This month I want to share one of my absolute, most favouritest books with you!
This book was the reason my life and my career did a total 180° a couple of years ago. It is such a special book to me, that it seems mean not to share it with you. Consider this a formal introduction. ☺
Every winter the Hubs and I rent a small cabin on the West coast of Vancouver Island. We spend a few weeks taking wet stormy walks, soaking in the hot tub, playing epic board games, placidly staring into wave or flame, and losing ourselves deeply in books. It is my version of heaven.
In the winter of 2011, I was balanced on the cusp of major life change. I was morbidly unhappy in my job and was feeling pulled to do something bigger. I wanted to make a difference in the world. I wanted to really help people. I was anxiously entertaining the idea of becoming a life coach but as much as I was tickled by the prospect it also terrified me.
What if I didn’t have what it takes?
How can I leave a job that pays so well?
What if I’m not good enough?
What if everyone thinks I’m crazy?
What if I fall flat on my face?
I was incapacitated with doubt.
In preparation for our escape to wilderness that year, I had gone to the library in search of some fresh reading material. And as synchronicity would have it I stumbled across a book entitled, Callings: finding and following an authentic life by Gregg Levoy.
Callings, as the subtitle indicates, is a book about finding your way to a life that truly speaks to you. In his incredible tome, Levoy explains what a calling truly is, how to recognize yours, and even how to invoke a calling. He looks at the myriad ways we say no to a call as well as the painful ecstasy of saying yes. It was exactly the book I needed to read that year.
I can remember sitting, perched on a stool in the kitchen of our little rented cabin, reading every single word with rapt attention. Normally I make notes in my books or underline passages that resonate with me, but because this was a library book I couldn’t do that. Instead, I bought a cheap spiral bound notebook from the local grocery store and wrote out, by hand, anything that spoke me. I made 20 pages of notes!
It was as if Levoy could read my mind. He addressed every doubt that had been echoing through my head (and even some I hadn’t even considered yet). His words were wise and articulate but most importantly, his words were recognizably the truth.
The information he shares in Callings is clearly gained from walking the seeker’s path himself. Levoy has an intimate knowledge of the pain, fear, hunger, and hope that accompany any search for meaning and purpose in one’s life. This book inspired me, it soothed me, and it rattled me. That’s why I want to share it with you.
If you have even a tiny question in your mind about the path you are intended to walk in your life, please read this book.
It is poetic as well as practical. It is the perfect antidote to boundless ocean of poorly written, condescending, and frankly uninspiring dreck that spills out of the self-help section in your local bookstore. Believe me, I own most of them! 🙂
He understands the yearning that so many of us have to live a different life. He has been there and he generously, eloquently, and yet humbly shares what he’s learned on his own journey. He doesn’t cover up the frequently uncomfortable realities of the seeker’s journey with pretty but ultimately inadequate metaphors. He lays it out for his readers, but all the while keeps us, his readers, firmly planted in the driver’s seats of our own lives.
I cannot recommend this book enthusiastically enough! If you have questions about your path in life, your purpose, READ THIS BOOK. To give a sneak preview of the ride you are in for, here is a small sample of some of the notes I took that fateful winter in 2011:
“Dreams, like calls, point us toward what we need. They are meaning machines and they never lie.”
“If we are willing to be moved by our encounters, to be guided, persuaded and changed by them then our experiences will seem less like mere events and more like replies to unspoken questions. Happening for us, not just to us.”
“All the energy that is bound up in resisting your own potential is more energy than you’ll to reach it.”
“Questioning is the prerequisite to change and innovation, without it there is no discovery.”
“Since there is fear and suffering in life, whether or not we take on adventures, whether or not we follow our callings, we might as well suffer in the service of our dreams”
“Never forget that left field is still in the ball park.”
I hope you enjoy the book. If you get a chance to read Callings, if you already love this book, or if you have any other amazing book suggestions to share with me, please share thoughts in the comments section below. 🙂