When I moved to Austin a few years ago from Los Angeles I deposited some of my belongings in a nearby storage facility. “When I find a place to settle, I will come back for you.” I have found that place and finally decided last week to begin the process of emptying the storage, a task that always seems to take a few months to build up the courage to conquer.
My boxes of books took up much of the space even though I performed a major book culling prior to leaving Los Angeles. I am attached to my books. They tell the story of my life perhaps even better than a photo album could. I can pinpoint where I was in my life when I read each of them.
Last night as I was heading off to bed, I passed by the study where I left the boxes. It was late but the boxes were still unopened which was a temptation, so open them I did. Reading each book cover felt like reading a map of what has called me in my life. It made me think of this quote from The Lion Tracker’s Guide to Life by Boyd Varty:
“You must train yourself to see what you are looking for. Part of why this isn’t as simple as it sounds is that it is not rational. You can’t think your way to a calling. Finding what is uniquely yours requires more than rationality. You have to learn how your body speaks. You have to learn how you know what you know. You have to follow the inner tracks of your feelings, sensations, and instincts; the integrity and truth that are deeper than the ideas about what you should do. You have to learn to follow a deeper, wiser, wilder place inside yourself.”
You have to learn how you know what you know.
I had forgotten about all of these books and the impact each of them had on my life. I wondered why I was drawn to them anyway. I don’t remember what brought me to Viktor Frankl 30 years ago, but his writing changed my life. I don’t recall why I was so drawn to Samuel Beckett that I wrote my undergrad thesis on him. And what on earth made me buy so many copies of Shel Silverstein’s The Missing Piece? Perhaps it was something about trying to learn how I know what I know.
One of my clients bought a ukulele last week. He said to me, just hours before making the purchase, that he had been thinking of buying one. He has been wanting to delve more into his creative side and apparently the uke was calling to him.
A few hours later he sent me a video of himself playing a brand new uke. I nearly cried when I saw the video because he is listening to what is calling to him and there is immense beauty in that. He is following that “deeper, wiser, wilder place inside” himself. I told him I was truly touched by the video and his response was, “I don’t want a half-ass life.” Word.
Learning to hear what is calling us is not as hard as we think it may be. Think about what brings you joy and go from there; listen to the quiet pull. And keep listening because it keeps calling, even when we think we have arrived.
Go, Do, Be friends.
PS: I highly recommend reading The Lion Trackers Guide to Life.