Parker Palmer ("Let Your Life Speak")
FROM CHAPTER ONE
Vocation does not come from willfulness. It comes from listening. I must listen to my life and try to understand what it is truly about--quite apart from what I would like it to be about--or my life will never represent anything real in the world, no matter how earnest my intentions.
That insight is hidden in the word vocation itself, which is rooted in the Latin for "voice." Vocation does not mean a goal that I pursue. It means a calling that I hear. Before I can tell my life what to do with it, I must listen to my life telling me who I am. I must listen for the truths and values at the heart of my own identity, not the standards by which I must live--but the standards by which I cannot help but live if I am living my own life.
The soul is like a wild animal--tough, resilient, savvy, self-sufficient, and yet exceedingly shy. If we want to see a wild animal, the last thing we should do is to go crashing through the woods, shouting for the creature to come out. But if we are willing to walk quietly into the woods and sit quietly for an hour or two at the base of a tree, the creature we are waiting for may well emerge, and out of the corner of an eye we will catch a glimpse of the precious wildness we seek. (pp. 4-5, 7-8)
This Week on the Mystic Cave podcast: How the Light Gets In: Short Stories (with links)