As a teacher and student, I like to start my explorations into a topic by defining my terms and looking into the origins of key words. I won a season of Lincoln-Douglas debates on my defining “revolution” to exclude the American Revolution, thereby not allowing my opponents to justifying their arguments using that war. Mean? Yes, but high-school forensics is a take-no-prisoners sport (of a type I no longer engage in).
I do not fully intellectually grasp a concept until I have contemplated the language we use to communicate that concept to one another. Writers use words with assumed meanings and connotations, and subtly manipulate words to sway their readers. Discerning readers can deconstruct a writer’s usage of certain words to gain insight into the writer’s biases. As an exhibits editor, I have to bring this word play to conscious awareness and examine the impact of individual words on our museum visitors’ comprehension. Add to that fun mix the fact that, in normal conversation, we tend to use words in idiosyncratic ways – each of us meaning slightly different things but using the exact same words – paving the way for so much misunderstanding and fighting.
So, it should come as no surprise that I would start my annual project for Reflections Mystery School by reviewing the key term of the paper: vocation.
According to the American Heritage Dictionary, vocation refers to a regular occupation, especially one for which a person is particularly suited or qualified; or an inclination, as if in response to a summons, to undertake a certain kind of work, especially a religious career; a calling.
Of course, I just had to go over to the thesaurus and take a peek. In addition to duty, lifework, and mission, I could say that my vocation is my bag, baby. It’s what I do. It’s my thing. Of course these are all informal or slang uses. But if you say it with an Austin Powers emphasis…. OK, maybe it’s only funny in my head.
Now, what I find more interesting is that one of the antonyms for vocation was fun. Hmmm…not fun. I can definitely understand that. What brought me to begin walking my path consciously was clinical depression and a crisis of faith. Life itself tasted like ashes in my mouth, and I felt completely alienated from the divine connection I had previously experienced. After a year of secular therapy, I had the clarity to decide to start working on myself spiritually. While I have grown and learned so much, and had periods of great joy, and much humor with those with whom I travel, the work itself – not so much fun. But I look forward to the work. I am finding more joy in embracing the wonder in freshly exploring new realms and in wielding my skills and expressing my talents. So, that is fun.
From Etymology Online, the word vocation used to describe a “spiritual calling” comes from the Latin vocationem (literally “a calling”) from vocare “to call.” Call has its roots in Old Norse kalla “to cry loudly” and the Proto-Indo-European base *gal- “to call, scream, shriek.”
Which leads me to wonder who is calling whom? Is the Divine (in their myriad manifestations) calling to me and hoping that I will hear and act? Am I am wandering in the wilderness shrieking out in the hope that the Divine will respond? Are we calling to each other in our own languages, reaching out to embrace each other in life and love? These are questions I will sit with for a while without jumping to conclusions.
So, taking bits and pieces from many of Jeff’s entries and with apologies if I mess this up…
The “v” may indicate a vibrating energetic boundary, which is grounded by the long “o”. The hard “k” sound acts as a container that is expanded and extended by the long “a”. The encompassing, living energy of God Herself (in the sense that Thorn uses the term to refer to “The Limitless”), moves down the Tree toward our physical realm, while the container that is the human heart and spirit reaches upward to the other realms and is expanded in the process.
The “sh” sound where they meet is a border, a moment in time and space where there is strong turbulence before the energy is released into thought by the short “u” toward the noble goal of “n”. Actively seeking conscious connection with God Herself, whether I am making or answering the call, brings me to my personal edge of the Abyss. When I make that leap of faith beyond my rational human senses, the energy of manifesting is released toward the noble goal of living my life fully.
Wow! I wasn’t sure where I was going to end up with this entry when I started. I think I need a cigarette…oh wait, I don’t smoke.