The Joy of Being: Designing Your Life

Awakening heart,
spirit and joy in worklife

The Joy of Being: Designing Your Life


 

Dates: April 17-19 and May 4, 2018

Divided No More

It’s not pain that is so hard on our souls, but rather the meaningless suffering that comes from feeing disconnected from a sense of purpose. Purpose is like a constellation: it can only be glimpsed in darkness, but it is always there as a homing device. Just as geese have an internal capacity to follow coastlines and the magnetic resonance of the Earth to tell them where to go, we need to follow the yearnings of our heart and soul to find our way. We need to stay faithful to the quest for what is original and authentic in ourselves. Ultimately we have nothing else with which to make or unmake the whole world

We all feel a tremendous push from the past and a compelling pull from the future to step fully into who we are meant to be. We need courage and time to reorder our priorities and consider this internal exploration as important as “work” and outward success. We need to practice the art of stripping away false notions about who we think we are so that we can deal with what is real. We need to release anything that is deadening to our spirits. We need to stand for something that is greater than ourselves.

From Dawna Markova’s
Wide Open: On Living with Passion and Purpose

 

“To be human is to become visible, while carrying what is hidden as a gift to others.
To remember the other world in this world is to live in your true inheritance.”

David Whyte, “What to Remember when Waking”, a poem in River Flow

                         

The Joy of Being: Designing Your Life

 

In Mary Oliver’s poem, The Summer Day, she asks the question, “What is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” This is an enormous and beautiful question; perhaps THE question of a lifetime, and the question that we address fully, to the depths of your being, in this program.

The Joy of Being is a Life Design conversation like no other.

This conversation provides you with the opportunity to discern your Core, your Essential Design — to remember what is hidden and real — and then, to shape a life which makes manifest and expresses that unique thread and purpose that is at the heart of who you are. 

Through this deep work, you 1) come to discern your own, individual, unique purpose in life, your “thread,” your Essential Selfhood; 2) come into communion with that Self and fall in love with that Self; and 3) design/author your own life in such a way that your purpose is realized on an ongoing basis. Your embodied purpose then becomes a homing device that allows your soul to “enter the gravity field of its own destiny,” as poet David Whyte says. Only in a relationship with silence and emptiness, two essentials, can the kind of depth of conversation occur. The Joy of Being, as a conversation, in tandem with a limited number of people, provides that environment. After engaging with it, you move into living “in your true inheritance,” that which is a Source of Joy, where “living” and “being” are one. 

 

There’s a thread that you follow. It goes among
things that change. But it doesn’t change.
People wonder about what you are pursuing.
You have to explain about the thread.
But it is hard for others to see.
While you hold it you can’t get lost.
Tragedies happen; people get hurt
or die; and you suffer and get old.
Nothing you do can stop time’s unfolding.
You don’t ever let go of the thread.

William Stafford

 

As we dive into being in profound connection with our foundation, we are able to move from that connection into “a life design conversation like no other” — shaping our outside commitments as an expression of our inner longings, our inner vows. This Life Design work forwards us in traveling into life from a future worth inhabiting, a self-authored, self-created future which is borne from our own authentic voice, and which we can befriend. 

A crossroads conversation for some, and a profoundly deep dive into courage, vitality, authenticity and passion for all, through engaging The Joy of Being conversation, we move through life, ongoingly truing ourselves to that core, so that life, and our choices in life, are given by our deep and non negotiable integrity/authenticity, allowing the natural joy (which comes from our connection with Purpose) to be available to us like a deep river running beneath the surface of our everyday life. 

“When facing the lion of our potential, we are called to enter a journey of individuation and discovery through which we can find our core. Not surprisingly, at the center, our core and the Source reveal their Oneness. The strength realized from touching on that Oneness is the strength of the lion manifest in the world.” 

Mark Nepo, Facing the Lion, Being the Lion

We are living in turbulent times: times which present pragmatic and spiritual challenges and opportunities, and demand of us to be at one with our core as the optimal pathway for navigating the rapids of these times and contributing to the future of our own lives, others’ lives, and the planet. Living a lifetime of meaning, of Belonging to the World in the particular way we were made to belong to the world, allows for a great deal of resolution to the existential or spiritual dilemma. Following The Joy of Being is an entire curriculum, if one chooses to engage with it, which allows for the ongoing deeper development of our ability to live from our core, as we explore critical distinctions: Faith, Fierceness, Fluidity; Vulnerability, Equanimity, Intuition; Surrender, Open Heartedness, Intentionality; Love, Faith, Integrity; Compassion, Patience, Simplicity, 

As Mark Nepo says, “The Culmination of one love, one dream, one self, is the anonymous seed of the next. This is very helpful when considering the many forms of self we inhabit over a lifetime. One self carries us to the extent to its usefulness and dies. We are then forced to put that once beloved skin to rest, to join it with the ground of spirit from which it came, so it may fertilize the next skin of self that will carry us into tomorrow. We live, embrace, and put to rest our dearest things, including how we see ourselves, so we can resurrect our lives anew.”

For many of us, the universe has been calling for us to shed some of our “dead” skin and resurrect our lives anew. For others of us, we know that it is time to be responsible for living a life and leaving our leadership legacy in a way that we can say, at the end of our lives, “I am complete. I am fulfilled. I have left the mark on the planet that I intended to leave. I have made a difference. I have lived a life worth living, a life that I can truly call my very own.” The fulfillment of living from that center, borne from co-partnering with Source, from an integration of your soul’s journey with your manifested expression in Life, gives rise to sustenance, nourishment, and the joy of being as you drink from and move with the current of Life. In Joy, you discern your compass, or your rudder: your own North Star. 

Through addressing a series of thoughtfully crafted questions, each building on the previous, and through distinguishing, coaching, being in dialogue, exploring, thinking, by yourself and with others, and inquiring by yourself and with others, you engage in discerning your personal legend and creating a structure for fulfilling it. Emanating from the key question, what is the “skin of self that will carry (you) into tomorrow?,” you create and stand in front of a blank canvas designing your life through your colors, your textures, allowing yourself to “inhabit (your) own individuality and to discover which life-form (or forms) best expresses it.” As John O’ Donohue, master poet and philosopher speaks,

Behind each face there is a unique world that no one else can see. This is the mystery of individuality. The shape of each soul is different. No one else feels your life as you do. No one else sees or hears the world as you do. The creation of the individual is a divine masterpiece. 

We were dreamed for a long time before we were born. Our souls, minds, and hearts fashioned in the divine imagination. Such care and attention went into the creation of each person. Given the uniqueness of each of us, it should not be surprising that one of the greatest challenges is to inhabit our own individuality and to discover which life-form best expresses it.

John O’Donohue

Thus, we come to some core questions:

What is my personal legend that wants to be fulfilled?

What is the fulfillment of my leadership in the world?

What is my calling? What gives me joy?

What is my place in the world?

What does the future want me for?

What is the destiny that gives me access to living my life, in the present, with creativity, with joy, with passion?

What is my “house of belonging” that gives me access to a past, a present, and a future that is uniquely mine to live, fulfill?

What is my life in service of?

What is my unique soul’s purpose?

What is the name of my soul?

What is my personal mission?

What is the thread that is with me wherever I go?

What domains in living do I now eliminate?

What domains do I bring into existence?

What are the current commitments of each domain?

When we are leading ourselves through our everyday life, from the bedrock of our core, given by our commitment to fulfill our legacy, whatever that may be, many of the considerations, the limitations, the worries and self concerns, vanish in the knowing that we are settled into being who we are intended to be and living our own life, not someone else’s, shaped by thought and self love, nourishment, and care. 

 

To what am I committed through this conversation?

 

I am committed that you have discerned ever more deeply the design of you such that you are released to live and manifest your unique power and your unique gifts and your unique flaws across all domains, in tandem with what Life and Spirit are calling for. I am committed that this conversation gives you a new access to leading your life in the present with a powerful sense of ease, effectiveness, and fulfillment. I am committed that the breakdowns in life occur for you as a revealing of new pathways for fulfilling your soul’s journey. And, I am committed that through this conversation you fall in love with a new sense of your self.

 

Who is it for?

 

This program is open to graduates of The Heart of Leadership who are attracted to engaging this conversation.

 

What are the particulars?

 

Hours of the course are Days 1, 2, 8:00 am-7:00 pm; Day 3 8:00 am-7:00 pm; Day 4 8:00 am-6:00 pm. 

The tuition is $1795.00. 

 

How do I register?

 

If you are interested in being in the next Joy of Being, please let us know by either emailing me or filling out the registration form, please contact us.

“The nature of the calling can change over time, taking a person down pathways never anticipated. The calling opens new territories within the heart; this in turn deepens the calling itself. The faces of the calling change; what at the beginning seemed simple and clear can become ambivalent and complex as it unfolds. To develop a heart that is generous and equal to this complexity is the continual challenge of growth. This is the creative tension that dwells at the heart of vocation. One is urged and coaxed beyond the pale regions into rich territories of risk and promise.”

 

From To Bless the Space Between Us, John O’Donohue

(If you are interested in the entire piece on Callings from O’Donohue’s book, it is included in the next two pages of this document. It speaks very much to the core of what is illuminated in this course.)

 

Callings
John O’ Donohue

Someone asked me recently: What is it that haunts you? I said, “I can tell you exactly; it is the sense of time slipping through my fingers like fine sand. And there is nothing I can do to slow it.”

One of the Psalms prays: “0 Lord, help me to see the shortness of life that I may gain wisdom of heart.” As we get older, time seems to speed up. The sense of transience haunts nearly every heart. You feel that you could suddenly arrive at your last day incredulous that that was it; it was all over.

From time immemorial it has been one of the deepest longings of the human heart to strain against the erosion of one’s life, to find a way of living and being that manages to find some stable ground within time, a place from where something eternal can be harvested from our disappearance. This is what all art strives for: the creation of a living permanence. It is what we are secretly doing when we become parents: endeavoring to maintain our continuity beyond our own ending. The harvesting of transience is what we also are attempting in choosing the form of life we live. When we arrive on earth, we are provided with no map for our life journey. Only gradually, as our identity forms and we get an inkling of who we are, do possibilities begin to emerge that call us. It is one of the weightiest decisions: to decide what to do with your life. The challenge is to find a way of life that will be in harmony with your gift and needs.

Behind each face there is a unique world that no one else can see. This is the mystery of individuality. The shape of each soul is different. No one else feels your life as you do. No one else sees or hears the world as you do. The creation of the individual is a divine masterpiece. We were dreamed for a long time before we were born. Our souls, minds, and hearts fashioned in the divine imagination. Such care and attention went into the creation of each person. Given the uniqueness of each of us, it should not be surprising that one of the greatest challenges is to inhabit our own individuality and to discover which life-form best expresses it.

The great law of life is: Be yourself. Though this axiom sounds simple, it is often a difficult task. To be yourself, you have to learn how to become who you were dreamed to be. Each person has a unique destiny. To be born is to be chosen. There is something special that each of us has to do in the world. If someone else could do it, they would be here and not us. One of the fascinating questions is to decipher what one’s destiny is. At the heart of each destiny is hidden a unique life calling. What is it you are called to do? In old-fashioned language: What is your vocation in life? For some people, the question of their calling is very difficult to decipher; for others, it follows from an early intuition and practically unfolds of its own accord. For some, it can be the singular and exclusive direction their life takes; for others, it can change and follow new directions.

Again, some people never seem to find what they are called to do; this can burden them with a continual restlessness and dissatisfaction. When you find what you are called to do, your life takes on a focus and purpose. You come into rhythm with the deeper longing of your heart.

The notion of vocation is interesting and rich. It suggests that there is a special form of life that one is called to; to follow this is the way to realize one’s destiny. Following one’s vocation ensures that what you choose to do finds itself in harmony with your inner nature. It also means that this is the optimum way to unfold and develop whatever gifts one has. A vocation does not clear before you a smooth path through difficulties. Having a sense of one’s vocation does not in any way relieve one of the travail and turbulence of being human. Indeed, being true to one’s vocation can often require a level of generosity and risk that will cause great suffering, for more often than not there is no surge of light to clarify direction; the light on offer is enough to guide only the next step.

The nature of the calling can change over time, taking a person down pathways never anticipated. The calling opens new territories within the heart; this in turn deepens the calling itself. The faces of the calling change; what at the beginning seemed simple and clear can become ambivalent and complex as it unfolds. To develop a heart that is generous and equal to this complexity is the continual challenge of growth. This is the creative tension that dwells at the heart of vocation. One is urged and coaxed beyond the pale regions into rich territories of risk and promise.

It is devastating to feel trapped in a form of life where you feel utterly misplaced and all your effort is labored; everything you do is done against the grain. You take no joy or pleasure in what you do, and your heart is haunted by alternative lives you will never have. When you feel like this it can make for a resentful and bitter life – a life you are neither seen nor understood for much of the time – and your gifts remain locked away, never to emerge. It is clearly time to change what you are doing, perhaps sacrifice the familiar in order to find your true calling. Such change can utterly transform your life. It is such a relief and joy to find the calling that expresses and incarnates your spirit. When you find that you are doing what you love, what you were brought here to do, it makes for a rich and contented life. You have come into rhythm with your longing. Your work and your action emerge naturally; you don’t have to force yourself. Your energy is immediate. Your passion is clear and creative. A new calling can open the door into the house of vision and belonging. You feel at home in life, heart and hearth as one.

 

I Will Not Die an Unlived Life

I will not die an unlived life.

I will not live in fear

of falling or catching fire.

I choose to inhabit my days,

to allow my living to open me,

to make me less afraid,

more accessible;

to loosen my heart

until it becomes a wing,

a torch, a promise.

I choose to risk my significance,

to live so that which came to me as seed

goes to the next as blossom,

and that which came to me as blossom,

goes on as fruit.

 

Dawna Markova