The lure of true calling is as powerful as it is exacting and Gregg Levoy's Callings: Finding and Following an Authentic Life
plays upon this common yearning. Indeed, many recognize that there floats somewhere out there "... a call to each of us to materialize ourselves." And everyone can make his or her life "come true," attests Levoy, whose work has appeared in The New York Times Magazine
, Washington Post
, and Psychology Today
, if one can learn to read the signs that point one toward one's calling.
But how do we attune--clear a path through ingrained skepticism, negative conditioning, and fear so that we can hear the call? This is the question fundamental to spiritual questing. Receptivity is the first step in the art of sign reading, discerning the calls that point life choices toward meaningful action. Levoy's tools include dream interpretation, relating physical symptoms to their metaphysical correspondences (i.e. the recurring pain in the neck), and recognizing serendipitous events. Learn to discern, Levoy instructs, distinguishing, for example, between true inner guidance and the babble in our heads. And don't expect a big "call," flashing chariots and burning bushes. Rather, Levoy will help the reader cultivate a sensitivity to the still, small voice within.
Since it's inspiration through old truths and classic adages, the success of the message depends, naturally, on a kind of practical clarity. At times frustrating, Callings entices the reader toward self-transformation with New Age rhetoric and examples not always applicable to our more ordinary plights. Quoting the impassioned Annie Dillard may be swell ("The thing is to stalk your calling in a certain skilled and supple way, to locate the most tender and live spot and plug into the pulse"), but--in the long run--metaphor is metaphor and how-to, though less stately and exalted, is the practical precursor to action. Readers familiar with the literature of self-actualization will want to skim the lengthy introduction with its fervent and redundant references to our spiritual spin doctors--Sufi poets Kabir and Rumi; Joseph Campbell; Kierkegaard. But like many deft cartographers of the subterranean terrain, Levoy's mixed bag of metaphor, anecdote, and myth ultimately inspires and encourages the hungry soul to define itself in relation to the divine. For those who can afford to ask these "quality-of- life" questions, Callings offers heartfelt crazy wisdom. Above all else, it's sound nutrient in our spiritually hollow time.
From Library Journal
If life is truly a process and not a destination, the possibility of actually trying a few of the alternate routes that occasionally beckon becomes real. In this inspiring book, Levoy, formerly a columnist for the Cincinnati Inquirer, shares the personal journeys of an assortment of people who were willing to take risks to find their authentic selves, unsure whether they would achieve self-actualization or enrichment. The author followed his own calling and is now a freelance writer and lecturer and teaches journalism. Elevated far above the category of self-help by Levoy's masterly writing, this book reads more like a philosophical guide for those who dare to examine their dreams and take action to explore them. He includes an extensive bibliography and instructions on contacting the people who shared their personal stories for a "continued" dialog. Recommended, especially for those readers who've experienced enough of life to wonder if it was meant to include authenticity and joy.?Catherine T. Charvat, John Marshall Lib., Alexandria, Va.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.