The pandemic has set the internet abuzz with people of all ages posting videos of themselves singing, dancing, cooking, gardening, playing a musical instrument, reciting poetry.
You can sense the excitement and joy as they reconnect with a part of themselves tucked away in some unvisited, neglected corner in their beings. It is almost like a sense of coming home.
For others it is the thrill of a new discovery about their own self, about what they can do and had never done earlier. When the accessibility to the world outside shrinks, the attention goes inwards, uncapping the resource within ourselves; and uncovering our inner calling.
Bina is thrilled.
At fifty-two she had never imagined becoming an entrepreneur. A homemaker, she was appreciated for her culinary skills but once the children flew the nest, the kitchen was visited only as a necessary duty. There was no real engagement, joy or sense of fulfilment in preparing the meals.
It was only during the lockdown that some neighbours turned to her for ‘meal help’ and so began a completely new chapter in her life. She found a fresh purpose in waking up every morning and checking out the orders and preparing accordingly.
“I have added a lot of new dishes to my menu. I realized that people need a choice and I taught myself. All the experimenting was both challenging and a lot of fun. Now I am confident.”
She connected with an inner calling. Her sense of self worth has taken a magnum leap.
Rakesh has been a successful analyst in a company.
With the new norm of ‘work from home’ and the travel restrictions, he found he had time on his hands and decided to learn the skill of making bonsais(small ornamental trees that mimic the shape of big trees).
“I now have a good collection of different varieties and looking after them gives me so much happiness. They practically talk to me. I can understand their needs and this is a wonderful feeling.”
His enthusiasm is infectious.The question is, does it need a pandemic to ‘uncork’ a life force lying dormant within us?
What is “normal” in life?
We all hope that this situation will pass and we will get back to what we recognize as normal.
What does this normal mean for many of us? Work and family pressures can be all consuming at a certain stage in our lives. And that normal carries on for a significant period. It often gives us little or no time to peek into that deep well of life force inside us.
Normal is also the ticking of the biological clock. I have spent time with senior citizens who wake up one morning, post retirement, having recouped from sleep deprivation and taken their dream list of vacations; and wondering what they are going to do with the rest of the day; and the rest of their life.
One of them said, “I need a purpose. I need help to fill this yawning vacuum that threatens to engulf me.” Mentally and physically healthy, the carpet seems to have been swept away from under their feet; and they find themselves standing on unfamiliar terrain, not knowing how to navigate it. Engagements outside the house deplete in number, children are engrossed in their lives and time hangs loose.
Years ago a person much older than me had advised, “Plan for your senior years when you are young. Life becomes much easier.”
One way to use this enforced period of lockdown could be to think about how to reinvent ourselves in our later innings, productively and happily. There is the serious business of planning finances, home and medical health plan. There is also the equally important aspect of mental health, that we need to focus on.
What will make us happy, content, feel worthwhile and help us look forward to a new day?
What is the Inner Calling?
There is obviously no generic one pill solution. Every individual needs to decide for himself or herself. Certain decisions are taken closer to the time depending on the circumstances; our geographical location, facilities available, our physical health.
The inner calling is not just about a profession. It could even be a great pastime. Many could be content relaxing, reading, traveling, socializing, watching movies, spending time with grandchildren. There are also those who might look/plan for something else.
We are all ‘work in progress’ whilst we are alive and we could translate this into adding a new skill, planning a project for later, rekindling a hobby. The list goes on.
Some interesting experiences of finding the inner calling
To share some more concrete experiences of those who found their inner calling –
Says a senior corporate executive, “I have a good job, but I also had a dream of making a short film. I did not see it as a money making venture but it was just something that excited me. One vacation I decided to attend a crash course in film making and that added so much quality to my life. I plan on making films for NGOs when I have more time.”
A very busy doctor who enjoyed his work but also loved painting, had not touched an easel in years. Till one day when he decided to join a workshop on charcoal sketching. It was the start of attending many such classes.
This expression on paper and canvas was almost therapeutic for him in his stressful work; and today, when he has reduced his hours at the clinic, he holds exhibitions of his creations. He had found his inner calling he never knew existed!
In her thirties, Sushma has a high profile career. For her the need to contribute to society has been an inner calling. “I want to set up an orphanage. It takes a lot of planning and getting the right people is certainly not easy. There are many legal aspects too. I’ve been working on all this slowly and hopefully it will become a reality.”
Another person says, “My work and passion have taken me to many unique destinations and I’ve had some of the most strange and exciting experiences. I would love to share these but my writing skills are blunt.
I’ve actually signed up for an online course and hope to put together my notes into a book at a later date. It will be an e-book.”
A lady who is sixty has discovered a love for cycling and is a member of a group of cycling enthusiasts, most of whom are much younger than her. She has found something that enthuses her and alongside has made new friends.
Another gentleman in his fifties has joined several book clubs spread across the globe and this keeps him very happily occupied.
Spiritual practice is yet another area that many find peace and meaning in, especially once there is more time to devote to it.
Isn’t it amazing how so many people have connected with their inner selves? How about tapping into the being within you? And, discovering a new aspect of you or reconnecting with a forgotten part of you; your inner calling!
Who knows, it could well turn out to be the journey of a lifetime!
Please do leave your comments at the bottom and do share with others if you like this article.