when your calling feels elusive, let yourself love what needs to be loved

Maybe I have a love-hate relationship with callings.


I mean, they’re so wonderfully confusing aren’t they? The tug. The deep yearning. The promise. The daunting truth that sometimes it feels like you’re tracking a wily stranger who’s an expert at disappearing around every corner.

Some people, I’ve noticed, receive very clear callings and are propelled to go toward them with deliberate clarity.

For others (like me and most of my clients), callings appear as vague hunches and notions. Following them means pulling the thread of curiosity, letting it unravel and trusting the direction it takes you.

Still, there are those callings that seem so maddeningly elusive you wind up feeling frustrated and ultimately stuck.

Not only have you lost the road map, you’re stranded in a deserted town and your cell phone is dead.

At that point, the best thing you can do is stop, look within, and allow yourself to love what needs to be loved right now. Here are some possibilities:

Love your heart’s need to mend and restore.

The urge to follow a call often comes on the heels of a loss of some kind: a relationship, a life role or structure, a job, a sense of self-identity, a dear one. Recognize your heart’s need to heal and give yourself permission to retreat and recuperate, whatever that looks like for you.

Love your body’s need for attention.

When you feel stuck in a callings quest you might also be stuck in analysis-paralysis, continually searching for more information and replaying the same questions over and over. So get out of your head and into your body. Move. Dance. Stretch. Hug. Jump.

Love your inner seeker’s need for freedom and space.

To be called means to yearn, and to yearn always activates your inner seeker. More than anything, that inner seeker wants to roam, get lost, explore. Now is a good time to haunt the back roads, stand at the apex of a broad vista or walk along a wide expanse of beach.

Love your senses (seeing, hearing, touching, smelling, tasting) and their need to come alive.

To be called also means the desire to attach to something, to feel fully alive. It starts with your senses. In the midst of a callings quest you may not understand why you can’t get enough of the scent of lavender or why touching a certain something brings you close to tears. You don’t need to understand it, though. You just need to turn towards it.

Love your creativity’s need to cut loose.

You’re obsessed by the thought of going out to the garage and painting big canvases with huge blocks of color. And you’re not sure it has anything to do with your calling. That’s okay. Let yourself love your creative obsession, whatever it is. You’ve probably heard this before: anything that opens the conduit to your creative self is good for unsticking callings.

Love your emerging roles and their need for your embrace.

I’ve noticed that the urge to follow a call can show up on top of another call that’s been activated and followed, like the call to get married, have a child, make a significant move to a different city/state/country, retire from a career, become a homeowner. Once you’ve experienced the full-on aliveness of following such a call you may crave more. And while it seems like two calls are better than one, it can be confusing. Often the wisest course of action is to revisit the initial call, especially when it involves a role change. This is a good time to love up that new role a little bit more, then see what happens.

In every single one of these situations, the key is allowing and letting yourself love.

Too often we turn our backs on what needs to be loved within us because we’re convinced it won’t get us where we need to go. And as I come to the end of writing this, I realize that whether or not you’re feeling stuck in the mud around an elusive calling, this is a good question to ask any old time:

What do I need to love today?


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