I recently came across an article titled "Redefining Work" by Brandy Gallagher. Here is a segment that caught my attention:
"How might we shift our work, or even the notion of right livelihood, into our 'world work'? And what is the definition of 'world work'? I see it as the process by which we consider the inner work we do as in fact shifting and changing one small piece of the outer world. Shifting, healing one little piece of the world at a time - now that could be 'response-able' right livelihood!"
Later, she writes,
"Redefining value...time to get back to the pond and them [sic] wood ducks with my kids and do a good job at my world work!" [Communities, Fall 2011]
Allow me to add one more perspective (that synchronously fell into my reading over the past few weeks):
"We are here to express our gifts; it is among our deepest desires, and we cannot be fully alive otherwise. ... We are here to create something beautiful, I call it 'the more beautiful world our hearts tell us is possible'. We are afraid, but when we do it for real, the world meets our needs and more. We then find that the story of separation, embodied in the money we have known, is not true and never was." (Charles Eisenstein, Sacred Economics, p. 154, 156)
(Add to this the ongoing work to which I am attracted, that by Maia over at Liberated Life Project where she combines personal work with making the world a better place...and I'm beginning to get the message. I'm a slow learner.)
There is a shift happening, one that everyone I talk to feels in some way or another.
It is a shift away from our status-quo, individualistic, non-sustainable way of living, producing, and consuming. It is a shift towards co-creation. It is felt as simply an unease with the way things are, a resigned knowing that things can't continue in this manner (lest we destroy ourselves completely), and/or an inner pull towards doing something different.
I am so deeply honored to be a conscious part of this shift.
But I cannot do it alone...none of us can. (That is kind of the point.)
I feel the pull and have been blessed to be (or purposefully put in?) a situation where I have the time and resources to do something about it.
With those fortunes come great responsibility. This is what I am now awakening to. LifeUnity is my world work.
It includes those things I am doing to raise my children and care for my family, as well as the attention I put into my own awareness, growth, and wellbeing. It also includes engagements with the world outside of the home - my local community and my network of amazing souls online. I cannot neglect any of these for long without feeling a void and need to redirect my attention.
I have a responsibility to myself, my family, and to you. It is a responsibility to constantly open myself to new perspectives beyond judgment. Once I do so, I find ways to integrate these perspectives into practical matters (driving, bills, laundry, parenting, running, health, etc.). I continuously invite myself AND each of you into this practice (for, indeed, it is a journey everyone must make on their own). I do so for the benefit of us all.
Previously, I have tried to focus my efforts on EVERYONE. Why? Because everyone could benefit from this awakened way of living. That meant trying to grow my online presence, attracting Facebook followers, marketing, networking ...doing everything that the current business model tells me I need to do to grow. After all, isn't that the point? To grow, expand, share my message with the world?
And repeatedly, I've worn myself out.
Like the bodhisattva Kuan Yin and a growing number of people with whom I interact, I hear the cries of the world. I know that my own struggles - family issues, money troubles, health scares, deaths, parenting problems, relationship fights - have given me insight into only a small segment of the pain. I don't know the challenges of war, I've never not been able to get food or water, I don't have life-threatening health issues. Yet I feel the suffering of everyone in those situations.
If we are all connected in some way, as I believe we are, it is like knowing the whole of the body, the being. The heart might be healthy, but if the stomach is bleeding I still feel the pain. The body might be healthy, but if the mind is disturbed I still feel the discomfort. We all do.
Enter the dance between awareness and attention.
My awareness includes all of the beauty and all of the suffering in the world.
My attention is where I can focus on my World Work - the small but essentially important work I can do to lessen that suffering and to create more beauty.
The next post will continue this important conversation, including what this means for online interaction...and how you can take part.
Until then, I invite your input.