Monday, December 29, 2014

Your Life's Calling: What I've learned so far

The format of this blog is changing. In the recent past, I have been posting journal entries directly to the blog. I have been told that others might get something out of seeing my process. I use my journal to explore my thoughts and feelings. I look at where I am blocked or unhappy. I ask questions that arise and try to answer them. I've decided to move forward from that and begin posting more coherent entries.

This post explores the simple idea of your life's calling. This seems like a good topic as we approach the new year, although I don't like setting this time apart as if it was literally an ending and beginning. That, to me, feels like such an artificial construct. In fact, this topic has weighed on me for the  past five years, if not much longer.

When I first explored this idea in my senior year of high school, it was manifesting as how I would earn money. I had grown up with the archetype of the Star Trek universe. I saw myself as an analytical support for an emotionally intuitive hero: Spock for Kirk. Looking back, part of the allure was being in control of my emotions which were so chaotic during my childhood. Today, I understand that my attraction to that archetype as important. It may yet hold the key to my life's mission.

There were some problems in searching for my life's purpose. First is that I was confusing it with a career. How do I make money from my purpose? I took that question and added my love for Spock and ended up with a push into physics. A funny thing happened on the way and I delved into consciousness expanding drugs. I don't know if I ever had a chance at a physics degree, but I had trouble with the math. I could never find a vision of a physics degree that filled me with passion. Nothing took me in the direction of being Spock.

The foray did teach me how to think critically, and I picked up software programming relatively easily. I still feel I have a decent understanding of how the physical universe works. And it provided an income that allows me to pay off the debts of my earlier years.

My understanding of my mission has changed. I recognized how much I enjoyed sex and how shamelessly I experienced it as a gay man. It took me some time to share my sexual orientation with my family. I still have shame to overcome in the broader culture, but I feel further ahead than so many people I've encountered. I toyed with the idea of doing porn and being a sex worker. My sense of freedom to pursue that has only come to fulfillment after I passed midlife. I am now 49 and feel I have more to offer. Without cultural support, I could not have been prepared any earlier. Even if I had, I would not have the financial stability that gives me that freedom today. That would be a worthy goal of support in itself – giving young adults who share this calling to serve as sex workers safely while furthering their education and long term prosperity.

My new sense of purpose and mission is far beyond the idea of career. Now it's focused on sacrificing everything to fulfill my mission. It's not how I can make money from it, but how can I most effectively spend money and energy on it. That is a new concept and hard to anchor in western culture. My mission statement has been getting more clear since I started trying to phrase it. I'm looking for a form that is stable and unchanging, although the way it manifests may change. My mission is to contribute to the survival of life on Earth by giving people permission, understanding, and serving.

From my perspective, the key to getting at your purpose is to spend time thinking about it regularly. When you're ready, write it down. If it doesn't feel right later, revise it. Look for the version that is unchanging. There are plenty of books about finding your life's purpose. Consider working with a life coach or a therapist. Don't consider money. What you've done for a living is a clue, but also what feeds your passion. What fills you with passion? Keep looking for that. It's important.