skip to Main Content

Puzzling out your life’s work

How are you feeling about your life’s work? Who or what speaks to you?



Do you ever feel that the universe is speaking to you, encouraging you to stay on the path you’re on?

Or is it telling you to change course, and get on with the true work of your life?

Lately I’ve been receiving enthusiastic signs. For five years, I’ve been immersed in writing a book on a very difficult topic. It is about how people recover from sudden loss and other trauma, growing in positive ways as they attempt to make some sense of dark trials.

Many of us have been in these trenches. My interest is in how we climb out.

I’ve found great joy putting this together and refining my writing. All despite encountering many self-doubts and other ups and downs of trying to craft my art. I’ve received some validation for taking this risk–not so much externally, though I believe that will come later when a reader finds something meaningful in my book to take away.

More keenly, I recognize a growing sense that I am on the right track. That my work is aligned with a vital purpose. Hopefully it’s the best I have to offer this world in this moment. More about this in a few minutes. 

So how are you feeling about your life’s work? Who or what speaks to you?

Of course, many of our everyday jobs and tasks fail to bring a lot of happiness. Nor do they seem to make a big difference in the grand scheme of things. Among people I know best and care about, I can only hope, for example, that a friend who sometimes struggles to find work as a carpenter finds fulfillment. My brother travels so much for business in a draining cycle that seems to have escalated over the years. It’s enough to make him consider stepping off the merry go round.

Occasionally we discover that our lives are out of alignment. Similar to the gradual yet assured effect this has on wearing down the tires on one’s car, the carousel spins unevenly. And much too fast. We yearn to get off. 

How do we find the courage to rebalance and make a shift?

Recently my wife and a friend introduced me to two books that address this. I feel their reach as if directly speaking to me at this juncture of life; it’s not just by accident.

The first, The Great Work of Your Life, will open your heart. Author Stephen Cope lays out the development of one’s dharma–defined as one’s sacred duty or purpose, in part–in an inventive way. He traces how eleven or so famous people devoted themselves to a purpose and achieved mastery in their fields, or made other huge contributions to humanity. Most crucially, to attain a supreme goal, they often turned aside personal ambition, “emptying the self” to be an instrument of a divine power–whether one calls it Soul Force, God, or something else.

Click here to continue reading this post on Psychology Today’s web site.


In the Eastern contemplative tradition that Cope’s book embeds with, he writes that “yoga”–meaning “to yoke”–involves “bringing every action into alignment with one’s higher purpose,” or “yoke all of one’s being to dharma.”

Pursuing one’s calling, or sacred duty, with every fibre in one’s core.

Back To Top