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What is your Job on the planet?

I woke up in the middle of the night last night. I’ve found it easiest to return to sleep if I leave my bed and go downstairs to read for a while. I can’t read anything exciting or scary – it must be quiet, meditative subject matter. For this, I highly recommend Wherever You Go There You Are, Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life by Jon Kabat-Zinn.

I’ve read this book before but it lives by my bed for just such sleepless nights. And last night I read a section that I just loved! I am particularly excited about the metaphor of each person as a gift. I love thinking about people in this way – each of us gifted with combination of qualities and skills that only show up once in the course of human history. Think of it! Each of us is so unique and we have a very specialized purpose. Our purpose is determined by what we love to do and what we think is important – so important in fact that we can’t not do it. At least without harming ourselves in some way.

Jon Kabat-Zinn writes: “Rarely do we question and then contemplate with determination what our hearts are calling us to do and to be. I like to frame such efforts in question form: “What is my job on the planet with a capital J?” or “What do I care about so much that I would pay to do it?” He goes on to say that if you don’t have an immediate answer, just keep asking yourself the same question. Eventually, if you are patient, he suggests that the question itself will lead you in some interesting ways.

It’s hard to know where this kind of introspection will lead. It may not change what you do, but it might change how you do it. What better time to begin? What is your heart calling you to be? What is your Job on the planet-the one only you can do?

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