“To action only are we entitled, never to its fruits.” – Bhagavad Gita
Who are you? What do you want? And what is the thing that, if you don’t do it, won’t get done?
We fixate on that last question as if the answer is always something vast. We want to be important, to have an impact, to be assured that there is some purpose to our lives. We make music, or art, or books, or blog posts for our own pleasure, or purposes, but somewhere deep inside, we (probably) hope that they (or something) will be noticed. We want recognition on our paths, evidence that we have heard clearly… that way has opened, the the universe has conspired to help us achieve things. We seek soul mates, meaningful work, a place in society or the world, external confirmation, a clear answer that will convince us, finally, that What We Do Matters.
But we want Callings to come screaming out of the wilderness, with neon lights flashing, “Do This!” The sign from God, the burning bush, the voice from the heavens, a sign, a sign… please send a sign…
And what do we do with the signs, when they come (and in my experience, they do come)?
We turn away, doubt ourselves. Think that they are for somebody else, that we are not ready, that we were wrong, that we are mistaken, deluded, crazy. Or we fear that maybe such an answer exists, but only for other people. We see our heroes after their actions have borne fruit, and miss the fact that they had to get to where they are from somewhere, perplexed, wandering, searching.
And then, just when we are at risk of believing, of taking the risk… our small selves tell us that there is no answer, that this desire for Calling is a show of pretension. They speak up at the moment of desire, begging us to just take the boring job and learn to live within our means, playing out the game as assigned.
That’s what grown-ups do, don’t you know?
Is this your conception of calling, one in which it is some giant demand that asks you to move the universe from only your small footing?
Do you inhabit a world composed of geniuses where everybody else is expected to accept a supporting role? Must you be The One or nobody?
Then I invite you to contemplate with me the smaller questions of moment by moment living:
Who is going to eat your dinner?
Who will take the deep breaths to soothe your fears?
Who will do your exercise or sit on your meditation cushion following your breath?
Who will love for you? Hold your child when she weeps? Walk you through the processes of coming together and parting and coming together again, feel the pain and the joy and the ecstasy? Who will tell your stories?
And who will breathe your last?
This life, at the least, is yours alone. There is a world of experience out there waiting for you to show up. What, therefore, shall you do with it?
Can you meet each moment as a separate opportunity to show up fully, to do what can only be done by you?