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Living One's Purpose: A Phenomenological Study of Awakening to a Call Open Access


Other title
male psychological development milestones
transformative power
awakening to a call
connection to the Divine
Type of item
Degree grantor
St. Stephen's College
Author or creator
Heather Elaine Scott
Supervisor and department
Dr. Colleen MacDougall
Examining committee member and department
Dr. Jean Waters
Dr. Lynda Phillips
Date accepted
Graduation date
Master of Psychotherapy and Spirituality
Degree level
This phenomenological study examined the lived experience of two men and one woman who are living their lives in response to a personal calling. Semi-structured in-depth interviews were used to collect the data pertaining to the question: What is the experience of awakening to a call to live one’s purpose? A thematic analysis revealed nine themes: 1) impact of early memories, 2) growing sense of self-identity, 3) sense of connection, 4) feeling of commitment, 5) authenticity, 6) personal well-being, 7) sense of knowing, 8) feeling of being helped along the way, and 9) willingness to change. The findings showed that the seeds that would later germinate into the co-researchers’ call to action were sown during their early years. Discovering what was personally relevant and meaningful to each of the co-researchers necessitated that they not only listen to, but respond from, the heart so that their values, beliefs and attitudes might merge into a more authentic way of being. The overwhelming desire to share their passions left each of the co-researchers feeling inspired, energized, and engrossed. Although they doubted themselves at times, they also experienced the positive emotions of joy and gratitude. In sharing their gifts with others, the co-researchers felt a deep sense of commitment and connection with others as well as the Divine. There was a sense of knowing that this was what they should be doing with their lives. They also felt they were being helped along on their journey. This study raised awareness of the transformative power that awakening to a call can have in all areas of a person’s life—physically, emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually. Implications for counselling practice and suggestions for future topics of inquiry were addressed.
This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
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