What is Right Livelihood?
I was introduced to the idea of right livelihood through a writing course during my graduate studies in environmental education.
Here are some definitions I like:
“As a way of working and as a way of thinking about work, right livelihood embodies its own psychology–a psychology of a person moving toward the fullest participation in life, a person growing in self-awareness, trust, and self-esteem. Abraham Maslow…calls them “self-actualizing.” The phrase simply means growing whole.”
~Marsha Sinetar, The Psychology of Right Livelihood.
The Second Definition is from www.rightlivelihood.org:
“The idea of ‘right livelihood’ is an ancient one. It embodies the principle that each person should follow an honest occupation which fully respects other people and the natural world. It means being responsible for the consequences of our actions and taking only a fair share of the earth’s resources.”
I like to think of my own “right livelihood” as a journey. On this journey each step is a moment to be fully in the world, and to discover the gifts I have to give to the earth and all her creatures. This could mean many different things, for many different people. For me these steps include: writing, dancing, growing food, playing music, sharing joy with others. It means education and openness. It includes being peaceful in my life choices, speaking the truth as I see it, following my heart.
Something that has been difficult to reconcile with the idea of “being peacefully in the world” has been the idea of conflict. To me, with all the cultural connotations, conflict seemed to mean violence. In fact, I have found that from conflict– think here of friction or sparks– comes growth and evolution. This doesn’t mean it isn’t difficult.
In times of deep conflict I think of the formation of mountains by the friction of moving tectonic plates, much is disturbed but the result over time is beautiful.
This website is a space that has come to reflect my right livelihood, it’s a place for threads of my professional life to come together as well as a place to publish writing.