Where Are You?

January 30, 2013

I am called to serve people who feel trapped in their lives, stuck in a rut dug by masses following someone else’s dreams instead of their own, shoving themselves into boxes (or cubicles) designed for someone else. Someone else who is very different from them, someone else who is very much “like everybody else,” someone else whose greatest aspiration is to fit in. My heart is drawn to these people. My mind is tuned to their struggles.

Like the sonar technician in the submarine listening carefully to hear clues in the echoed pings, I listen for hints in people’s conversations that they’re plodding along unfulfilled. That their talents are wasted, undeveloped, maybe even undiscovered.

Some of these people are on the fringe, not quite fitting in with the groups around them. Others are in the group, playing along, but not feeling connected. They’re just going through the motions. The lost on the fringe and lost in the crowd people are pretty similar, actually. Whether they’re by themselves or surrounded by people, because they aren’t engaged with people like them, people who really “get” them and encourage them and celebrate them, they’re pretty lonely.

They feel like they’re not getting enough air. They feel like they’re just wasting time. They feel like there is meaning and purpose to life, but they’re not connected with it.

What I understand is that the isolation, the suffocation, the lack of purpose, and the lack of engagement are all part of the same problem. They happen because people aren’t using their core strengths. They’re not developing and expressing their talents. They’re not engaged in communities of people who recognize and respond to their strengths and talents the way improvisational musicians or actors or dancers do, with intuition and ease and enjoyment.

They aren’t connected to the core of who they are, so their core self isn’t thriving. It’s withering. It’s not getting the nourishment, water, and sunlight it needs. It’s under too much pressure, left unprotected in the freezing cold or blistering heat, dried up or flooded, blocked from the light.

That’s what happens to your core self while you’re stuck in a rut or trapped in a box. It slowly atrophies, but it pitches a whopper of a fit as it does. I hear the longing of a closed off core self in wistful “what ifs” and “could have beens.” I hear it in the resigned despair of a person who can’t figure out what’s missing or what needs to change. And I hear it as the frustration building in someone who is craving escape.

But I can only feel the pleas of the core self when I can hear or read someone’s words, or hear their tone of voice, or read their nonverbal cues. My sonar is close range. I have to have some kind of interaction with a person to be able to feel their core self reaching out for help.

I’m on a mission to liberate people stuck in careers and lives that drain the joy out of them. But I’m not sure how to find them. The ones I’ve met don’t have common careers or backgrounds or life experiences, other than not really feeling alive on the inside. They’re in all kinds of work, all kinds of life stages, and all kinds of places.

I know you’re out there. I know you’re desperate to find the thing that will make a difference, the missing piece that will bring excitement and purpose and joy to your life. I’d love to help you. I know what we can do to figure this out.

But I don’t know where you are.

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