When I was 15 years old, I walked into English class on the first day of school of a new year. I’d been waiting through the long hours of P.E., of chemistry, of Algebra 2 to get to English class, the subject I loved most.
My teacher stood in front of us, leaned against his old metal desk, and explained what we’d be covering through the Fall. “We’ll be studying the theme of Coming of Age – the transition from childhood to adulthood. We’ll read many different novels that tell this story in diverse ways, and as we read, we’ll discover the universal themes across diverse accounts of this rite of passage.”
Then he told us about the books we were going to read – Lord of the Flies, Black Boy, A Separate Peace… I noticed something odd: none were written by women and none were about a girl coming of age. I knew that wasn’t right. I knew it wasn’t right for a classroom of girls and boys to only read stories about boys.
But what was most remarkable about that day was this: I felt a strange surge of energy. It wasn’t anger – it was more like momentum, vitality, passion. It came with a feeling of “I’m going to do something about this.”
At the time, I was a little lost – in teenage rebellion, in hating my body, in being bored with high school. Suddenly, I wasn’t bored, or lost or hating. I was excited about something. I was working toward something.
I talked to teachers and administrators, helped form a committee, raised money for new books, and a couple years later, the curriculum was changed and new books by and about women had been added. This was my first experience of what I now recognize as following a calling. It’s so damn sweet.
The Right Question
I’m not a fan of the question, “What’s my calling?” because the question is stressful, and it also implies we each only have one calling. I am, however, a fan of the question, “What’s calling me right now?”
I think we each receive many callings, that they come and go, that our goal is not to find the one right answer about our callings, but to become more responsive to the many callings we receive over a lifetime. Callings, like everything else, have a lifespan.
I also believe that callings can be big or small. Some have to do with our careers, some with helping a particular cause or even a particular person in need. Some callings are to organize a particular event, or project – they might last just a few weeks. What distinguishes a calling is not its duration or the domain of life in which it shows up. It’s the inexplicable feeling of “this work is mine to do,” and the sense of rightness, momentum and love that fills us as we do the work.
But it’s not all peace and pleasure. Most of us resist our biggest, most important callings. Our primary reaction to them is “Who me? Definitely not me. That’s too big for me.” Most of us come to our callings after years of avoiding and denying them. That’s okay.
A lot of us get caught up in, “But I have to pay the bills! I can’t follow this calling.” But I have yet to meet a woman whose calling demanded that it be the way she pay her mortgage – or her rent. Especially early on. Our callings are simply begging us for some level of expression in our lives – a few hours in the morning, a few days a week or a bit of time on the weekends – whatever it is.
Your first work is to take the simple step to make that happen, to not get distracted by questions about how you could ever do this thing full-time.
We can play big in lots of other ways, but I don’t think there is a more exciting ride than playing bigger with your callings.
P.S. If you are thinking of joining us for a course or training program this year, be sure to check out our recent post about our Playing Big programs HERE so you can plan ahead and sign up to get early information on programs you’re interested in.
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The Day I will Never Forget
- Length: 887 words (2.5 double-spaced pages)
- Rating: Excellent
The Day I will Never Forget
A punch a shove, "where is the money she boomed characteristercally. I
was now in a tornado of perplexity .The situation was to ghastly to
contemplate, "Our father who art in heaven, I made a silent prayer.
It all happened during one sunny and fine Saturday on the twenty fifth
of May two thousand and three when l woke up to the most annoying
voice in the whole world that of my crony Matt who was barking and
shouting all over face. After miserably managing to struggle out of
bed with Matt throwing pillows at me l headed for the bathroom. There
l remember fully waking up after the cold water roughly touched my
After slowly completing my morning chores, l set out to conquer the
kitchen. With Matt by my side anything edible greatly depleted in its
numbers. Just as Matt and l finished eating my father called me in a
somewhat calm voice, which got me thinking a lot of things. Just as I
was leaving the kitchen Matt made a big burp, farted and laughed at
the same time, which got me making a quick exit to avoid his almost
toxic smell he had unleashed.
As l entered the lounge, l remember seeing my dad standing in the
middle of the maroon carpeted room just below the chandelier with his
hands in his pockets and he was wearing his favourite sweat shirt and
khaki pants. The fireplace goldenly glowed as it blasted hot air all
over the peach coloured room and the lights slightly dipped made the
lounge a very comfortable room to relax in.
As we communicated my father produced his debt card and pin number
which he gave me and then ordered me to go to the bank and withdraw
one thousand pounds so he could pay off some debts. So l called Matt
who was still in the kitchen and told him everything. So Matt and l
then set off to town on our bikes. On our way back from the cash
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machine Matt told me he had a smashing idea which l asked him to
explain. He simply turned, looked into my eyes and said, "let's go
place a bet on if Everton is going to win against Bolton. I know a
place were we can do it." As always Matt had a way with words so l
On arrival at Matt's betting place all l could see was drunken man
woman fighting and hailing bottles all over the abounded rusting
hangar. I also remember seeing two disease-infested prostitutes who
were staring at me with their small beetie eyes, as if they wanted to
suck my blood and rip my lungs out. Just then out of the darkness
appeared a gigantic greasy haired woman who was dressed in a black
leather suit with a big black coat to go with it. I tried to look into
her eyes but it was to no avail as she was wearing some red shades.
I also remember seeing her slowly wipe off some blood from her jacket
using a piece of cloth that looked like someone's t-shirt as she
stared at Matt and l with a somewhat evil grin on her ugly face. After
she had finished what she was doing she started coming towards us, I
had one thing on my mind and that was to pedal as fast as l could out
of the place. On the other hand Matt was looking happy to see her and
all l could see on him was a big smile which he always put on if he
As she got closer and closer l felt my whole body go numb and somehow
froze there as if l was a staffed dummy. A few seconds later she was
standing in front of us with that evil grin still projected on her
face. At last it spoke, she spoke in a suprisinglingly spine chilling
deep voice, "hello Matt", "it's been quite a long time handsome". Matt
just replied by saying, "it's been indeed Miss Man". Just then she
turned her ugly face to me and said, "What is your name handsome"? I
did not answer her. I remember her slowly turning and saying, "the
strong silent type huh?"
Just then the grin was off her face as she asked us, "do you have the
money boys"? So Matt and l answered back by just nodding our heads.
With that response she said, "Follow me this way boys". As we followed
her she led us to a small and secluded room in the hangar were other
betters where .The television set was switched on by Miss Man just
before kick-off. A few seconds later the referee blew the whistle and
the game was under way.
With thirty minutes into game thing's were looking good as Everton was
leading. As for Matt, he was singing and shouting, "more money, more
money." With forty minutes into the second half, disaster struck when
Bolton grabbed the much sort after crucial equaliser. By now my
ever-joyous friend was quiet, as a mouse and l could not help noticing
the sweat that was trickling down his temple as well.
Well, as for me, l felt some wooziness slowly taking over my body .It
felt, like l had some butterflies flying around in my stomach. As the
game continued only left with three minutes to go the wooziness was
all l could feel. With the game now having only two minutes left,
Bolton scored. At this result l almost fainted .The butterflies had
taken all over my body, the wooziness l felt was so strong that l just
dropped and just set on the potholed concrete floor. The bizarre fact
of loosing my fathers one thousand pounds was coursing threw my veins
and mind like a virus.
The wooziness was slowly disappearing and rage and anger where all l
could feel toward my crony Matt .So l went toward him and punched him
in right in the eye and pushed him to the wall. He only retaliated by
pushing me back and said, "we can this letter but right now we need to
get out off here bra". So we got on to our bikes and pedalled as fast
as we could towards the exit.
Just as we reached the exit Miss Man appeared right in front of us and
said in a nerve ripping voice, "going somewhere boys". Just then l
received a massive right hook to my chick and a shove, "where is the
money," she boomed characteristically. I was now in a tornado of
perplexity. The situation was ghastly to ghastly to contemplate .Our
father who art in heaven, l made a short prayer. Slowly l opened my
eyes to see what she was up to. There here it stood right in front of
me laughing as if it had been suddenly possessed by a great evil. Just
then l remembered Matt.
As l turned my head my head l saw him just behind the giant, just
lying there as if he was lifeless, and blood was gashing out his nose
in it's rawest form. Time simed to move slow. As l tried to reach for
door, it grabbed me again and this time it threw me back in as if l
was weightless. To my horror she produced a samurai sword from the
long leather jacket .As she lifted up the sword l made a silent prayer
and closed my eyes and laid there in front of it. Just then, l heard
three gunshots and as l opened my eyes the gigantic Miss Man was lying
in a massive pool of blood.