what they have grown comfortable in their relationships with us. They may not know how to support us, nor be unconditional enough to offer what we may need from them.

Original Goodness: I often ask people this essential question: “If you had nothing to fear or risk, what would you most want?” My answer, when I ask myself this very simple question that sweeps the dirt of resistance off my table cloth before I decide to open my mouth to take a big juicy bite out of life: I want to write. That is it. Plain and simple. I can never truly get past how I might logistically do so as much as I would like to do so, but I am now confident that this is my true calling. It is the place that draws me back over and over again. It is the activity where I am always lost in flow. I am nourished by the experience. And, although I often get recognition and communication for my writing because I sometimes like to share it, the simple act of drawing words out of myself into some meaningful form is reward enough.

Someone might suggest that the act of writing does not a personality make. I would disagree that the art of bringing forth words; sharing and connecting the voices of other writers (as I often like to ground my writing in the rich diversity of other authors); and liberating new and old ideas into new new forms, comes from my soul. Therefore, it is the work of my soul and not my personality. Words leap out of me at various times of the day and night, and I am only satisfied when I have done what they ask me to do. My dissertation, (later published as a book, now in multiple countries, much to my surprise–and a little bit overwhelming as the publication itself unfolded in an interesting and unexpected way), captures my sentiments on the act of creative writing, and I am reminded to go back and re-read it: An Autobiography of the Creative Writing Experience (2009). I am reminded that through this academic research, that creative writing is my essential love: http://www.amazon.ca/An-Autobiography-Creative-Writing-Experience/dp/3639150945 It seems lately, that I need to remind myself to stay the course on my true path.

I wondered about the world as a child through words, and now, I need to bring this full circle and spend the latter part of my life in the centre of that type of work (on my own and with other writers). When I write, I draw on my deepest and rawest core, and shed the protective layer. Through writing, I let myself out and other people in. It is my lens to look inwards and outwards. It is my way way to make sense of my life that remains ahead of me, and the world around me in a meaningful and fulfilling way.

Inner Buddha: When I was in Thailand, I found a temple along the River Kwai called the Wat Tham Khaopoon that was built into the cliffs. We could only access it by climbing hundreds of steps to reach it, and then a few dozen more to get inside of it. There is a middle cave containing stalactites and stalagmites and many remarkable Buddha images. In the quiet calm of the inner cave, I appreciated the worship of its inner Buddha that people took the time to seek out and worship. Just as we seek out the Buddhas, Allah’s, Jesus’, Mohammad’s, etc. around the world, so must we seek out our inner Buddhas where we have opportunities to find them.

52 Weeks Begin Now: Week 27: Peering in the Cracks and Finding Words

15 Apr

IMG_3267

Books Speak to Me: As always, when I have questions, all it takes is for me to open a book that I have found inadvertently, and an excerpt will jump out at me as a life lesson. Such was the case today when I opened the book The Wise Heart (Kornfield, 2008) and a story lept out at me:

In a large temple north of Thailand’s ancient capital, Sukotai, there once stood an enormous and ancient clay Buddha. Though not the most handsome or refined work of Thai Buddhist art, it had been cared for over a period of five hundred years and become revered for its sheer longevity. Violent storms, changes of government, invading armies had come and gone, but the Buddha endured.

At one point, however, the monks who tended the temple noticed that the statue had begun to crack and would soon be in need of repair and repainting. After a stretch of particularly hot, dry weather, one of the cracks became so wide that a curious monk took his flashlight and peered inside. What shone back at him was a flash of brilliant gold! Inside this plain old statue, the temple residents discovered one of the largest and most luminous gold images of Buddha ever created in Southeast Asia…

The monks believe that this shining work of art had been covered in plaster and clay to protect it during times of conflict and unrest. In much the same way, each of us has encountered threatening situation that lead us to cover our innate nobility. Just as the people of Sukotai had forgotten about the golden Buddha, we too have forgotten our essential nature. Much of the time we operate from the portective layer. The primary aim of Buddhist psychology is to help us see beneath this armouring and bring our our original goodness, called our Buddha nature. (pp. 11-12)

Operating from the Protective Layer: The unfortunate thing for so many people is that we have been operating from the protective layer for so long, that we forget who we are at a deeper level. Unfortunately, it takes some fundamental shift in our lives to crack the facade, and to allow light into our inner beauty. Otherwise, it can remain tucked away and out of reach.

Sometimes, the difficulty is not in finding our secret goodness, it is knowing what to do with it once it is found.

It takes risk to emancipate ourselves from the clay, and often ourselves or others will not know how to advise us once we know that we need to become reconnected to our inner purpose. People will suggest that we do “THAT” (our passion) in our spare time because we obviously have to make a living. There will be some confusion by those of us who have not taken the time to stop what we are doing to consider our own cultural domestication, and reconsider our value in the short time that we walk the earth.

Therefore, it is incumbent on us to take care to guide ourselves on this journey and to seek out mentorship of others who have made some significant self-discoveries, and through some personal risk and tenacity, acted on them. They are the ones who have the light to guide us whereas, often (not always), our counterparts, will operate from a place of security, darkness, naivete, fear, or ignorance and may steer us back to that with which they are familiar in their own journeys, and of what they have grown comfortable in their relationships with us. They may not know how to support us, nor be unconditional enough to offer what we may need from them.

Original Goodness: I often ask people this essential question: “If you had nothing to fear or risk, what would you most want?” My answer, when I ask myself this very simple question that sweeps the dirt of resistance off my table cloth before I decide to open my mouth to take a big juicy bite out of life: I want to write. That is it. Plain and simple. I can never truly get past how I might logistically do so as much as I would like to do so, but I am now confident that this is my true calling. It is the place that draws me back over and over again. It is the activity where I am always lost in flow. I am nourished by the experience. And, although I often get recognition and communication for my writing because I sometimes like to share it, the simple act of drawing words out of myself into some meaningful form is reward enough.

Someone might suggest that the act of writing does not a personality make. I would disagree that the art of bringing forth words; sharing and connecting the voices of other writers (as I often like to ground my writing in the rich diversity of other authors); and liberating new and old ideas into new new forms, comes from my soul. Therefore, it is the work of my soul and not my personality. Words leap out of me at various times of the day and night, and I am only satisfied when I have done what they ask me to do. My dissertation, (later published as a book, now in multiple countries, much to my surprise–and a little bit overwhelming as the publication itself unfolded in an interesting and unexpected way), captures my sentiments on the act of creative writing, and I am reminded to go back and re-read it: An Autobiography of the Creative Writing Experience (2009). I am reminded that through this academic research, that creative writing is my essential love: http://www.amazon.ca/An-Autobiography-Creative-Writing-Experience/dp/3639150945 It seems lately, that I need to remind myself to stay the course on my true path.

I wondered about the world as a child through words, and now, I need to bring this full circle and spend the latter part of my life in the centre of that type of work (on my own and with other writers). When I write, I draw on my deepest and rawest core, and shed the protective layer. Through writing, I let myself out and other people in. It is my lens to look inwards and outwards. It is my way way to make sense of my life that remains ahead of me, and the world around me in a meaningful and fulfilling way.

Inner Buddha: When I was in Thailand, I found a temple along the River Kwai called the Wat Tham Khaopoon that was built into the cliffs. We could only access it by climbing hundreds of steps to reach it, and then a few dozen more to get inside of it. There is a middle cave containing stalactites and stalagmites and many remarkable Buddha images. In the quiet calm of the inner cave, I appreciated the worship of its inner Buddha that people took the time to seek out and worship. Just as we seek out the Buddhas, Allah’s, Jesus’, Mohammad’s, etc. around the world, so must we seek out our inner Buddhas where we have opportunities to find them.