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May 13, 2019

The notion of Ikigai or Right Livelihood can Save our World by Serving our Commonwealth.

What we’re talking about in Right Livelihood is practical, not some elite pie-in-the-sky bullcrap.

Building a craft is hard: it includes finding a way to
1) do what we love (could be a humble job in others’ estimation, that’s their problem), that we also happen to be good at (I may love ballet, but without training I ain’t any good at it), that
2) also pays the bills—and
3) is of some benefit to the underprivileged and our reeling planet.

It’s literally vital work. There’s nothing practical for the commonwealth or our ecosystem in making the choice to think only of money, as too many do (say Wall Street).

There’s no point in merely following our bliss, if it can’t pay the bills or is bad for our communities or Nature.

And there no point in serving others if we can’t take care of ourselves, or lack a passion or skill for the work.

We’ve seen enough of “do well vs. do good” thinking (witness: generations of largely patriarchal exploitation and selfish consumerism).

My mom worked her ass off (multiple jobs while raising me solo), doing what she loved that was of real benefit (teaching, mostly), but was stressed to the point of exhaustion and broke much of her life.

We have to find a way to do all three—love, service, income—if we want to heal ourselves and our broken, wonderful world.

That’s the notion of ikigai or right livelihood: healing our society, making a paycheck, and doing what we have a real talent for—this is not about privileged trustafarians sipping matcha on a yoga retreat in Bali.

(please invite me)

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Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis, founder of Elephant Journal & host of Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis, is a 1st generation American Buddhist “Dharma Brat.” Voted #1 in U.S. on twitter for #green two years running, Changemaker & Eco Ambassador by Treehugger, Green Hero by Discovery’s Planet Green, Best (!) Shameless Self-Promoter at Westword’s Web Awards, Prominent Buddhist by Shambhala Sun, & 100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness 2011 by “Greatist”, Waylon is a mediocre climber, lazy yogi, 365-day bicycle commuter & best friend to Redford (his rescue hound). His aim: to bring the good news re: “the mindful life” beyond the choir & to all those who didn’t know they gave a care. elephantjournal.com | His first book, Things I would like to do with You, touches on modern relationships from a Buddhist point of view. His dream of 9 years, the Elephant “Ecosystem” will find a way to pay 1,000s of writers a month, helping reverse the tide of low-quality, unpaid writing & reading for free online.