One of my favorite books is Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation by Parker J. Palmer. Like me, Palmer's career has evolved over time and he has suffered from some painfully long depressive episodes. Like me, Palmer has found a career he finds satisfying. He writes:
"Most of us arrive at a sense of self and vocation only after a long journey through alien lands. But this journey bears no resemblance to the trouble-free 'travel packages' sold by the tourism industry. It is more akin to the ancient tradition of pilgrimage--'a transformative journey to a sacred center' full of hardships, darkness, and peril.
"In the tradition of pilgrimage, those hardships are seen not as accidental but as integral to the journey itself. Treacherous terrain, bad weather, taking a fall, getting lost--challenges of that sort, largely beyond our control, can strip the ego of the illusion that it is in charge and make space for true self to emerge. If that happens, the pilgrim has a better chance to find the sacred center he or she seeks. Disabused of our illusions by much travel and travail, we awaken one day to find that the sacred center is here and now--in every moment of the journey, everywhere in our world around us, and deep within our own hearts."
(to be continued)