©Andrew Bauman 2017 all rights reserved
As you are attempting to step into your vocation and meaningful life’s work you must consider the graph above, what I call the “Cycle of Calling”. The first step to knowing what you are meant to do is to: Know and Engage your Story of Suffering. For me, this meant engaging the orphan parts of my story, that my father left us when I was 8 years old. My mother’s heart was broken by my father’s betrayal and she could not be as emotionally available to me as I needed. I felt lost and alone. Feeling this way as I made my way into puberty, I sought out what would meet that unaddressed core need of connection and intimacy, pornography fit nearly perfectly. It artificially met my core need of loneliness and offered me a pacifier for my woundedness.
We begin to dive deeply into our stories and move towards #2 in the cycle of calling we will experience a high level of resistance and shame. This is very normal. Resistance can look like various forms of sabotage, self-contempt being one of the most common. For me and my story, my resistance was the shame of what I had done with my sexuality. How I had objectified and harmed women in my acting out, does this disqualify me from the healing work that I do? This very resistance is what makes me good at what I do. Because I have survived that darkness, and have the scars to tell the stories, I have the unique ability to speak powerfully into this work. It does not disqualify me but actually, makes me more competent and capable to fight against this system of oppression.
As we push beyond our resistance and shame we then can enter into phase #2 Energy & Life / Purpose & Calling. Here we begin to feel energy and life towards our work. Our work begins to hold great value, meaning and purpose as we are fighting for something larger than ourselves and something we deeply believe in. How this looks for me is in my practice as a therapist. I work nearly exclusively with men and the majority of men who are struggling with compulsive sexual behaviors. Part of what I am meant to do is to father the fatherless and help facilitate orphaned men becoming more whole. I am meant to help men find power, blessing, and authenticity within their own sexuality, I could not find that life-giving work without knowing the depths of my story.
After #2 comes #3 Vocational Fullness & Deep Vocational Rootedness, Money and a Lack of Burn Out. After traveling through this cycle you know who you are and what you are on this earth far. You are now a dangerous man or woman in the best sense of the word. You have power and not only know “who” you are but “why” you are. You are alive in your work and will not have to worry about burnout because of the rejuvenation and rebirth that happens with such regularity. Because of this life you exude, people/clients will be drawn to you. Your private practice will be full, your writings will be read and money will eventually come because people want a part of what you have.
Will you now take the time and create a personal “Cycle of Calling” for yourself? Will you fill in significant themes of your own story in #1? Will you name what your places of resistance are? What are the areas of shame that still hold you back from you stepping into your calling? If those places were healed what would you risk? Where would you go? Without fear what would you pursue? Then will you have the courage to name particulars of where you find your energy? Your life and purpose? Is there a particular people group that you are drawn to? An issue or cause of grave injustice that needs your unique voice? And finally, will you have the strength to name what that courage will actually look like in the form of a vocation? If you do this exercise please forward me your results. I would love to see what you discover about yourself and who you are meant to be.