You meet someone for the first time and one of the first questions you get asked is “What do you do?” You automatically assume the person wants to know how you earn your living.
You may mumble something like “Well, right now I’m paying my rent by being an Uber driver but I’m working on a script that will be the next big hit at the Sundance Film Festival!” Or maybe you say “I’m a teacher, but I’m burned out and exhausted.” Or a wistful, “I’d love to be an artist, but don’t know if that’s a real job.” So, you go to your weekly SoulCycle class, and you wonder when your real life will start.
Is it work or play that defines you? Do you feel like you have somehow missed what you’re really supposed to be doing? Is this your destiny?
The anxiety over “what am I supposed to be doing?” can really mess you up. When that alarm goes off in the morning and you reluctantly get yourself together to go to work, are you wondering if this is all there is to life? Get up, go to work, maybe go out for a few drinks after work, then head home to DoorDash that you eat while binging on Netflix. Where is the passion for life? And how are you going to find the joy in simply being you?
You may have taken every quiz on Facebook that promises to reveal your most amazing qualities.
You may pour over the employment opportunities that you signed up to see from LinkedIn. You might be doing nothing, sunk into a depression over the state of your life and the state of the world.
But what if you could answer the “what do you do?” question with the status of your being rather than your doing? Like, “I am someone on an evolutionary spiritual journey and I’m gradually becoming more present, more engaged, more myself.”
Wow! Suddenly you are someone you’d like to know. You are saying that you are a seeker on the timeless quest for enlightenment, a traveler on the path to greater consciousness. Your true work—whatever your job in the world—is really internal. You want to be more aware of what you do, what you say, and even what you think. You want to be a moral force in the world, starting with the world you currently interact with—your family, your friends, your co-workers. You want to be known as a person of integrity, someone who can be trusted, someone who can hold the center in times of crisis.
As you develop a meditation practice, as you attend online workshops and events that bring you together with a teacher and a community of fellow seekers, as you read books on the ageless wisdom of the sages, you are doing the most exciting work of all and preparing for your true destiny: to be a light worker.
And the world desperately needs you! Especially in times like these that are fraught with disharmony and division, your connection to spirit, your immersion in the peace and balance brought about by spiritual practices, is vitally important.
As you proceed along the path, you may find that your work in the world will change. You might want to be helping others more directly, for instance as a speaker, coach or leader, like me. Or you may simply try to infuse your present work and home situation with more awareness of what you can do that will be of benefit to others. For being a light worker implies that you are committed to doing what you can to alleviate suffering and confusion—within yourself as well as for others. It implies that you accept responsibility for your own life and stop laying the blame outside yourself. It means you understand that you—yes, you—have the power to change the direction the world is heading. And it means that you know how to be kind.
There is one sure way to know that you are fulfilling your destiny: it feels right. The outer work you do may shift or transform, but it is the inner work that propels your satisfaction quotient. The next time someone asks “What do you do?” answer from the place of who you are rather than how you earn a living. You could be a window washer at a fast food restaurant, but what you are really doing is being a clear channel for letting in more light. And that is destiny calling.
by Deborah King