Your (My) True Calling

I had so much success with last year’s projects prompted by Quest 2016, that I’ve decided to do it again. Join us at http://quest2017.com.

Today’s prompt is from Krista Tippett (1). As the host of On Being, she challenges us regularly to consider the mysteries of human existence.

“What is your vocation, your sense of callings as a human being at this point in your life, both in and beyond job and title?”

In 2009, when I started this blog, it was titled, “On The Quest: A Woman in Love with The World” (or something to that effect). But the world is a difficult thing to love. It is messy, and complicated, and prone to violence. People are even harder, especially in groups.

For a long time, I doubted. I wrote sideways, and obliquely, and worried that people would think I was daft, or naive, or merely uninformed. But I still have this deep pull in my heart toward what Charles Eisenstein calls, “The More Beautiful World our Hearts Know Is Possible.”

I was, to be honest, in love with The Universe, in the abstract, more than the world in all its complexity. With cosmology, with physics, with philosophy. I love ideas. I love an elegant turn of phrase, and the challenge of grappling with a new worldview.

you-are-here

Yet I also came to know that people don’t experience the world in the abstract. We experience it subjectively, through bodies and minds that are entangled with the messiness, but trying to make sense of it at the same time. It is beauty and pattern, chaos and connection, tragedy and ecstasy, all at once. Sometimes, everything lines up, and sometimes it all comes crashing down around you.

And meanwhile, you still have to eat.

For the last couple of years, my subtitle has been, “Experiments in Living with Uncertainty.” I’ve adopted many many worldviews over the years, because to truly understand something (even if I ultimately reject it), I felt that I needed to see what the world looked like from inside this perspective.

I’ve been on an exploration of spiritual practices, while, in parallel, trying to figure out the question of Right Livelihood. This is an astonishingly difficult problem, this livelihood (especially in the light of spiritual practices). How do we make something of ourselves, maintain our ability to eat and stay warm, participate in our communities, flourish rather than merely survive, and do so in ways that don’t adversely impact the ability of others to access their own deep paths?

In the midst of this prompt, fearing that this blog post would take the rest of my week, I recorded this video:


I may not know you (yet), but I want your life to be amazing.

I want you to feel fulfilled, and connected, and loved. I want you to look in the mirror and see the beauty of creation. I want the trees in your yard to bear abundant fruit, the air in your community to be clean, and the water in your rivers to sparkle. I hope for your relationships to be replenishing, and your quest for meaning to be just challenging enough.

I want you to be whole.

I want to be whole. I want to live in a world full of people who are whole. I want to live in a Whole World. I want to do everything in my power to bring that about.

 


1. who happens to have the same last name as my paternal grandmother, and the great-grandmother after whom I was partially named, and therefore I wonder whether we are related

Poem: Hidden Knowledge

Hidden Knowledge

In a clearing in the woods
On a cliff overlooking the ocean
In a cave in the mountains
Someone waits.

She has the answer you seek,
In the hut,
In the cottage,
In the cave

You would not notice her
If you passed her in the street.
She has mastered the art of
Blending In,
Along with a dozen other Wisdoms,
Both ancient and modern.

But if you seek her earnestly,
Let down your guard enough
to see through her drab glamour,
you will find her.

There, in her cottage, she will say,
Shuffling toward you
With the already-brewed pot,
“Yes, yes. I’ve been expecting you.
I have just the thing, over here.
Somewhere.
Give me a minute.”

She will tell you a Story as she
riffles through the books,
rambling, murmuring.
“No. Not quite the one.
Oh… I remember this… (staring off into the distance)
Ah, yes. Here it is.” (Tap, tap, tap…)

Listen to the story. You will need it
Later.

Dancing into the Future

I don’t know what comes next.

I mean, I really have no idea what I’m going to do. There will be things that I’ve started (raising kids, building the greenhouse, making the beer) that need finishing. (And by “finishing,” I mean, “continued commitment over a period of days-to-months-to-years-to-TheRestOfMyLife without which all previous effort is wasted”)  But when people ask me, “What do you do?”

I just don’t know.

I don’t believe that I can slap on a bunch of identities and pretend that somehow I’ve answered the question, although that is the convenient (and accepted) way of doing things. “Tell me which boxes you fit in, and then I’ll know what to talk to you about.” I tried that. It sucked.

Yet I’ve spent the last several months trying to answer this question, because I am assured that without a valid answer, I will never Make Anything Of Myself. That is to say, I may continue to be somebody’s wife and mother, but nobody will ever pay me for any of the things I already know how to do if I can’t package them up into a nice neat package. With a job title. Or a snappy statement of problem and solution. (I help people who something something… by doing something something… and then their lives are spectacular and they become millionaires! Of course, if I knew how to do that, I would have done it by now. Because sure, money won’t buy happiness… but it would buy me a trip to the Caribbean, and that might be fun. Or solar panels, and that would be cool!) And (They say) if I can’t answer this question, nobody will ever pay me to do anything more interesting than move objects around and occasionally hand them to other people ever again. No pressure.

What I do: I Think. A Lot. I slide from one worldview to another the way that most people change their clothes. I insist that this is a good thing. I refuse, steadfastly, to take a stand without adequate evidence. Sometimes I believe in god, sometimes I believe in gods, and occasionally I even believe in G*d. (But not very often.) And sometimes I don’t. I have moments of complete nihilism, although they are becoming fewer and farther between, being replaced with the ground of a firm agnosticism and meditation practice.  Sometimes I am absolutely convinced that I’ve got it figured out, and that I’ve got something that is worth teaching… which is, I think, how to be comfortable in your life even when you aren’t sure of anything. See how that’s a hard thing to pin down? Slippery, that. Dancing your way through The World As it Is. Even when you don’t know how that world is.

This is the essence of Practice – to hear the music and let it move you. To find your core strength so that you can dance with abandon. To bring yourself into balance again, and again, and again, whether your house is tidy or not, whether your clothes reflect your inner self or not, whether you perceive your body to be what everybody else (the mythic They) wants it to be… or not. Whether you have managed to meet even one of the targets on this month’s women’s magazines, or business magazines, or any of the other ways our society finds to remind you, “Oh, yeah. You suck!” To find joy in embodied consciousness, even when you are waking up with existential angst at 3 in the morning. Perfection in imperfection. Spectacular mediocrity. How to have the best-damn-average life out there and revel in it!

There have been times in my life when I Knew. I always turned out to be wrong. Now, I don’t know… but I have a vague feeling that I might be right for a change.