This first entry is a full blown shout-out to a voice I encountered in 1999 in an English bookstore in Zurich, Switzerland. The title of the book is Callings and its author is Gregg Levoy. Nearly a decade and a half hence, I can safely say that no other book has so pervasively influenced my thinking and doing as this one. Not surprisingly, the art of listening to and following calls stands at the core of this remarkable resource.
Since I first read the book I have listened to and followed several calls: to leave my competitive running career behind, to remarry, to have a second child, to take some surprising professional risks, to pursue training as a coach, to go back to grad school, to make productive communication my personal life priority. Recognizing the ongoing dialogue between my calls and the responses I muster has been among the most edifying discoveries of my adult development.
Levoy describes the myriad ways in which our calls make themselves known to us: hints from our closest friends and colleagues, recurring dreams, unanticipated synergies, ongoing issues waiting for resolution, real conflict, or messages that come in the silence of meditation. How we acknowledge, process and ultimately respond to these signposts makes up the stuff of life’s adventure. He writes:
“Calls are essentially questions. They aren’t questions you necessarily need to answer outright; they are questions to which you need to respond, expose yourself, and kneel before. You don’t want an answer you can put in a box and set on a shelf. You want a question that will become a chariot to carry you across the breadth of life, a question that will offer you a lifetime of pondering, that will lead you toward what you need to know for your integrity, draw you to what you need for your journey and help you understand what it means to burst at the seams. These questions will also lead you to others whose lives are propelled by the same questions and from them you will receive ‘oh, never an answer,’ as writer PL Travers says, ‘but a spark of instructive fire.’”(p. 6)
Is this blog my calling?
Not directly. It is, however, a response to a deeper calling to express myself through writing – and that means writing that others can see, interpret and respond to, not the closet kind of writing I’ve done plenty of over the years. In the act, I acknowledge the need to reach outside myself to share my musings and ideas.
That said, I ask you: What do you need to know for your integrity? Which calling is yours today and how will you respond?
Peace in inquiry,
Gregg Levoy, Callings: Finding and Following an Authentic Life. New York: Three Rivers Press 1997.