“I want to figure out what I’m supposed to do in life!”
A number of my clients come to coaching with this quest. It never fails to arouse my curiosity.
What do you mean by supposed to do?
What would you love (to do)?
That last question gets all kinds of responses from some variant of “I don’t know” to an answer that is quickly discounted with a whole world of blurts that come on the other side of a bridge named “but.”
When we investigate further, we begin to loosen the web of collapses and assumptions which suspends them in a perpetual state of indecision. In this web are assumptions like: commitment means loss of freedom, work is struggle, play is not work, surrender is giving in, following our bliss is selfish/hedonistic, happiness comes from external circumstances, on and on…(pick your poison).
These clients, like me and maybe like you, long to find their “calling.” They want to feel fulfilled and to find meaning in their lives and they want to be well-used, needed, to be of service in some way. They are intrigued by the notion of following their bliss. At the same time, they want to be certain of their calling before pursuing it. This is usually the giveaway that they have a requirement for controlling the outcome, which is actually expressing some deeper human need for safety, security, belonging, etc.
They are looking for a guarantee that their investment is going to pay off, that magic crystal ball affirmation. This requirement for guarantee can cause no end of procrastination, false starts, disappointment and a great opportunity for the inner critic to belittle and berate. Any wrinkle in the fabric is gathered for evidence that it’s not a good fit and they were not “meant to do this.”
And what has us imagine we can completely control the outcome anyway?
What kind of dead-end pursuit is that?
How does that assumption constrict possibility and potential?
I understand these things from the inside out, because I’ve experienced (and still do to some extent) the same dilemma. Creative artists can be especially plagued by this, as can healers, adventurers and free spirits.
Do you recognize this in yourself? If so, consider these questions:
What do you want?
Why do you want that?
What has you believe you need to figure out what it is you are supposed to do?
What if you don’t need to figure it out?
What if there is nothing you are supposed to do and you are actually fully at choice?
What scares you about being fully at choice?
Figuring things out generally happens in the head. Bliss and passion are usually generated from the heart and spirit.
What if you just listened to your heart and spirit and then let your head be the genius planner it is, in service of the heart and spirit?
We are talking trust here. That takes us back to needs. Our needs for safety, security, belonging, etc., are very real. What’s unreal is expecting them to be taken care of by other people or external circumstances. It is this demand we place on others and on things (cars, houses, circumstances) that ensnares us in the trap of needing guarantees to proceed. It leads to procrastination, avoidance and fear of commitment.
We are the only ones who can take care of our own needs. Only I can create safety, security and belonging for myself. When I do, through loving and nurturing myself, I am much safer (not to mention more fun) to be around. I am not placing that demand on others. I am not trying desperately to control circumstances. I let go of attachment. I also develop a high level of trust in myself.
When I trust myself, I am willing to lean into the Mystery. I can ask God/Goddess for help and know I am met co-creatively. I can follow my bliss without a guarantee, because a guarantee is no longer essential, nor is it even desired anymore. Guarantees leave no room for surprise, imagination, or magic.
When I trust myself, I am willing to be vulnerable and visible in the world. I allow myself to be seen. This is the dance of intimacy. When I am dancing this dance, when I am fully participating in and with life rather than waiting for some magic road to open up and show me the sure highway to happiness, my bliss has an opportunity to find me.
When I follow the call of Spirit and the whispers of Heart, my ever-evolving destiny can see and find me. I am romancing it by believing in it enough to take risks. I am showing I have the courage and the willingness to commit to it, to become a disciple to my soul’s calling.
And yes, the ego experiences a loss of freedom, in a way, when I commit; more on that in my next blog entry.
Until then, give your mind a rest. I’m sure it will thank you. Stop trying to figure out what you are supposed to do. Let your Spirit and Heart speak to you. Suspend judgment for now (which is not to say suspend discernment).
Look within for the needs you are trying to have satisfied for you out there. What are those needs?
And then look deeper. Is there a bottom-line need here that is merely represented by such responses as “I need a job” “I need to know I won’t lose my house” “I need to know he loves me”?
Entertain the possibility that you can meet all of your needs and find a new way of being in the world; one you can hardly even imagine right now; one in which you have come to know that you have value, you are enough, you are loved; one in which you enchant and are enchanted by your destiny, your soul’s calling.
Don’t just flirt with it, romance your destiny, let it fall in love with you, and when it approaches and says “shall we dance?” find the courage and willingness to say, “Yes!”
Copyright (c) August 2009, Kathy J Loh, All Rights Reserved
Inspiration and Resources:
For personal coaching: www.coachkathy.com
For a great personal growth workshop series: www.lucidliving.net
For a good read: The Three Marriages: Reimagining Work, Self and Relationship, David Whyte