Lumunos helps you Reflect ~ Connect ~ Discover your gifts to find your call in life, through these stories and observations here, through our website, and through retreats. Help us help you continue to discover your calling in life. Donations are accepted through our Website.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

How Will You Spend Your Extra Hour?

Yesterday I bought my first copy of O Magazine.  For those of you uncultured souls, the “O” stands for Oprah.  A number of people in the Lumunos network had tipped me off to the November issue.  I am guessing not so much for the cranberry recipes or the “savvy tips on cultivating your own signature style.”  They thought I would be interested in the primary theme, printed in big letters on the cover:  What’s Your True Calling?”  They were right.  

Later that day I somewhat nervously pulled out my O Magazine on the bus ride home. I would like to say that I am secure enough in who I am that I didn’t care if anyone caught me, but that wouldn’t be entirely true.  (Plus, I discovered that even if you do a good job of hiding the cover, all those perfume ads give off overwhelming scents.  I may have been hypersensitive, but it seemed like people three rows away were lifting their heads and smelling the air and looking around.)

The articles on call were pretty good.  As always, some better than others.  There were a number of sidebar stories of women who had made courageous, life giving decisions to change their career.  There was a lot to like in the issue, not the least of which was focusing on calling itself.  We have come a long way from the days when the word call was used only for men and women considering work in the institutional church.  

But here is where I found the biggest difference in Oprah’s interpretation of calling and that of Lumunos.  Call is about work, but it is also about the rest of life. This is one of the reason’s we changed our name from Faith at Work to Lumunos.  We listen for call as it applies to our vocation, but also our relationships, volunteer time, and self care.  Listening for call is about all those things, and it is about how we put them together. Call is about how we juggle, balance and weigh out our various commitments and priorities for the good of God’s world.  

In a totally different section of the magazine, there was a one pager called “What Should I do with My Extra Hour?  (On November 7, we all get an extra hour due to the ending of Daylight Savings time.)  The article listed various options for how you might spend that extra hour, gathered into categories like “Doing Something Charitable”, “Exercising Your Body or Brain”, “Work Around the House”, etc. etc.

Here is my suggestion for the editorial board of O Magazine:  Shift that article into the “Call” Section of the magazine.  Because these kind of decisions can also be call decisions.  Balancing time spent on behalf of others with time spent on ourselves is one of the biggest areas of call we face.  Let’s draw on our deepest wisdom and the wisdom of our faith traditions to decide how we spend our time, even an extra hour in November.

Until I read the article, I had not thought how I would spend my extra hour.  I am going to ponder that question now.  More than likely, I will still use it for an extra hour of sleep.  But if that is true, it the decision will be coming from a deeper place in me.

Call is about all of life.

Doug Wysockey-Johnson
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Thursday, October 14, 2010

Celebrating the Harvest

There is a 700 pound pumpkin next door.  My elderly neighbor Mr. Young is not young.  But every year, he takes joy in growing enormous pumpkins from small seedlings.  The fragile seedlings begin in little trays in his basement.  After the last frost of the spring they are planted, and then tended by him with loving care all summer and fall. Last weekend a friend came over with a backhoe to move the massive pumpkin from his back yard to the front.  Next weekend his grandchildren will come over and carve it in time for Halloween, removing buckets and buckets of pumpkin guts.  Mr. Young is not one to brag.  But he is clearly  proud of this year’s whopper.

All around us are signs of an abundant harvest. At the farm where my wife works, they had their last CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) pick up last night. Happy customers left with bulging baskets of food and flowers. In Vermont anyway, it has been a good year for all the local CSA’s.  The earth has been particularly generous this season.

In the midst of this abundant harvest, it is worth reflecting back to the planting season.  All this abundance began last spring in the form of seedlings and the back breaking work of planting and tending gardens and pumpkin patches.

Now apply the metaphor to your work and life.  Those of you with particularly good memories will remember last week’s blog about the award winning napkin drawer Jim Dawkins.  I sent Jim a copy of the blog, informing him that he had just received his 15 minutes of fame.

Jim wrote back with a reflection on his work as a professor at Florida State University.  I thought his comments were worth sharing with you in this harvest season.  It is the least I could do for someone who has blown their 15 minutes of fame on my blog.  Jim writes:

The return on my investment (i.e. the success of my own hand) is confirmed when someone else makes something equally or more creative with that particular seed that was planted, either an idea or a full-blown rendering.

Since we're entering the Thanksgiving season it hit me that planting the seed should be celebrated just as much as reaping the fruit during harvest. I can't think of anything specific, but I know there are both simple and elaborate planting festivals or ceremonies all over the world.  I guess where I'm going with this is that my 'simple' act of drawing (and teaching) will hopefully inspire others (my students) to embrace the joy of drawing, of improving an unproven but innate skill, of making something better out of something good. Plant it and enjoy watching it grow. Nothing like "growing" design students at FSU or young professionals in the architecture and interior design business - what a reward!

The earth yields its abundance when we faithfully plant small seeds and tend them.  The university yields creative and caring students when people like Jim Dawkins teach and tend them.

In her book Call to the Soul, Marjory Bankson defines call this way:

Call has to do with discovering our particular field of action or the part of God’s realm that is ours to tend at any given time.”

What seeds are you planting these days?  What garden are you tending?

Doug Wysockey-Johnson
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Thursday, October 7, 2010

When Inspiration Comes (Grab a Napkin)

This is what Jim Dawkins does.  The results are often spectacular, as seen on this video, the picture to the left, and the awards Jim has won.  (Full and Proud Disclosure:  I know Jim through his participation in a Lumunos group.)

There is actually quite a bit out there on napkin drawings these days.  Southwest Airlines  was dreamed up on a napkin.  UPS uses the technique in their ads.  Books have been written about the art.

One of the core principles of napkin drawing is that you use whatever materials are at hand when inspiration strikes.

(Lengthy aside on "when inspiration strikes:"   Inspiration seems to strike many different times and ways:  through conversation, dialogue and the exchange of ideas; while staring at the ocean or mountains; while sitting in traffic; in the shower.  But where does inspiration come from?  I can’t prove this, but I tend to agree with the etymology of the word:  in-spirit-ion.  Inspiration is an inflow of spirit, a Spirit which is Holy, a Spirit which helps us to create. This is consistent with the sacred texts of Judaism and Christianity, where the Spirit brings creativity to artists.)

Sometimes it is best to wait to gather all the proper materials and find the ideal work environment before acting on inspiration or call.  Sometimes it makes sense to find the perfect teammates, the perfect setting, and the perfect time.

But other times the best thing to do is to grab whatever and whoever is available when the call comes.  Beautiful things can come from a coffee stained napkin.

PS  I tried writing this blog yesterday in “perfect” conditions:  at my desk, in front of my computer, reference books and internet within easy reach. Nothing came.  As it turns out, I am scribbling these words out on a piece of scrap paper in my dirty car in the parking lot of Barnes and Noble.  The irony is not lost on me.

Doug Wysockey-Johnson
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