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Painting by Chagall

“The calling starts when we’re young. The problem is that it’s a soft voice and we often don’t hear it, especially with the chatter around us. But it’s there. So what happens when we get in trouble is it stops the chatter and sometimes that voice gets through. But often it doesn’t get through fully when we’re young and a lot of people live a life not tied to the genius of their own soul. But here’s the valuable thing. This is so important, the awakening of one’s genius, the moving closer to living the life of giftedness and purpose, that the calling keeps calling. And no matter how old a person is or how close they get to the door of exit, the calling keeps calling. A person can awaken at any point along the path of life.”
- Michael Meade

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In The Soul’s Code, Hillman (1996) offers the acorn theory…Hillman asserts that every soul (psyche) is granted a unique daimon before birth, and this daimon has chosen a pattern that individuals must live while on earth. The daimon leads the soul into the world, but the daimon is forgotten at birth. Although forgotten, the daimon remembers the destiny of the soul and guides the person through life, “therefore the daimon is the carrier of your destiny” (Hillman, p. 8). Prior to birth, people chose the body, parents, place, and circumstances most suited to the soul. We are summoned into the world with a calling. From this, Hillman concludes: (1) the daimonic call is a fundamental fact of human existence; (2) people should strive to align life with the call, and (3) come to understand that accidents, illnesses, and all maladies are in the service of fulfilling the call.

— Iona Miller

We have a lot of language around our relationship with our life’s mission, even if we ourselves have never found it. Finding or losing yourself, in the search for yourself we sense we have a core being, a “diamon,” as the ancient Greeks called it that has a mission, something it needs to accomplish. We can only know what those energies are if we listen for them and respect them when they show themselves.

Hillman also talks about how that core energy can become twisted by being ignored or attacked by society or by the person who carries it. It can be derailed. It can become demonic, in extreme cases. Our newly minted ex-president is probably one of those lost souls. Most of us try to stay in touch with something beautiful that we love.

What we naturally love feeds our soul. These energies are in a different universe from the concerns of status and pride. The interests of ego may even contradict or supplant what we’re really here for if we refuse to listen to the inner voice. In that case we start to wander, we get lost.

I went through a long period of trying creative things while keeping my obsession with language and ideas in a little box under the bed, so to speak. I would never have called it a hobby. I knew it came from an essential part of me. Reading, writing, speaking a foreign language was not the work I was doing in the world, but it was always something I couldn’t refrain from doing.

“Here are 7 things my father taught me by example. Do beautiful things, just for the sake of it. If you love orchids, build a greenhouse full of them in the basement. If you love the sound of French, learn to speak it fluently, even though you rarely have time to visit France.” — Susan Cain

Susan Cain’s father understood something essential in how to live your life as who you really are. He was the archetypal good parent. I think it behooves us to be that kind of parent to ourselves because not everyone is so lucky. My father was ambivalent about following your calling because he was not able to do it himself. Being respectable was important to him.

In that conflict, I sought to protect that golden thing in me by keeping in private, hidden. Ostensibly I was an artist. I had made that choice but I never considered not writing. When the world turned upside down, guess what survived? Writing.

Quelle surprise!

I occasionally write fiction and also about creativity, loving, language learning and travel. I’m a longtime painter and reader.

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