Are you running out of time?
Your calling is calling
You came here with an assignment to fulfil and with each minute that passes, you are either a step closer to accomplishing it or further in the fog that obscures your calling from you. Yet each ‘tick-tock’ from your clock can be a reminder and a wakeup call. According to the doomsday clock, we are just a few minutes from our demise — the closer to midnight, the less time left in the proverbial hourglass of life on Earth.
Although the doomsday clock has quite an ominous title, it is a symbolic. The clock, created in 1947, is managed by scientists at University of Chicago based on world events. Initially, it measured threat of nuclear war but now measures the threat of global warming and other potential ‘end of the world’ catastrophes. We had the greatest time of peace in the years after the falling of the Iron Curtain and the Berlin Wall as well as the agreement of nuclear disarmament in 1991. Yet, inch by inch, that peace has ebbed away and we are ever closer to the proverbial ‘end of the world’, especially from the far-reaching impact of climate change.
As the time creeps, unhaltingly forward, it’s easy to get caught up in the fear. Instead it can be reminder to follow the path of love and fulfil on your calling.
Most likely, on the path to awaken and fulfil your calling, you’ll face many dark nights of the soul as well as, internal resistance and external obstacles. For example, the pearl is created by an oyster in response to an irritation created from grains of sand trapped inside it’s shell. As time passes, the oyster creates a secretion to cover the sharp edges of the sand. Layer by layer, the secretions grow and ultimately the resultant pearls are harvested as a valuable commodity. Challenges in your life can be seen as a gift to reawaken your calling and give you the grit needed to transform your pain into your path.
Searching for meaning
In his book, Man’s Search for Meaning, Victor Frankl shares his struggle to find meaning and fulfilment in his days as a captive during the Holocaust. Imagine him and millions of others being in a camp, constantly parched, starved, exhausted, lacking in warmth and compassion from their environment and captors. Psychologically, emotionally, spiritually and physically drained. A place of unimaginable horror. The ultimate dystopian doomsday scenario for many of us. One that can potentially bring us to our knees and keep us languishing in despair. At any moment, his life could have been taken away; he had very little freedom to express his purpose and it was a desolate situation to find meaning. Yet he persevered.
Unlike many of those in his cohort, Frankl kept finding ways to keep finding meaning in the desolate circumstance. He would have long conversations, in his mind, with his beautiful wife, not knowing what had become of her. He cherished the seemingly insignificant fortunes: a nicer guard on shift, the warmth of a bowl of water to be his soup, a small opportunity to keep his dignity. Through sheer determination, he survived the horrific experience by knowing he had to share both his story and the story of his fellow innates with the world.
The experience furthered his own prior professional insights, that emphasized his own personal and professional quest: finding meaning is our highest calling. After his release, he said, “life is never made unbearable by circumstances, but only by lack of meaning and purpose.” He chose to find meaning of his suffering and went on to share this message as an author and psychotherapist. That grit became the enduring message of his life, his calling.
The short answer is ‘yes’, but it is what you’ll do with the time you have left that is more important. What will you do with your remaining time?
You don’t need to live in a dystopic pit of despair to find a way to transcend your current experience. While it might be easy to fall into the fear of impending doomsday and the pervasive fears of the world through media, you have the ability to transcend these fears. In the wise words of Tony Robbins, ‘stay in your head, you’re dead.’ Right now, you have this moment to find peace of mind and act with clarity.
Over to you
Draw to circles, one inside the other.
In the first circle, the larger of the two, list your specific worries, fears about everything from your health, your children and family, your career, finding my calling to the threat of nuclear war and the effects of climate change. Label the it ‘My Circle of Concern’.
In the smaller circle, list the items in your circle of concern that you do have control over. It becomes obvious which items you have direct control, indirect control and no control over. You might not be able to stop nuclear war, but perhaps you can shift your own energy supplier to a sustainable energy supplier, like wind power.
To take this further, list all the proactive efforts you can take to mitigate or change the outcome of the first circle. For example, under your health, you could list walk 3 times a week or eat more vegetables or under climate change you could choose to support green energy or take your own bags to the grocery store. Once you accomplish these, challenge yourself to continually expand your circle of influence.
Once you’ve finished, consider the following questions:
Which circle are you putting a greater focus on? Why?
Are you trying to control the uncontrollable?
Can you be more proactive on things in your influence?
Can let go of things in you circle of concern or do you want to act?
What is the grit of your life trying to awaken in you?
Each moment brings a choice: taking a step towards your calling or avoiding it. Each day brings you closer to the end your life. Each ‘tick-tock’ the doomsday clock is ticking down to our own annihilation as a species. Each moment, it is even more crucial it is that you fulfil your assignment, because if we all do, will we even face the doomsday we so fear anyway? What will you choose?