Callings: Finding And Following An Authentic Life

Callings: Finding And Following An Authentic Life

  • Publish Date: 1997-09-16
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Author: Gregg Michael Levoy
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"Stunning! Wonderful! Levoy writes like a poet. His material is both spiritual and practical. I don't know another book that deals with callings in quite the same way."
--Larry Dossey, M.D., author of Healing Words and Prayer Is Good Medicine

How do we know if we're following our true callings? How do we sharpen our senses to cut through the distractions of everyday reality and hear the calls that are beckoning us?

Callings is a passionate look at the search for authenticity. In a style that is poetic, exuberant, and keenly insightful, Gregg Levoy breathes contemporary life into the ancient topic of callings. He presents an illuminating and ultimately practical inquiry into how we listen and respond to our calls, whether at work or at home, in our relationships or in service.

Callings is the first book to examine the many kinds of calls we receive, and the great variety of channels through which they come to us. A calling may be to do something (change careers, go back to school, leave or start a relationship, move to the country, have a child) or to be something (more creative, less judgmental, more loving). You may be called toward or away from something, called to change or renew your commitment to something, or called to return to a place or pursuit in an entirely new way. You may be called toward whatever you have dared and double-dared yourself to do for as long as you can remember.

Gregg Levoy draws on the hard-won wisdom and powerful stories of people who have followed their own calls, to show us the many ways to translate a calling into action. While honoring a calling's essential mystery, the book also guides readers to ask and answer the fundamental questions that arise from any calling: How do we recognize it? How do we distinguish the true calls from the siren song? How do we handle our resistance to a call? What happens when we say no? What happens when we say yes?

Whether your interest in callings is personal or professional, and whether the calls you hear are great trumpetings or the more common daily summonses to pay attention to your intuition, you will find this beautiful book an inspiration. It is a compassionate guide to discovering your own callings and negotiating the tight passages to personal power and authenticity. The lure of true calling is as powerful as it is exacting and Gregg Levoy's Callings: Finding and Following an Authentic Life plays upon this common yearning. Indeed, many recognize that there floats somewhere out there "... a call to each of us to materialize ourselves." And everyone can make his or her life "come true," attests Levoy, whose work has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Washington Post, and Psychology Today, if one can learn to read the signs that point one toward one's calling.

But how do we attune--clear a path through ingrained skepticism, negative conditioning, and fear so that we can hear the call? This is the question fundamental to spiritual questing. Receptivity is the first step in the art of sign reading, discerning the calls that point life choices toward meaningful action. Levoy's tools include dream interpretation, relating physical symptoms to their metaphysical correspondences (i.e. the recurring pain in the neck), and recognizing serendipitous events. Learn to discern, Levoy instructs, distinguishing, for example, between true inner guidance and the babble in our heads. And don't expect a big "call," flashing chariots and burning bushes. Rather, Levoy will help the reader cultivate a sensitivity to the still, small voice within.

Since it's inspiration through old truths and classic adages, the success of the message depends, naturally, on a kind of practical clarity. At times frustrating, Callings entices the reader toward self-transformation with New Age rhetoric and examples not always applicable to our more ordinary plights. Quoting the impassioned Annie Dillard may be swell ("The thing is to stalk your calling in a certain skilled and supple way, to locate the most tender and live spot and plug into the pulse"), but--in the long run--metaphor is metaphor and how-to, though less stately and exalted, is the practical precursor to action. Readers familiar with the literature of self-actualization will want to skim the lengthy introduction with its fervent and redundant references to our spiritual spin doctors--Sufi poets Kabir and Rumi; Joseph Campbell; Kierkegaard. But like many deft cartographers of the subterranean terrain, Levoy's mixed bag of metaphor, anecdote, and myth ultimately inspires and encourages the hungry soul to define itself in relation to the divine. For those who can afford to ask these "quality-of- life" questions, Callings offers heartfelt crazy wisdom. Above all else, it's sound nutrient in our spiritually hollow time.

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