Posted in Live, Love

Working with Deep Gladness

“Vocation is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s hunger meet.” (Frederick Buechner)

As the cursor on this digital screen flashes on and off, it patiently but proddingly awaits each word I type. I am here on this screen after a week of “deep gladness,” delighted to have this wide open space to write.

As always, I have collected thought-provoking and life-affirming quotations from a variety of sources that have touched me deeply, urging me to think, feel, and dream. There is nothing I love more than having my mind stretched by new ideas, my heart cracked open by new expressions, and my ability to create and connect with others exercised with meaning and purpose. It is my intensely reflective and all-consuming “work” that can be so very synchronistic and sweet.

“Musing and muttering” is my vocation and I love it.

In the words of Joshua Rosenthal, “We don’t realize the extent to which our lives would improve if we were doing work we loved.” Oh, yes, yes, I do. Although my past “portfolio career” had been cobbled together from past positions and skill sets that did not fit neatly into a single workplace or succinctly on a business card, I am fortunate to have created a sense of passion, purpose, and possibility that trumps all.

Despite occasional uncertainty and doubt, and times when I feel vulnerable, distracted, or depleted from leaving no metacognitive stone unturned, this introspective soul finds deep joy in new awareness and understanding that may, in time, be of value to myself and service to others. This is what keeps me going even when the proverbial chips are down.

To ponder, assess, integrate, and finally weave my own “words of wisdom, wonder and wellness” is what I relish most. True to the Socratic ideal of living a life that nurture’s one soul and the adage “an unexamined life is not worth living,” it is my greatest aspiration to “know thyself.” It is only by knowing and loving myself that I may aspire to know and love others.

I remain committed to the Platonic educational ideal of helping myself and others to reclaim the knowledge and deep inner knowing of the human soul through respect-filled questioning, listening, and being. However unfashionable they may seem in a fast-moving and outcome-driven world, they are vital. To glibly or opportunistically pursue other trendy, superficial avenues would make me feel, (in the words of a frustrated friend many years ago) like a “poser, pretender and candy bar vendor.”

Although it has sometimes been difficult to reconcile my own inner calling with finding a place and making my way in the external world, I know deeply that there is no other alternative but to follow my bliss. The most cautious and conservative work-a-day answers from previous generations do not apply for me (or many others I believe). Although I start every day copiously writing my “gratitudes” for all the good and seemingly not so good aspects of life (trusting that they, too, have a purpose and are part of my growth), I am fortunate to experience brief but recurring moments when my own”deep gladness and the world’s hunger meet.”

Although seemingly few and far between (but, in reality, just my own distraction and disconnect at the time), I savour them because I know what it is like NOT to feel this deep gladness. In the words of Jiddu Krishnamurti,”Not knowing what you really want to do, your mind falls into a routine in which there is only boredom, decay and death. That is why it is very important to find out while you are young what it is you really love to do….”

To follow one’s deep gladness regardless of external circumstances and despite the always changing tastes and appetites of the “world’s hunger” is to embrace uncertainty with increasing calmness, confidence, faith and trust. As cliché as it seems, it is often about detaching, and letting go. As Debbie Ford so solidly suggests, “We must hand the reins back to the universe so that we can be used for exactly the purpose we have been put here for.”

Experiencing “deep gladness” is also about transcendence, purpose, and connection. As Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi suggests, “When adversity threatens to paralyze us, we need to reassert control by finding a new direction in which to invest psychic energy, a direction that lies outside the reach of external forces. When every aspiration is frustrated, a person must seek a meaningful goal around which to organize the self.”

As I prepare to hit the “Publish” button on this post, I am energized by these words by Osho: “It does not matter what you do. What matters is how you do it–of your own accord, with your own vision,with your own love. Then whatever you touch becomes gold.”

With a deep, abiding sense of the power of unity and oneness, this is my golden wish for myself and everyone–including and especially all of you who are my most cherished family of friends on this journey.

With love,


Kalen Marquis is the therapist, educator and human bean who founded Kwil.Club with frizzy-fuzzy, green-nosed Kwil. He is a registered clinical counsellor in private practice in New Westminster, BC. He has more than two decades of experience as a teacher, teacher-librarian and school counsellor.