Being Called

Above: Finished Film

I am currently working on another short film dealing with endangered species. I sensed when I began the Endangered Species Bookmark Project last September that there was something more to it than just another creative endeavor. It felt different from the moment I received the idea. It resonated in my solar plexus – like a tiny vibration at first. Excuse me if this seems hard to understand – it is difficult to describe or put into words.

But as the project continued with each new drawing, each new animal, the feeling became stronger and more compelling. And even as emotionally painful as it became at times, learning the plight of these animals, I kept going. I knew I had to keep going. I cannot explain this “knowing” – it was not informed by anything externally, it seemed to come from within me and yet was not of my making. I just knew. I knew I had to keep going.

I have heard and read countless stories of people who reported feeling a “calling” to do something, pursue a career or particular path. I remember watching some of them being interviewed on the Oprah show – and it always baffled me and was beyond my understanding. No mysterious or mystical “calling” had never come into my life. To a certain extent I think I dismissed all this “calling” business as hogwash and new age PR hype developed by authors trying to sell their books.

Your Calling

When I finished the Bookmark project I moved on to other things but I knew at a deeper level I was not done with the topic of endangered species. Images and ideas are constantly coming to me – (I jokingly remarked to my partner recently, after discovering that yet another idea of  mine had been appropriated by someone for their own personal gain, that I receive more ideas by lunchtime than most people have during their entire lives. Ideas are meant to be shared – so I don’t mind when mine are appropriated, I just wish more people would use them for the good of all instead of enriching only themselves.)

And so the images and ideas kept coming relentlessly around the topic of endangered species – still, I kept deferring them to mental notes and working on more pleasurable projects. Then one day about a month ago I saw re-post of a news article from 2018 announcing that yet another animal had been declared extinct … and it stopped me cold.

There was no longer any shred of doubt – I was being “called”.

Of all the different kinds of creative things I could have been called to do – I think this is the most emotionally difficult for me. Yet, I sensed it with the Bookmark project – I knew this was what I needed to devote the rest of my serious work to. These animals and their plight – even with its inherent sadness and despair.  Sometimes when I am working I have to stop because I cannot hold back the tears and I think to myself that I would rather have all my teeth extracted without anesthetic than be doing this work.  At times when the sadness overwhelms me, I find myself asking the Universe –  Why? Why do you ask this of me?

I believe I have NOT been called to sound an alarm or scare anyone. I have NOT been called to educate or enlighten anyone. I have simply been called to serve as a witness, emotionally and spiritually,  to what is happening and to convey those emotions, as best I can, through the languages of art, music and these little films.

This post may make this work sound very bleak and difficult for me as if I’m trudging through it, but I want to emphasize it is not – this is the most fulfilling work I have ever engaged in and truly does bring me great happiness as each project is completed. That said, being a conduit for energy of this magnitude can sometimes feel like my emotional circuits are being overloaded. That’s when I stop and cry, having felt the enormity of the planet-wide loss.

I debated at great length whether or not to share this story with you, dear readers. Mainly because it is intensely personal for me. But as I heal myself,  my life, retrieving and reclaiming it from the darkness of suffocating negativity that permeates the world today – I see that I may have been underestimating the value and power of shining my one small light out into that darkness in hopes that others might see it and, in turn, begin shining theirs. I believe this is how we will evolve into a more conscious planet.

This piece of music is entitled ‘The Universe’ and was produced by Takaharu Kobayashi – combining the chanting of ancient Buddhist sutras with harmonic oscillation- I hope you enjoy it.

Until next time …