By Beth G. Raps, PhD
And did you get what“Late Fragment” by Raymond Carver
you wanted from this life, even so?
And what did you want?
To call myself beloved, to feel myself
beloved on the earth.
In A New Path to the Waterfall, Atlantic Monthly Press, 1989
You have a calling. You came into this lifetime with it. It’s the angel over your head, speaking until you look up and listen. There’s no one else who speaks to you in this voice. But that doesn’t always make it easy to hear. For one thing, there are numerous other voices in our heads. But even once we tune into the particular voice of our calling, what it says to us can be hard to take—a positive stress, like getting married. We are glad for it at the same time as it upends our lives. The thing about a calling is, unlike a marriage, you can’t make it go away. No drowning out or distraction silences it.
My soul-colleague H was divided. She had a great job as a traveling registered nurse. Now for some, nursing is their calling. For H, it was a job. It was seductive: good pay, great benefits, including living wherever she wanted to and working the hours she wanted to.
Schooled in medical modalities, she struggled to trust, much less to claim, her calling as an energy healer. Over a series of years, she looked to courses, books, and a variety of other approaches to teach her how to live her calling. As each failed, her discouragement became a wall of cynicism. How could she tune into a calling that seemingly led nowhere? She doubted if her calling was even real.
But she persisted the way we do, nourished by this small sign and that momentary synchronicity, until a healer friend connected her to my work with calling, which is both prosaic and practical as well as contemplative enough to work for her. I call it “Claim Your Calling.”
Claim Your Calling is based on five observations about calling:
- Each of us has a calling.
- We are designed to follow it.
- It will tell us how to follow it if we listen to it.
- It is designed for us to follow it.
- It develops us as we develop it. We are co-designed this way.
I call the source of this design: the “divine curriculum.” The divine curriculum applies to much more than our calling. It is everything that allows us to feel our belovedness with intimacy and immediacy right here on this Earth.
As Jamal Rahman reminded us in the May issue of Connections: when we walk toward God, God comes running. In my experience, many of us dash in the other direction the minute this happens! It’s not that it’s too hard to follow our calling. It’s quite the opposite, especially as spiritual people and sensitives. We may be working very hard to keep drowning out our calling. One way we do this is by cordoning off our calling into the contemplative side of our lives, and making three “rational” (but incorrect) assumptions that block our intelligent co-design with our calling:
• Following our calling will be harder than anything we’ve ever done.
• It will require something of us we don’t currently have.
• It’s meant to be monetized. (Thus, if we aren’t immediately able to monetize it, we must be either failures or loonies, and must need to forget about following it.)
The alternative to drowning out our calling is, of course, turning toward – and tuning into – our calling. This allows us to observe for ourselves that none of the above assumptions is correct.
H did end up following her calling. I showed her how to tune into it in a way she could trust (i.e., as a scientifically minded person, in a way she could repeat reliably, with results that satisfied her criteria for success). She described this to me as “a homing device to get straight to the truth, to what wants to be acknowledged and what wants to be expanded upon.”
The key is working in collaboration with your calling. Stop ignoring it and you are halfway there. Release the three assumptions about it and you will make it infinitely (pun intended) much easier to hear.
H’s calling now shows her how to follow it, although sometimes she falls off the wagon. When she asked a few months ago for my take on her list of ideas to monetize her calling, I began my review, but realized the most important questions were:
What does your calling say about each of them? Did you start by asking it to help guide you in structuring sane, doable, profitable, sustainable offerings?
Thank you for asking about this….why do I second-guess my calling’s answers still?…It’s always simpler than I expect.
If we stop trying to earn a calling, or force our calling to earn us a living, and settle down and listen to it, we will be amazed. H confessed to me recently she really got what her calling was when she typed it out to me for the first time. She was shocked almost to tears. She had to turn her head away from the keyboard, she says, so as not to watch herself click “Send.”
A calling is not The Secret. It’s much grander and scarier: a calling is how the divine speaks to us in our daily lives. A calling is a way to feel ourselves “beloved on the earth.”
Beth G. Raps – Beth coaches people serious about changing lives–their own included–who need to restructure their time, money, or mindset. Her SDI profile is here: https://www.sdicompanions.org/sdi-profile/beth-raps/ and she welcomes questions and contact. Her SDI “Public Square” groups are Mysticism, Intersectionality, Making a Living, Interspirituality, Public Square, and Anti-Racism.