The Birthright Gift

The Voice of VocationAt the leadership orientation that I spoke of recently, we were given this essay to read. And for reasons that aren’t quite clear, it moved me to tears. I don’t know if its because we were so close to, and therefore one with nature, or because of the introspective and thoughtful nature of the work we were doing, but as I read this essay, my eyes welled up with tears. I was grateful that everyone was engrossed in their own reading and thoughts and so didn’t see the little salty drops trickle down my face.

For longer than I can remember, I have wondered about my purpose in life; I knew there was more to life than the one I was leading. I was a lost soul in my 20s truly dragged far far away from my birthright gift, of my own doing…it’s because I gave my power away. Life became more centered in my 30s – true happiness, peace, home, marriage, kids, roots, community all happened in this incredible decade. And now, poised on the springboard as I am – 8 days away from entering my next decade I am beyond ecstatic – I KNOW that this is the decade that I will ‘find out the path to authentic service in the world.’ For it’s as Frederick Buechner says “vocation is the place where your deep gladness meets the world’s deep need.”

The work that I have been doing, and continue to do will surely bring me closer to my birthright gifts. My true vocation of how I will best serve the world. In no particular order, these are some of the things I have embraced which I believe will help me find what I am truly meant to do.

1) Be Mindful: This is key – living in the here and now. As human beings, our nature is such that we’re always planning for our next best thing. Goals are good and worthy and important, but equally important is living in today. Expressing gratitude for where you are on this road and acknowledging that you are exactly where you are supposed to be, because there’s a purpose to that experience.

2) Simplify/Learn to Say No: The first thing my business coach did when I started to work with her was to make me aware of all the things that I was doing that didn’t really add value to my life; commitments that I made to other people – that took away my commitment to myself and my family. I quickly learned how to say NO…and it is powerful. And what’s more, I realized that the world didn’t fall off it’s axis because I said no. It’s continuing to spin just fine. She recently sent me a link to Jonathan FieldsThe Good Life Project as he interviewed world renowned blogger Leo Babauta who spoke of transforming and simplifying his life. It was inspiring to listen to and made me realize that my own journey is on track as I minimize my ‘outside commitments’ to stay true to what I really want to/need to do.

3) Make more space in your life to explore, create, write, question and spend time with yourself in quiet – you cannot be creative if you don’t give yourself a physical and mental clutter-free environment. My darling husband sent me a great link on Life Hacker on Why you need more margin in your life

4) Conscious Living: We are such a minute speck in the cosmos and I believe that we have been given a responsibility – a gift…we are expected to steward the gift of this planet earth wisely. In fundraising, if you don’t steward your donors and their gifts, you probably won’t get a second meaningful gift from them; this world isn’t so different. If we just focus on how to live OUR best life consciously rather than unconsciously going through our daily motions without thought (read more on that at Zen Habits) then by extension we will be stewarding this beautiful planet we call Earth.

This isn’t an exhaustive list by any means – but this is not something you can take on overnight. However it is something you can make a decision to do/start and then once you make that decision – as then, as has been told to us by Nike over and over again – Just Do It™.

Change is Constant! Embrace It!