Karen Sindelar 2005. All Rights Reserved.
Mission Peak Unitarian Universalist Congregation
August 28, 2005

The Voice, by Shel Silverstein
There is a voice inside of you
That whispers all day long,
"I feel that this is right for me,
I know that this is wrong."
No teacher, preacher, parent, friend
Or wise man can decide
What's right for you - just listen to
The voice that speaks inside.

Your calling is the essence of you - it's who you are.

Your calling stays with you wherever you go and whatever you do. Because it's so ingrained, it's a part of our spiritual makeup.

I've been interested in the concept of a calling for many years, and have been trying to find or refine my calling for most of my adult life so far. One thing I think I've learned is that the form our calling takes likely changes during a lifetime, sometimes many times. I'd like to offer some questions that might help us in pondering what your calling is, at this moment in time.

Think back (in the last few years, or perhaps in childhood) about a time in your life when you felt your full power - a time when your whole body - your spine, arms, and fingertips were tingling with excitement. A time when you simply didn't care what anyone thought of you. You lost all track of time and felt absolutely alive!

Our gifts are the force behind the things we enjoy and do well - things that we never needed to learn. We naturally want to do things that encompass our gift. We want to give back through them. What are you consistently and enjoyably giving to others? Or, what do you feel the urge to give, if you're not giving it now?

For most of my life I've gotten the feedback that I'm good at explaining things and giving instruction. That's not my profession, but for at least the last 10 years I've been in a mentoring program for middle- and high-school kids where part of what I do with them is tutor them with their schoolwork. Participating in this way has really fueled my spiritual calling, because I feel good about what I'm sharing. It helps me to step back from the hustle and bustle of a busy working life with night-time meetings, events, errands and so on. I can see that the students I work with are learning how to solve a problem or get an answer; I'm not giving them the answer. And by doing that, I feel like I'm contributing to the world community, sharing the experience of learning.

What are your natural gifts? Maybe they haven't been nurtured in a while, or allowed to lie dormant. It really is never too late to uncover our gifts that we may not have stirred up for some time.

Our passions are issues we care most deeply about. What's important to realize about passions is that they are only passions if they are "alive." We need to feel them deeply - they have to move us. They are always present in our lives.

When people ask me what I'm passionate about, the first thing that comes to my mind is: I love the human body: its design - I love to read about it and challenge it. There are a lot of world issues involving the body that I could rally behind, and I do for some of them. What hits closest to home is that my passion about the body enhances my spiritual experience. The place I feel most spiritual is when I'm hiking alone. I'm using my muscles, blood, lungs; my mind is the clearest I know it to be; and I feel closest to the Universe and a higher power in that environment.

When I started coming to Mission Peak, I immediately gravitated to our ongoing meditation before service. I was never much of a meditator, but I've come for meditation most Sundays I'm able to attend. I feel my heart and my breathing, and other physical sensations in my body. It's enhanced my spiritual practice.

What are you passionate about?
What do you think is worth doing in the world? What problems do you think need solving? What are you constantly reading about and talking to people about?

Values are the fire that ignite our passions. They determine how committed we'll be to particular causes or outcomes, and in what environments. Values are active - valuing is something we DO. And values are what expose our individuality.

There's a gentleman I've worked with who I would see many times a day when he was in the office, and the first time I'd see him for the day, I'd ask, "Hi Greg, how are you today?" He'd look at me with a mischievious grin and say, "mentally, physically or spiritually?" It got to be a routine, hearing it from him often, but I always liked hearing it. It's a reminder that there are many factors to how we are doing as people in any given moment. It's not just mental, physical or spiritual, BUT ALL THREE. Because one of my values is health, I keep this in mind and live by it.

Our spiritual DNA is the inner wisdom that resides within us and transmits messages about our life path. It's listening to the messages that I've found to be the hard part.

Next time you get that "tingle" when you're doing something that excites you, listen to what's going on in your body. Listen to what your spirit is telling you. If it touches your heart and feeds your soul, maybe it's an area to explore further; maybe it's an area that's CALLING TO YOU.

I'd like you to visualize something for yourself for a moment.

Imagine that you're in a large group of people milling about in front of a stage. Up on the stage is your future self. Your future self begins to speak to this large group of people. Suddenly you become aware of a shift that has come over you and the entire audience. Your future self has in some way had a profound impact on you and on the rest of the people in the audience. You are all altered or changed in some fundamental way. Aware of this impact on yourself and others, you leave the room altered for the rest of your life.

Let's think and be silent for a moment.

Falling Up, by Shel Silverstein
All the Woulda-coulda-shouldas
Layin' in the sun,
Talkin' bout the things
They woulda-coulda-shoulda done.
But those woulda-coulda-shouldas
All ran away and hid
From one little DID.

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