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What calls You?

By Claudette Rowley

"It is not, in my estimation, an undue stretch to say that if we are living lives that are wrong for our spirits, and if we say no to the calls that could put that spirit to rights, then we, too...are lost souls." --Gregg Levoy from 'Callings: Finding and Following an Authentic Life'
We all know people who have known from birth almost that they had a calling - to be a dancer or parent or salesperson. A calling that had a life of its own, a force that was so strong they couldn't resist it. Here's the truth: We all have a calling, several in fact. A calling is a vocation in any area of life: work, relationship, or lifestyle. Our callings or vocations are the forces that pull us toward being more authentic - toward lives centered around what we want, and even more important, what we love.

We can be called to DO something, like train as a surgeon, publish a book of short stories or start a non-profit venture. We are equally as likely to be called to BE something as well - more creative, more compassionate or more truthful. Any calling we hear is our natural birthright. No calling is better than another nor is one person more worthy than another to follow their calling.

Here are three very general steps to identifying and following a calling:

  • Listen. The universe is constantly asking us to follow our callings. When we don't know what they are, it gives us signs and signals. For example, one client overheard a conversation in a coffee shop that was exactly what she needed to hear at the time, as if the words were spoken directly to her.
  • Respond. Once we've identified a calling, we need to respond "yes or no" to it. Sometimes we answer consciously, and sometimes unconsciously by turning a deaf ear to the calling. When we hear the calling, but don't respond, the universe pushes and prods us.
  • Take action. All calls must be translated into action at some point or another. There's an art to the timing of action. When it's time to take action, the universe will up the ante until we do.

I'll share an example from my own life. About four years ago, I knew that one of my callings was to be a coach. I knew it like I know my own name. I started exploring the field, registered for a training program and told friends and family. I was taking action, right? Well, the universe wasn't satisfied. I was still working at my social work job, a job that I had described more than once as "killing my spirit." I continued to work there for the salary. (Let me be clear: sometimes continuing to work for your salary is a necessary leg in your journey). The universe upped the ante, and gave me a wake up call. I was presented with a scenario at work that compromised my personal integrity so much that I couldn't write my letter of resignation fast enough. A colleague later commented, "The universe really gave you a swift kick in the pants, didn't it?" She was right.

Here's a sampling of possible signs that you are being prompted to follow a calling:

  • Synchronicity. For example, three people recommend the same book to you in the space of the week. The message is clear - go get the book.
  • Wake up call. An unexpected turn of events occurs, for instance, you become ill, you lose your job or a relationship ends abruptly.
  • Intuition. You know in your gut that there's a new direction in which you need to head.
  • Body signals. Your body is wise, and will communicate with you when you're not getting the message. For example, if you have a persistent pain in your neck, what's a "pain in the neck" in your life? See if the two are related.

Take a look at the spectrum of your life right now. What's calling to you? Which calls are you answering right now? Is it time to translate a calling into action? In the end, we are called to be ourselves more fully - to give expression to what resounds in our souls.

Copyright 2003 Claudette Rowley
Claudette Rowley, coach and author, helps professionals identify and pursue their true purpose and calling in life. Learn more at at
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