Finding your calling is about finding what calls to you deep in your heart- what ignites you and supports you.
A call drives you to pursue something- whether it be your passion, your drive to find meaning in your life or to be able to contribute to others. Feeling a compulsion to follow something often brings up all of your fears.
Callings are really about questions...should I stay in this current job or career or change it somehow? If you didn't get the job you wanted does it mean it wasn't meant for you? If you don't pass your state massage exam the first time, does that mean it isn't for you? Following a call takes courage and persistence - Courage to face whatever is on the path and the persistence to follow through and find a way no matter what the obstacles are.
And obstacles there will be on the path to a career in massage... - Can you find the right school? - Will you be able to find a job? - Will you be able to start and run a business? - Where will you find clients? - Will you have enough money to live on while pursuing the call
One of the main reasons people find themselves pursuing a career in massage is following their Call to Help. Some may be called to the massage profession thinking they want to work in a field that is more meaningful - helping others. While helping others may feel like a noble cause, there is also another side of helping - we help thinking we are doing something good when in reality the person being helped already has what they need to solve their problem inside of them. We take it away when we try to give them our advice or take their pain away. We also often help others because it is what we need the most for ourselves. We think that by giving to others what we need, they will do the same for us. What massage does no matter what the technique or method is allows people to feel themselves. What often is an effort to get others to feel is really about learning to feel ourselves.
Exploring the needs underneath the call to become a massage therapist can really move you ahead in building a practice even though you may not have even gone to massage school yet. You may also discover other ways of getting your needs met without having to become a massage therapist.
One of the things to ask yourself is "What is the purpose for doing or becoming a massage therapist"? Is it the money? The freedom? While those may be your first answers - take a deeper look. For what purpose do you want to have a successful massage practice or job? Some of your answers might look like this: *To prove I am worth it. *To feel love. *To be needed. Most people live their entire lives being driven by an unconscious, unacknowledged need for something. Freedom and power come from knowing what it is that you do want and learning to keep asking for it until you receive it or come to know that you are worth it, you are loved, you are needed no matter what anyone else thinks or does. Becoming aware of these needs is an ongoing process - one I wish I had started in massage school but the need to build a practice and make money is real also and it pulls one another way - to the way of constantly doing.
A call to anything is really a call to ourselves - a call to really look deep within and discover all of ourselves. Gregg Levoy in his book Callings: Finding and Following an Authentic Life says:
"in order to be authentic we're going to have to give up something dear: a job, a house, a relationship, a belief, a lifestyle to which we are accustomed, the prestige of being a big a big fish in any size pond, security, money, precious time, anger at somebody or just the plain pleasures of cynicism".
Following a call is really about following what makes us feel alive. Even if the call didn't work out it doesn't mean it wasn't the right thing to do. The trouble with trying to figure out which call to follow is that you often don't know which one is best until you start taking steps and doing something to follow the call. One of the first steps is to just start investigating and researching the massage profession: - How much money can you make? - What kinds of massage are there? - What kinds of places can you work at? - What is involved in setting up your own business? - How does it feel when you think about massage, talk about massage, get massage, give massage and run a business too. Taking the steps to find out the answers to the questions that are pushing you toward a massage therapy career and then taking the time to discover more about yourself and what you want (if you don't already know) will help you make an informed decision about following your call.
The last question to ask yourself is will doing massage help me to feel more alive? Keep asking and see what unfolds.
For more on finding your calling:
Before you tell your life what you intend to do with it, listen for what it intends to do with you. Before you tell your life what truths and values you have decided to live up to, let your life tell you what truths you embody, what values you represent.
Vocation does not mean a goal I pursue. It means a calling that I hear.
Parker Palmer, Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation .
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