Survival Principle #4: Find Out What Calls You – From Inside

Posted on | April 30, 2009 | 2 Comments

Survival Principle # 4: Find Out What Calls You-from Inside

When you are in The Abyss of high-impact change and the chaos and not knowing that comes with it-when it is impossible to develop a plan-it is imperative that you at least have a direction. What is it that ‘calls you’?  Something inside you that will not change, even if everything outside you changes: if you lose your job, get promoted, are asked to move to another city, need to learn a new set of skills, whatever. What is it that remains constant for you-and IN you?

The Call from Outside
The more obvious response to this question has to do with what calls you from outside, from the world. In fact, the concept of being ‘called’ is at the root of our word ‘vocation’ (from the Latin, vocare-to call or speak), and is usually associated with people in religious roles. In the past, those who heard and responded to the call were known as ‘ecclesiastical’ (from the Greek, ekleseia-the called out ones). Like today’s volunteer fire fighters, when the divine siren went off, they were the ones who heard it and responded. Looked at in this vein, the question would be: What calls to you from the world? What is a need that exists ‘out there’ that grabs you and won’t let you go?  

Frederick Beutner’s words make a perfect transition here: The place Life calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet. We’ll get to that external ‘call’ in the next blog, but first, let’s first explore ‘your deep gladness’, or what calls you from inside.

The Call from Inside

  • What inside you calls out to be expressed into the world?
  • What in you simply must be manifest in whatever work you do?
  • What is your soul here to learn and to contribute?

Before you decide what job you should take on out there in the world, you must take on the inner work of reconnecting with your own soul and its essence. The word ‘job,’ by the way, comes from the Old English word gobbe, referring to how laborers got paid back then-by the lump of whatever they were hauling or shoveling. ‘Work’ on the other hand, comes from the Greek word erg, which, if you remember your high school physics, is a measure of how much force it takes to move one gram one centimeter. Work is energy with a vector. You could say work is purposeful energy being exerted in a specific direction.

If you only search for a job ‘out there’ and fail to base it on the work that is most true about you ‘in here,’ no matter how important the external task you take on, eventually you-and that task-will founder. What you DO on the outside must be connected deeply and directly with who you ARE on the inside.

The rest of nature understands this. An acorn would never try to become a pine tree; it has to become an oak tree. It must grow into what it is designed or intended to be. I am not implying, as some would argue, that there is a divine plan that you have to fit into. If that were the case, then this whole book and the notion of doing any inner work would be rendered useless. Put the book down and simply keep doing what you’re doing-and hope the plan is in place. That kind of fatalism is not what this is about.      

What is Your ‘Charism?’
What I am suggesting is that each of us has inside a tendency or urge to manifest something out there in the world that is connected with who and what is deep within us. Throughout history that urge has been the focus of attention for profound thinkers and spiritual teachers, and has been called charism (pronounced ‘care-ism’). You know that word. We say it about special people we see as ‘charismatic.’ Originally, for the Greeks who named it, a charism was simply a gift, seen as a divinely proffered ability to know or do things. The truth is that we are all gifted, each in our own way. No one is left out. The question is not Am you gifted or not? but rather What are those gifts that make you who you are?

Artists understand this charism principle. Throughout history they have been the ones among us who realize their charism, and allow it to express itself in their work. They will tell you, in fact, that they feel compelled to express that creative urge or knowing, turning it into something that can be seen or heard in the physical world.

If you look back over the various jobs you have had, you may be able to see the ‘footprint’ of your charisms, your core gifts, your essence, or soul’s qualities. Perhaps you can see the inner theme that has woven itself through what you have been doing on the outside all along.


2 Responses to “Survival Principle #4: Find Out What Calls You – From Inside”

  1. Arti Ross Kelso
    July 17th, 2009 @ 1:30 am

    Thanks John,
    Sweet surprise
    I needed this message today.
    I must admit I haven’t been opening your mass e mails much but this got my attention for some reason and soul resonance
    ( or lack there of) at work has been so up for me.
    Blessings on the good work you continue to offer the world.
    have you slowed down at all?

  2. donna
    July 19th, 2009 @ 2:03 pm

    Arti! What a delight to get your post! Maybe you need to open more of these… 🙂 Man, I miss you guys. Give me a call some time. It would be wonderful to catch up.
    (Cath is about to graduate from her Music Thanatology School!) Love, JOHN/JANEK


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