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Excerpted from How to Find the Work You Love by Laurence Boldt. Copyright 1996 by Laurence Boldt. Excerpted by permission of Penguin Putnam, Inc.  All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. HTML and web pages copyright by SpiritSite.com.

"Who am I? and What in the world am I doing here?"

Laurence Boldt,  
How to Find the Work You Love
, Part 1

The Work You Love Is Calling

Everyone has been made for some particular work and the desire for that work has been put in his {or her} heart. -Rumi

The quest for the work you love--it all begins with the two simple questions: Who am I? and What in the world am I doing here? While as old as humanity itself, these perennial questions are born anew in every man and woman who is privileged to walk upon this earth. Every sane man or woman, at some point in his or her life, is confronted by these questions--some while but children; more in adolescence and youth; still more at midlife or when facing retirement; and even the toughest customers at the death of a loved one or when they themselves have a brush with death. Yes, somewhere, sometime, we all find ourselves face to face with the questions, Who am I? and What am I here for?

And we do make some attempt to answer them. We ask our parents and teachers, and it seems they do not know. They refer us to political and religious institutions, which often crank out canned answers devoid of personal meaning. Some even tell us that life has no meaning, save for eating and breeding. Most of us are smart enough to recognize that canned answers or begging the question will not do. We must find real answers for ourselves. But that takes more heart and effort than we are often willing to give.

What becomes of us? We get swallowed up in the rat race. Trapped. Before we have even begun in earnest the quest to find our own answers, we resign ourselves to fives without meaning. Once in this dreary and monotonous chase, it takes more courage than most of us can muster to stand up amidst the crowd and return to the quest for a fully integrated life. We sell out the ancient quest, contenting ourselves with bread, bed, and trinkets. Wordsworth warned, "Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers"--but like lemmings running headlong to the sea, we are oblivious.

We give up the quest and shove the questions into a closet deep in the back of our minds. Once in a while, a wind blows through our lives, and the closet door swings open. We battle against the wind to close it once again. Frightened by what lies behind the door, we exhaust ourselves in the effort to keep it shut. Unanswered life questions are the real skeletons in our closets. Far more than by our dreadful deeds, we are haunted by these unanswered questions: Who am I and What am I to do here? We dare not be alone too long without some diversion, lest their bones begin to rattle.

But not all are as frail as this. Some stand tall and embrace these questions in the broad light of daily experience. Some even succeed in answering for themselves these perennial questions. They are the ones who experience deep meaning and joy in life--they are the ones who find the work they love.

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