how to listen to your life
Ohio Northern University applied for -- and received -- a grant to bring me to campus for three weeks during the fall semester. I'm guest-lecturing about international aid, health communications and public health. I'm helping to guide a cohort through the process of writing their stories. And I'm working with the chaplain -- who is emphasizing Vocation as the theme of this school year. On Sunday evening, I met with a dozen students in a small, carpeted room behind the chapel. It's a sacred space, and everyone takes off their shoes before they enter. We each grabbed a cushion and sat in a circle on the floor.
The chaplain had asked me if I thought I could use writing/creative prompts to help students discern what direction they were heading, and what their vocation might be.
"I think so," I said, during our lunch meeting last week.
Over the next few days, I thought about the questions that have helped me figure out where I'm going, what I'm doing, and what my life is about. I thought about the questions that have helped me make choices when I was at a crossroads in my career.
I also did some reading about vocation, and learned that the word comes from the Latin word vox, which means voice. Most writers say that vocation is the call, or voice, of the Divine, giving you a unique assignment to fulfill with your life. But I think that discerning vocation involves listening not only to the Divine, but also to your own life, your inner spirit.
As I sat on the floor with the students, I gave them blank paper and pens, and asked them to write -- or draw -- the answer to the following questions. In less than an hour, we had worked our way through the questions, and most of the students expressed a sense of clarity, purpose and passion.
For those of you who are feeling confused or lost, wondering what your unique contribution can be to our beautiful, broken world, I would invite you to carve out an hour of your day, settle into stillness and silence, take some deep breaths, then write or draw your answers to these questions.
Listen to your life....and see what your spirit is saying!