Q5: [Continued from last week.] "If we are to tell a new cultural story, and reconsider the economic objective of rapid consumerism in the United States, then how do you envision the exchange of goods and services supporting humanity?"
A1: Please see the extensive work of Charles Eisenstein + his Sacred Economics.
A2: Our current money system, for all its flaws, gives us a chance to figure out how we want to be in relationship with other people. What we want to do or provide in exchange for the means to meet our physical needs.
Superficially, we can treat this opportunity with a soul-less approach. Just prepare a resume, and get a skill-matching job. Or ride on the back of market trends, and do what we see other people in business doing.
Or, we can access meaningful work outside of ourselves, by first looking inside of ourselves. I've been in the workforce for 25 years -- as a traditional employee, contracted freelancer and self-employed entrepreneur. Regardless the "form" of work I was doing, I was always... always... reaching for congruence. I *tried* to assimilate. You have no idea the years and effort I put into denying my core... my innate wisdom... all so I could attain what culture told me was "right" or "successful."
Eventually, I got soul-sick. High-perceivers... people who feel a lot, and feel deeply, often struggle with existential suffering... because, so often, our inner world of harmonious ideals does not align with the outer world of harsh cruelty and inefficiency.
We are the canaries in the coal-mine... detecting the lethal gas that's currently -- fraudulently -- being passed as "air."
So, it behooves us to -- sooner rather than later -- just give in to that impulse to create lives that actually make sense to us... feel good, through and through, to us... that honor the urges, leanings and prompts within our heart. They are there to lead us down the most beautiful and amazing path, that we shape with contours unique to us.
Yes, this requires a machete. And the bushwhacking of outdated, external scripts that we deeply know have been blocking our personal, and planetary, well-being. This bushwhacking removes the confusing, yet widely accepted, destruction that's been crowding out our most desired landscape of a life.
So, we cut. To clear. A path of our own choosing.
I offer you these seven steps to becoming the work you love. This is the ultimate practice of personal authority.
E mpty. Get still + silent. Turn off all outside noises and distractions. Unitask. Give extremely focused attention to the next six steps.
M indful. "Set the mood" for this important exploration with a meditative process. You can concentrate on your breath, and observe each inhalation and exhalation. You can gaze at a lit candle, and observe each sway and pulse of its flame. You can knit... walk... garden... wash dishes... it really doesn't matter what you do, just make sure that whatever it is, you rpresence is undivided. Please watch the 4.5 minute video below (thanks, Barry!) for an example of what mindfulness can feel like.
P erceive. Now, with your mind clear and fully convened, you begin the internal work. Start with a "litmus test," by thinking about your current work, and noting what within that work makes you feel expansive? Next, notice what within your work makes you feel constricted? Now, journey back in history a bit, to your childhood. What preoccupied you in those days? What habit, hobby or activity gave you the greatest delight in those days? Your remembered answer to that question, very likely, is The Seed of what your heart most wants to do. That Seed was planted in innocence, and was completely free of corruption... it was completely free from other people's expectations and/or fears... it the most original blueprint you can possibly source back to in this lifetime. That Seed is strong, and has endured years of doubt and disbelief that it could really be a viable life path. It has probably endured years of neglect, dismissal and even scorn, for being the thing you want, but you have convinced yourself it is not attainable. It IS, in fact, attainable. But you must reject -- bushwhack -- the cynical choir. Off with their heads!, lest you continue listening to them, while ignoring your own heart-guidance. Be especially careful of those voices -- internal and external -- that try to shame you with their self-righteous ideas about what's practical. It sounds noble, but it's usually fear all dressed up, in its favorite disguise. Rumi has said it best: "When setting out on a journey, do not seek advice from someone who never left home."
A ssociate with like-minded people. Now, presuming that your childhood preoccupation still gives you a sense of joy and aliveness, seek out the company of other people who are already doing some aspect of that Special Seed. This is mindful networking, and the folks within those related clusters are your teachers and mentors. Being near them will energize you in a way that's hard to describe. These people represent your childhood self, and your future self. And your right-now self can more easily bridge the two by seeing how others have already accomplished what you previously thought impossible to do.
T ell others about your dream. You can do this a number of ways. For example, I started this podcast as a way of "telling my dream." You may prefer other creative expressions. It doesn't matter how you tell, just that you tell. Those out-loud statements are sun and water for your Seed. Nourish it.
H old steady. Once you say out-loud what it is you are pursuing -- which is the truth of your life -- your resiliency will be tested in a variety of ways, but mainly: through unsupportiveness of others, and your own fear. This is the hardest part of this process. You will want to retreat and "go back" to the land you know, even if it's barren. Hold your ground, in spite of doubts that arise. Hold your Dream Seed close to you at all times. Strengthen it with your favorable thoughts. Interact with it, through research, experimentation, play and study. Commit yourself to mastering the expression of your Seed. This challenging step is actually the process of becoming the work you love. It is both evolutionary and organic. This step matures and readies you to bring your Seed from inside your heart, out into the marketplace. Your transformed presence in the marketplace uplifts it from shallow greed to deep possibility.
Y ield. This step is actually two activities. The first is yielding in the passive form of surrender and trust (basically, waiting in confident expectation, which is similar to the step above). The second is yielding in the active form of gathering, collecting and harvesting. You will start to see external results in response to the internal seed-work you've done. Enjoy the fruits of your labor.
There is a lot more to be said about this, but I wanted to give you a starting place for the interior work needed to revolutionize your exterior work. I hope you find it helpful.
How I got from SAD (separated, alienated, disconnected)
to GLAD (green, liberated, aligned, depth.)
Supreme sadness woke me
from the American dream
that ran on the steam
of my distractedness;
my chosen stress;
and wasteful mess (es)
Spilled milk? Spilled oil!
Exhausted soil, that gives
hard, pastel, square tomatoes,
that have neither taste, nor nutrition.
But boy, are they GREAT for shipping!
We've lost sight of the whole mission.
But a civilization -- built on stolen land,
by enslaved labor -- is hardly concerned
about ethics. Let alone epic
catastrophes, that we could absolutely end,
if we'd just lift our heads + hearts from the sand.
Belize City, BZ