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Posts tagged ‘appetite’

What is calling you in 2013?

Japanese Garden and Imnaha collage 003 - Copy

“Hair Raising” ~ Mixed Media Collage by Betsy Lewis

Do you know what you are called to do or be? Have you always known? Have you had several different callings or just one? Do you have a calling on the “back burner”?

Some people seem to know their calling at birth. They make a beeline straight toward their destiny. I ran across an old friend like this on Facebook. I remember him from high school as being a super smart, likeable and devout young man from a military family. I see that he became a chaplain at West Point!

If you’d met me in high school, there would have been no way to divine my future path.

Japanese Garden and Imnaha collage 021Most of my life I have zigged and zagged this way and that, distracted by the many shiny things of the world. I have let my ego and other people’s visions for me lead the way. They say there is a consistent unifying thread that runs through each of our lives. If that is true, mine must be in a tangled mess by now.

Part of it is that I have an inability to “settle” on anything, which isn’t all bad. I am always open to new adventures and creative projects. On the downside, I have lacked boundaries. My tendency has been to merge with others and not stay in an awareness of  important parts of myself — parts which might have helped me discover my calling earlier in the game.

But always I have been asking, “What are you here for? What do you want to do with your life, Betsy? Who are you really? Why is this so hard??!!”

Although I am traveling light, I do have a few books with me all the time. One of them is by Gregg Levoy and is titled, “Callings: Living the Authentic Life.”  My copy is dog-eared and heavily underlined. He says, “You just need to figure out what decisions will assure that when your life flashes before your eyes, it will hold your interest.”

Chinese Gardens Portland Jan. 2013 037Now on my walkabout, with time and solitude to be with myself, I have discovered my calling. It happened just the other day, and it was if my vision cleared suddenly — less of an “Ah Ha”, and more of an “Oh yeah . . . that makes sense.”

So what is my calling?

In one way or another, I am called to help people find their “voice” and be “seen and heard”– by the whole wide world, or by their community, or by their family or maybe just by themselves for themselves.

By “voice” I mean the expression of a person’s true inner self, through speech, action, vocation, avocation or any of the art forms. By “seen and heard” I mean to be acknowledged, validated and valued. To use your voice and be seen and heard is deeply and powerfully healing, and the world needs more of this. Many women, children and 99% of the world’s people don’t have a voice and are not seen and heard.

My calling has been a shadowy shapeless force informing and shaping my life – the elusive “thread” that has led me from social work to (of all things) marketing — as the most expedient medium for carrying out my calling.

This is not pure selfless altruism. I am very aware that this calling is also a way of validating my own voice and meeting my own yearning to be seen and heard.

Answers come in their own sweet time – sometimes late in life. But thankfully they do come, and I have my walkabout to thank for this one.

Taking a bite out of the world

I launched my walkabout on a full moon — and a blue one to boot. It was an unplanned but auspicious beginning to my journey.

Blue Moon

The Blue Moon from the Oregon Coast

Three quarters of my possessions have been sold or donated. What was left is stored in a 10’ X 10’ storage unit, or is traveling with me.

The storage facility has a gate, a code, locks and overseers. Part of me has been left behind, but it is safe and secure, and this is exhilarating!

I take a surprisingly large amount of stuff in the car with me. Not surprisingly, my trunk is completely packed with art supplies. The meanings to what I gave away, what I stored and what I find essential to keep close are not fully clear.

I head to the Oregon Coast – literally needing a breath of fresh air. The Rogue Valley has been stifling hot and smoky for days. The weeks of planning, packing, cleaning; and the emotional upheaval of leave-taking has left me feeling drained.  I need solitude, the soothing rhythm of the waves and fresh sea air.

The night before I leave I visit a friend who is training to be an Enneagram instructor. The Enneagram is system that categorizes people into nine basic personality types. My type is a “9”, also called “The Peacemaker.” “9”s typically lose touch with their own needs, live outside their bodies and merge with others to create relationships where everyone else is content and supported. I know this to be true for me. Nothing makes me happier than to have everybody else happy!

A “9”s own needs can be deeply buried and may need some serious and frightening excavating to identify. This has already started to evolve into becoming a part of my walkabout and my friend suggests I develop what the Enneagram calls “Appetite” — and this is not about food.

I ponder this word on my drive to The Coast. Being a visual person, I image myself looking at a round globe of possibilities and then taking a big bite out of it! After I arrived, I created this collage featuring a blue moon fishy Pac-Man like creature taking a bite out of the world.

Collage by Betsy Lewis


Frankly, to have a primitive Pac-Man appear (with such large teeth) was a little disturbing to my most mild-mannered Betsy!

Appetite, however, is a pretty primal word bringing up things like desire, craving, lust, gluttony, hunger, and greed — all things likely to fire-up fear and aversion in the heart and soul of a “9”.

On the flip side — it is also a word evoking longing, passion and yearning – all of which I am in search of on this walkabout.

So can I allow myself to have an appetite? And for what  do I have an appetite?

I have no one to please but myself, there is no right or wrong, no one for me to anxiously monitor for contentment.

The world is serving itself up like a meal and it is time for me to bite.

You can read more about the Enneagram here:

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