“Your work is to discover your work and then, with all your heart, to give yourself to it.” ~ Buddha
I’m been searching for my Right Livelihood for ten years now. Or at least I thought I was.
I want to earn a living doing work that will make my heart sing, while being of valuable service to others. Not everybody understands this or needs this. But it is of vital importance to me.
Eight years ago, equipped with my new diploma, I began life coaching and I loved it. And my clients enjoyed the process immensely too. The trouble was, it was a boom-time business and the boom time was coming to an end. I found myself venturing back into a part-time fundraising job to make ends meet.
Meanwhile I finally overcame my inability to meditate, and was loving it so much I felt drawn to teach it to others (they say we teach that which we most need to learn, and boy did I need the benefits of meditation). When I qualified and started teaching in 2009, all was going wonderfully. But by then I was also living in the west of Ireland where the recession was biting particularly hard. And by 2011 the waiting lists for classes had morphed into cancelled sessions due to low numbers.
Part-time marketing work beckoned.
With hand on heart, I cannot say that work makes my heart sing. The situation has me perplexed because I don’t believe that my business has to suffer due to the economy. I believe that when we find our Right Livelihood it overrides all logical probabilities around viability and profitability. While I’ve struggled to make things work over the last couple of years, I have completely accepted that the problem is just as much internal as it is about the disposable income of potential clients.
But I couldn’t crack the nut that was causing the blockage.
I think—I hope—I might have discovered the root of the problem: I was trying to force the matter. My ego was choosing what it wanted my right livelihood to be, instead of allowing me to be guided towards it.
Lately, I have been offering a simple enquiry into the ether—What is my Right Livelihood? Just that, nothing else. What I now understand is that it is for me to ask this question but not for me to answer it. I need to pay attention, and listen for when the answer is given to me.
Over the last ten years I have been attached to different ideas about what my purpose is. I was attached to the notion that I am meant to serve the world in a particular way. And then I’ve tried hard to make that work financially. I’ve been trying to forge a path instead of allowing one to reveal itself to me.
But this new, open enquiry has changed my energy around the whole issue, and I’m feeling more peace around it.
So I’m still offering up the query, and following whatever breadcrumbs appear. I’m looking around me with curiosity. And things are changing—possibly making room for something new. My marketing clients told me yesterday they need to cut my hours for the off-season. These hours are my safety net. Losing them means I have to find alternative paying work. (I am a master at attracting unpaid work)
From any logical viewpoint, this is a scary position to be in, but I am not scared. Not yet anyway. Maybe a month from now I’ll be panicking, but for now I find this situation to be simply interesting. I am optimistically holding the view that it has arisen to make space for my Right Livelihood to come in.
I do trust completely that something will come in to fill the void. And I hope that now I’m finally ready to welcome in the right work this time. Work that will make my own heart, and the hearts of those I provide service to, sing from the rooftops.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Author: Hilda Carroll
Editor: Renée Picard
Photo: western4uk at Flickr