What if Neo took the blue pill? What if he never decided to follow the White Rabbit in the first place? The Matrix would have been a movie about a guy who is discontent and knows there’s something more. But all you’d see is 73 more minutes of a guy sitting in his cubicle, glued to a computer. What if Luke had ignored the partial clip of Princess Leia, chalking it up to a robotic malfunction? What if he declined Obiwan's invitation to join him on his mission to deliver the Death Star plans to the Rebel Alliance, taking over his aunt and uncle's farm instead? We would watch a young brat farm for 84 minutes. What if Tris pretended that her test showed her which faction to join? Or when she stood in front of the entire community she chose abnegation and familial surroundings? We would watch a movie about a girl who helps old ladies across the street and opens doors for everyone. None of these alternatives are worth watching. None of them are about answering a higher calling.
What if we are continually called to something more but refuse to answer? Or worse, what if there are constant invitations to a higher quality of life but we refuse to recognize the invitation? It isn’t always a call to save the universe. It could be a call to a healthier lifestyle with more energy. Or a call to be more vulnerable and raise the quality of the relationship with your spouse or significant other. It could be the call to better parenting and a deeper relationship with the one’s you’re responsible for. It could be a call to a better career, one that you have passion for and you feel makes the world a better place.
Answering the call will always cost us something. Comfort, friendship, time, energy, work… and often times more. We can’t answer the call and keep our life just the way it is. That’s why so many of us refuse to recognize when life extends the invitation. Everything changes when we accept the invitation to join in something that is larger than us. Luke leaves the only planet he’s ever known and has no idea where this journey will take him. Tris must leave the comfort of her home and parents with no idea that she’ll soon be jumping from trains and buildings. We can’t have a better life and keep our life the same. But do you really want to keep your life just the way it is right now? Will you look back 10 years from today and wish that things were different?
Take a few minutes to look back at your life and become aware of the invitations that have come your way. Did you accept any of them? Why or why not? What fears accompanied the invitations? Do you regret not answering any of the calls?
While the cost of answering is always personal, the reward is always worth it. We can’t learn anything from remaining the same. We can’t grow without change. We can’t show others the way unless we have traveled the road ourselves. Inspiration has never struck anyone while they were holding the couch down with a domestic beer in hand.
Action is the only answer to the call. Whatever that call looks like in your life it will require action and movement every time. You will begin building momentum the moment you respond to the invitation. You will find that mentors will come into your life at just the right time to guide you through the perilous moments. It will become clear who your allies are and the price they are willing to pay to help you along the way. It will also become clear who your enemies are as well. There will be times of immense joy and moments of extreme displeasure. But in the end, there is a reward for the giving of your gift to the world. Your experiences will inspire others to answer their call and give them the hope that they too can live a fuller life.
How is the invitation coming to you these days? Is it a thought or an idea that just won’t let you go? Is it a friend offering you to join with them in an adventure? Is it an advertisement for a conference? Or is it the Divine showing up everyday in the form of a person in need, asking you to help how you can? The phone is ringing… answer the call. You won’t regret it.
"When we quit thinking primarily about ourselves and our own self-preservation, we undergo a truly heroic transformation of consciousness." - Joseph Campbell
"We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn't serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us. It's in everyone. And as we let our light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fears, our presence automatically liberates others."
- Marianne Williamson
"Life asks us to try things, make mistakes, and commit to a path of growth and maturity. Anyone can get old, but growth only comes with effort and commitment." - Phillip Humbert