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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

A Different Take on the Energy Conversation

There is a much needed conversation in this country right now about energy.  The headlines tend to be about sources of alternative energy; dependence on foreign oil; drilling in the Arctic; and whether or not the president has enough votes to pass an energy bill. All of these are important topics.  But just for a moment, I would like to steer the energy conversation a different direction.

For a moment, forget oil, solar, wind, and nuclear.  Consider another energy source. It is free.  It is renewable.  Accessing it does not depend on the politics of a Middle Eastern country.  It will not foul the ocean.   It also will not power your cars or light your house.  But when tapped into, it creates enough force to change the world.

It is hard to know what to call this power source, but when we drill down into it, energy is created. I am talking here about that place within us where the things we care deeply about reside—our values, passion, and what Merton called True Self. The best name I have come up with for this is “call.”

When we hear a call, energy is released.  This energy translates into risk taking, perseverance, courage and creativity.  We are able to do things we previously didn’t think we could do. The world has been made better in big and small ways by people fueled by call energy.

As the owner of a chain of bike stores, Tom Henry, is already passionate about alternative energy.  But he also knows about call.  I once asked him why he spends time and company resources on helping his employees listen for their call.  He said, “As a leader in this company, part of my job is to find places of untapped energy.  I know that when people are working from a sense of call, there is energy there.”

A few other things about Call Energy:

1. Call Energy is Renewable Energy:  It isn’t that we don’t get tired or discouraged when we are following a call.  We do, because call is usually hard work.  But the energy returns.  Spending our time and energy on things that don’t matter to us usually leads (eventually) to burnout.  When we expend energy on something that we feel passionate about, the energy returns. I believe this is because there is a larger energy source feeding our call energy. To use an image from the Judeo-Christian tradition, we become like a tree by a river, continually fed by that larger river source.

2. Call Energy is Energy that Also Benefits Others: When we feel called to do something, it is very personal—it is about the things that matter to us.  But it is not just about us.  The Giver of this energy source (see above) cares about the common good, and so call energy is given for the benefit of others as well.

3. Accessing Call Energy is Easy; Figuring Out How to Use it is Hard:  What do you care about?  What makes you angry or joyful?  What breaks your heart?  Most of us have a sense of what is important to us.  Figuring out how to translate that into our lives is the tricky part.  It can be done, but not without compromise and community.  Compromise because following call always involves leaving something behind.  Community because without relationship, we cannot consistently access our call energy.

Are you tapping into your call energy?

Doug Wysockey-Johnson
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  1. Terrific blog (posted to my Facebook profile) except for the link to Ezekiel 47:11, which is not very inspiring. I thought sure you were referring to Psalm 1:3...

  2. Thanks for that addition--Psalm 1:3 is way better for what I was trying to say.

  3. I needed this today. I'm not a regular to this site; I was invited here by a friend. I am particularly tired today and questioning my recent decisions and actions. I'm uplifted by the comment that call energy is renewable energy. I know my energy will come back. Thank you.


  4. The speaker's theme at the first "motivational" presentation I attended during the energy crisis of the mid-70s was that the energy crisis that matters is in you. Thanks for the reminder--and the antidote. I don't care what the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics says ;-)
    Gary Mintchell

  5. This was a wonderful posting and concept - the energy of our "call". My father sent me this and I'm just taking the time to read it. He sent it to me because I am dedicating all of my resources to teaching The Passion Test. It's an amazingly simple process that helps people connect to their call through their passions. I'm also starting to take this process to businesses, to help employees connect to their call, and see the linkage with their company's call. This posting describes the importance of connecting to your passions so well. Thank you.