Diane Dreher is the author of the bestselling The Tao of Inner Peace. The material in this paperback comes from her research and two decades of workshops, retreats at Santa Clara's Spirituality and Health Institute, and personal counseling. Dreher is convinced that we can learn a lot from the lives of Renaissance men and women who "believed in their own inner resources, seeing themselves as creative agents, not passive victims of fate. Their philosophers proclaimed the human power to discover, choose, and create." Throughout the book, she reflects upon the lives and works of Renaissance artists, leaders, scientists, and saints including Leonardo da Vinci, William Shakespeare, St. Teresa of Avila, Galileo Galilei, John Donne, Queen Elizabeth I, and others to inspire us with their quest for meaning and personal fulfillment.
The first four of the twelve steps to finding your life's calling are:
• Discovery: Realizing Your Joys and Talents
• Detachment: Clearing the Path Within
• Discernment: Embracing Your Values, Living with Heart
• Direction: Turning Your Ideals into Action
Each of these stages is accompanied by stories, assessments, personal exercises, and checklists. For instance, tracking your energies (both the positive ones and those that drain you) can be a helpful exercise on the path of discovery. Another exercise involves thinking of a time when you were doing something that brought you consolation, inspired you with joy and purpose, and connected you to the deeper meaning of life.
Dreher moves on to eight other steps in a personal renaissance journey: faith, daily examen, community, contemplation, creativity, reading and reflection, physical exercise, discipline and dedication. A few of the Renaissance principles which shine as a beacon of light on these pages are:
• "There is a part of you that is forever young, playful, curious and true that leads to your calling."
• "You are here to discover your gifts and use them to fulfill your destiny."
• "Small actions over time produce monumental results."