I haven’t written to you much lately, because I’ve been putting that time into writing Way of the Three-Year-Old Why. But this week I’ve realized something that I thought would be worth sharing with you. Many of you are following along for the progress on the book, so let me tell you that the plot is developing nicely. As I mentioned last time, I’m really getting to know these characters.
But others are following along for the writing process itself, or lessons learned along the way. Here’s one that is significant for me, and may be for you.
I’ve always enjoyed my work. I get a lot of satisfaction from teaching and from speaking. As regular readers know, I’ve turned back to my first “profession” of writing. While I never turned away from it, in the last few years it has been on the back burner. Last time I even talked about the recognition that had gotten cause-effect backward. I didn’t quit writing because I was depressed. I was depressed because I quit writing.
This week goes deeper, and it’s harder to put into words. The closest I can get is this: I have realized that when I think about writing, read about other writers, study the craft of writing, and (most importantly) when I write I have a very clear feeling of fit. In other words, it fits, it’s right, it’s what it’s supposed to be.
Trite though it sounds, it’s a clear feeling that I am doing what I was born to do.
It includes satisfaction, but it goes beyond that. Rather, I think this is what is meant by the ancient idea of calling.
I don’t think you have to make your living through your calling, although it’s nice when you can. Your sense of calling may actually be embedded in something else. I talked to a real estate agent last week who said that showing houses is the least satisfying part of her job. Her favorite part was fostering the relationship with clients and helping them achieve their dream. It was almost a fringe benefit that she got compensated well for doing so.
Other real estate agents may love the showing part, really getting into the craftmanship of houses, the layers of meaning embedded in site placement and neighborhood influence, the ups and downs of the market. That’s perfectly fine.
In either case, here’s the insight: you need to know that for you. What makes your heart sing? It doesn’t matter if it makes any sense to anyone else. You don’t have to tell anyone else. But you need to know that.
Not too long ago, a therapist actually asked me that question: What makes your heart sing? And I didn’t know. I could not find an answer. I certainly could not force an answer. So if you don’t know the answer to that question, or if you have felt like you had to bury the question because you had to do something else, take heart—literally. Be encouraged. “Encourage” has Latin roots that, together, mean literally “put heart in.” You must find some way to honor that part of yourself if you’re going to be your best self, including serving others and taking care of the things you have to do.
Next time I’ll pull back the curtains a bit on what is happening with Dan, Alara, Grace, and Hope. In the meantime, live your values and value your life.
Curious about what’s going on here? Thinking about going along for the ride? Know someone who would be interested? Subscribe if you haven’t (we’ll share some content along the way only with people who have subscribed) and share this post. It will help the book find the people who can benefit. Thank you!
I love that I am able to follow your creative process! I appreciate that you share with us all. I am still learning about what lights me up, because I have been a people pleaser my entire life. It has only come to pass recently that I realized I wasn’t sure which parts of my life were actually “me.” It has been such a strange journey trying to weed my way through that. Your thoughts about how a calling does not necessarily have to be what one does for a living really have made me think. Our society pushes this cookie-cutter notion that if you "follow your passion and do what you love you'll never work a day in your life.” My thoughts are this: if I monetize what I love and rely on it for income will it still be what I love? Would this be more likely to remove the joy? Also, do some people need to toil away at something (work) to truly be able to experience the full joy of laying their work down to dive into their passion? This lends to the notion that one can never experience true joy without knowing true pain. Thank you for making me ponder. I look forward to hearing more from you!