The Omega Institute is an organization that offers high quality programs for physical, mental and spiritual growth. Whether it’s yoga, health and wellness, creative pursuits or self-reflection, Omega offers powerful programs for even the most jaded workshops junkies.
While Omega is based in NY, it turns out they have an active program just outside my little town of Playa Guiones. And, while the week long retreats are out of reach of my anemic checkbook just now, it turns out they offer a free lecture once a week at the Yoga House, not far from my casita. Score!
The lecture recently was by Gregg Levoy, author of Callings: Finding and Following an Authentic Life. Coincidentally, I took a weekend workshop with Gregg back in the late 90s, when his book first came out. At the time, I was an outwardly successful yet inwardly struggling entrepreneur, trying to figure out the answer to “is this all there is?”
Through a weekend of self-inquiry, lecture and interactive conversations, Gregg helped us examine our lives and investigate our true callings. It was at this workshop that the idea of “writer” and “teacher” started to fit for me. I let those thoughts roll around for a good long while, not sure what to do with them in the midst of running a thriving business.
The other night Gregg said that callings sometimes, but not often, come in the form of a burning bush: a big, biblical-like experience that’s impossible to ignore. Picture a Monty Python hand-of-God-cartoon-pointing-down-at-you-from-Heaven kind of experience.
More often, however, the callings are subtle: a gentle affirmation; a pattern in your life; a random comment in a crowded room; a synchronistic meeting.
Since my calling workshop with Gregg nearly 15 years ago, I have had all kinds of continual affirmations—some rather understated and some pretty big and boisterous. My favorite occurred not long after my experience with Gregg.
Waiting in line for coffee at a Caribou Coffee one evening, still struggling with my present and future, the girl ahead of me turned around and looked into my eyes. “It’s going to be okay,” she said. “I see three things in you: Administrator, Teacher, Writer.”
Jolted, I looked down at my arm to see if it my skin had become transparent. How else could she know these things?
“Everyone has an assignment that they have to complete,” she continued. “We all have a gifting.”
“The world is like a big wall where all the pieces fit together just so. And when people aren’t doing what they were meant to do—aren’t following their gifting, then the wall starts to crumble. This what causes unhappiness in the world.”
I stood there staring at her; no words would come.
“Oh,” she said as she turned to leave, “and you really need to write that book.”
Affirmations have continued since that night many years ago; most have been less dramatic in nature. But they have been recognizable to me nonetheless.
For instance, listening to Gregg Levoy’s wisdom on callings during my first week in Costa Rica, here for the purpose of finally writing that book.