Are You Living Your Vision?
We would like to share an important ingredient not only for living a successful life but also for relationships. That ingredient is simply giving your gift to life. People who have had a near death experience often report that on the “other side” they were asked, “Did you give the gift you were sent to give?” These people often return to life and change the way they are living so that they can truly give their unique and precious gift. When a person is living a fulfilling life, and making their own special contribution, it reflects in their relationship. The opposite is also true. Frustrating, stressful, nonfulfilling work will have its effect on the relationship as well.
A relationship is meant as a blessing in our life, a source of loving support, companionship, nurturing and partnership. The relationship alone cannot be the source of fulfillment in life. Fulfillment comes from truly giving the gift we were meant to give to the world.
The first sixteen years of our marriage, Barry was either in medical school or working as a medical doctor. None of his jobs were particularly ideal, yet they all seemed to be preparing him for something more. Finally Barry landed what he felt was the ideal job in the field of medicine. He worked as a medical doctor at the University of California Santa Cruz. The working conditions were the best he had ever experienced, the hours were great and the pay and benefits excellent.
Meanwhile, I felt fulfilled and happy to be staying at home being a full time mother to our two small girls. I grew attached to the security Barry provided by bringing home a paycheck each month as well as to the benefits. Barry, however, grew more and more restless and frustrated. This was reflected in our relationship, and a distance grew. I wanted him to keep working there, for we both knew it was probably the most ideal job Barry could get in medicine. I had trouble when he would voice his lack of fulfillment.
One day, Barry finally sat me down and said, “I feel a calling to do something else. I want to devote myself to helping people with relationships. I’d like to work side by side with you. This is the gift I feel I’m really meant to give.”
“But Barry,” I argued, “Can’t you do both?” We were already leading a few workshops a year together.
His answer finally allowed me to understand, “The energy it takes to be the person I am needing to be in the clinic is becoming too much. I need to devote myself to fully giving my gift.” I knew inside, as scary as it was, that I shared his vision as well.
Barry left his job shortly after that. The financial security and benefits were gone. We had no plans, only a vision. There were many times when we floundered and had no money. We all wore second hand clothes and we bought used toys for the girls. Financial security became a thing of the past, yet the joy of living our vision brought so much power and energy into our lives. From this vision came our first books, counseling and workshops. From our vision came work that we truly love with a passion. Living our vision brought with it a depth in our relationship that we might never have found.
Of course, living your vision does not necessarily require a change in work. It may involve taking a small step each and every day. It does require that you sincerely look inside and ask yourself the very important question, “Am I giving the gift I was meant to give?” Giving your own unique gift will bring a feeling of success and fulfillment that will add depth and beauty to your relationship.