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Exercise: What’s My Calling?

Old hand with flower

Materials:                 Pen & paper

Time:                         20-30 minutes in a quiet space

Duration:                  2 sessions or revisit as often as you like

Part I: An Interview with Your 90-Year-Old Self

Imagine you are 90 years old and have lived a fulfilled life. You have the vision of one who has climbed the highest mountain and has the wisdom of that vantage.  Sit quietly, close your eyes and spend a few minutes listening, looking, absorbing what it feels like to be this well lived you. See your 90-year-old body, your house, your family, your town.

Now interview your 90-year-old self about what was most meaningful in their life. Use the prompts below as interview questions, or make up your own. Notice if there is one you can’t wait to ask or one you want to skip over. Ask yourself why? Spend some time with your 90-year-old self, let them speak to you, you’ll be surprised by what you learn!

Here are some question prompts to get you started:

Who were your closest relationships with? Why were they fulfilling?

Who and what did you love? How did you love?

How did you play?

What did your build?

What did you take risks on?

Where were you courageous?

What did you shed along the way?

In what areas did you grow the most?

Who supported you? Why was that support meaningful?

What excites you? What enrages you?

Who inspired you? How did you inspire others?

What were you naturally good at?

When did people ask you for help?

What was your favorite thing to do?

What was the least comfortable but most rewarding thing you ever did?

How did you relax, restore yourself? Where was your most peaceful place to be?

What hardships did you overcome? What did you learn?

What did you believe in?

What are you most proud of?

What was the hardest decision you made?

What was your greatest contribution?

What are the three most important things you learned?

What are your highest values?

What was most meaningful?

What is your legacy?

If you could get a message across, what would it be and to whom would you say it?

Why were you born?

Sum up your life in one sentence.

Part II

Come back to your interview in a few days. With a highlighter, mark all words, phrases or concepts that stand out to you.  Which have the most charge? These are the leads to follow.

On a fresh piece of paper, write the words, phrases and concepts on separate lines. Then spend a minute or two writing down what each means to you. For example:

  1. Passion: I want to feel passionate about everything in my life. I don’t want to live half way. I want to be a passionate lover, to be deeply touched by everything I do, and to exude energy and vitality to others. To me, passion means being fully alive.
  2. I was a skilled tango dancer:  when I hear the word tango, my body starts to move, I feel powerful, alive, masterful and passionate. Tango means keeping my body moving my whole life, being fluid and strong. Tango is orange, hot, bold and feisty.  Tango is intense. Tango has structure while still being fluid  Tango is beautiful to watch and feels beautiful when I’m doing it. If I’m dancing, I am fully present; I don’t think about anything else beyond the walls of the room. It is the place I feel most at home.
  3. Brightly colored peonies: peonies remind me of my Grandmother, of the gardens of my childhood home. It was a happy place for me as a child. Beautiful, bright, reliable (they come back every year), they unfold from a tight but into a luscious flower. They have an earthy yet sweet smell. They look like they’re smiling. Peonies are happy flowers.  I want to be bright and colorful – vibrant, alive, happy.

Once you’ve finished this second list, mine it for clues. What new information did you receive? What is most important to you? Where do you feel the most excitement and inspiration?   Which words or ideas are repeated? Which are thematic elements of your life? What’s missing – what can you get rid of?  What can’t you live without?

A picture will start to form, what does it look like?

 

Part III

After you have let your new insights percolate, write a list of action steps you can take in the short and long term to beccome your 90-year-old self and live your most fully realized life. You may not see your calling yet, but you will find the next steps. Take them!

For more great ideas to find your calling check out Tiny Buddha

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/gulfu/4856133666/”>Gulfu</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>cc</a>

 

4 Comments Post a comment
  1. What an awesome exercise! I found Part I quite enlightening, and am looking forward to revisiting for parts II & III later this week. Thank you, Kassie, for keeping us thinking! ;-)

    March 21, 2012
    • It’s fascinating to see what comes up for you when you just flip a question around. Somehow starting at the end seems to elicit answers that starting from now can’t reach. Is there anything that particularly struck you that you want to share?

      March 23, 2012
  2. It’s interesting to me that at times I think about myself as an 80 some year old woman, shuffling across the farm property, chickens around me, heading to to feed the animals.

    I feel I have experienced so many different lives (Germany, NYC, CA, KY, MA) that by now I pretty much figured out what I desire. Life as it is right now … walking across the property, cats and dog by my side … heading to feed the animals.

    March 28, 2012

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