Your calling is where joy and terror meets

Kovalam, India February 2007I’ve just finished reading Sharif Abdullah’s execellent Creating a World That Works for All, and this paragraph in particular called out at me:

Someone said that our “calling” is the place where our deepest joy intersects with the deepest needs of the Earth. I add a further definition: our calling is the place where our inner joy and our inner terror meet. Our calling is our place of both joy and sacrifice. Waht risk are the Earth and her families asking of us? I love speaking to groups, but I also experience a moment of terror every time I do so. WHere is your terror? There lies the direction of your compassion. (p167)

Kovalam, India February 2007Two things about it. First, it reminded me, once again, that life is not supposed to be without terror and other negative emotions all the time. The goal is not for pain to go away, but to let it be, without resisting, so it can flow through us like a river and make room for the next experience. I seem to keep forgetting this simple point.

Second, I recognize this exact feeling from my coaching sessions. I love doing coaching. I love getting so close to another person, I love that space that we create together. But I also feel that moment of terror. Every time. Which is odd, because people tell me I seem so natural, not afraid of anything that might come up. But the truth is that for a moment, I’m terrified. I just try to let that be and not react on it.

What about you? Where does joy and terror meet for you?