Ethical Income

I am interested in ways that we all, as sentient beings on this planet, can live in abundance and thrive in the time we spend here.

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Everything in life points me back to starting where I am. Meeting others and the world where they and it are. At the moment, money is a rather deeply ingrained part of our societal functioning. In an ideal world, perhaps a future one, we would live with out it, in a deeper sense of community, inter-relatedness and respect for all things. However, at the moment, it is there.

I don’t feel it is money, as such, that causes the issues we face across the world today. Rather, perhaps those issues are a lot to do with our relationship to not just money, but life, ourselves, each other, nature…? It’s easy to blame money and external things, but I wonder if the issue is closer to home…?

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Abuse of power, greed and social isolation play a big part in many of the problems we face today. Our education system can often be set up to set us apart from each other through competitive sports,  linear thinking, focus towards achieving statistics, stressful examinations etc. We are primed to enter the ‘world of work’ and to often see our peers as our competition and technology as the only useful form of income. It’s not like this in every education system is like this but there are an awful lot of financial cuts on really important subjects like the arts, nature connection and subjects that enhance social awareness and communication skills. Many of these subjects have been moved to extra curricular activities that, while it’s great that they are still there, has made them less accessible to those who may not be able to afford them.

I imagine an educational system that promotes social connection and inclusiveness, creativity, environmental awareness, personal, relational and physical health and well being as well as fostering an attitude of community and togetherness that expands borders and focuses achievement towards an ideal of well being for all, everywhere.

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And I envision similar ideals within a professional focus too. If we were reared with a more embodied understanding of our inter-relatedness, could we really make the decisions that we do in such disrespect of our world and those who live with in it? Those, whom perhaps we do not know or see in our immediate environment, but whose lives our choices affect? Those, who are animal, mineral, vegetable, who have equal rights to claim this planet as home as we do?

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I breathe, and I remember to start where we are, to meet the world where it’s at. From there, steps forward are possible. I can become easily overwhelmed when I begin to think of the breadths of re-education, of re-membering, our species needs to travel through to evolve in a way that is constructive.

So, where am I? The change starts within so I see written and hear over and over again. So, where am I with all of this? I can’t make you change, I can’t make anyone change. It is exhausting trying to make the world change. It is overwhelming and I often burn out in the process. I can only be authentic to myself and allow the ripple effect to happen… in the way that it does.

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That doesn’t mean sitting back in a despondent state though. Being authentic to myself involves a willingness to see myself as I am – the angels and daemons that lurk within the dark watery vicissitudes of my being. Turning inwards to see also means turning outwards to act!

To me, it means developing a deep acceptance of the  forces of life and death that exist within every cell of my being in every moment. It means facing them. It means, slowly unraveling the tight threads of conditioning woven around core wounds and destructive habitual patterning… and reweaving healthy patterns that serve my personal development and our planet.

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It means holding myself and others within a compassionate and open awareness and noticing when I don’t; with compassion and openness. It means learning to play, to include and allow joy into my life through connection, clear communication and healthy boundaries.

It means considering the consequences of my actions and my intentions behind them – we can’t always avoid harming others, sometimes it happens by mistake – in knowing my motivations I can see instances where I have acted with good intentions as well as spaces that are open for development. I learn to forgive the parts of myself that are less alert and to compassionately allow them into conscious awareness – to become conscious.

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I cannot divorce how I earn my living from any of these things (in my opinion). When I inquire deeply into the nature of my own being and my inter-relatedness with all living things and then act out of integrity with that through how I choose to sell and consume my wares, then I am creating a split and a dissociation within myself. It’s not just living with integrity externally – it’s an inside job too. One that is multi faceted.

Finding a means of ethical income can feel like a double edged sword! How do I meet my basic needs plus some for thriving in life at the same time as it meeting my ethical values?!? It can feel really hard to find work that is ‘perfectly’ sustainable, and it can seem really unrealistic too when looking at what is on offer in this world of work.

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Coming back to starting where we are, sometimes it may not always be possible to find that ‘perfect match.’ What is possible though, is to continue this process of Self inquiry within the work you are involved in if it doesn’t drain the very essence of your being.

It’s a skill and an art to somehow balance this with a open attitude towards colleagues who may not have the same intentions. It’s not about projecting our beliefs on to anyone – often that sends them running in the opposite direction and creates isolation, sometimes an unnecessary sense of righteousness, for ourselves.

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And, in some way, perhaps it’s about understanding that abundance means living with enough to thrive but not necessarily with huge excess. We can strive so hard to be “successful” but what does that really mean? Is it a figure in a bank account? A fast, shiny car? A huge house? Or can it be knowing that I have enough to thrive, that I have all my basic needs met and, perhaps, a little extra to enjoy nourishing activities, healthy food and occasional, ethical trips away, quality time in nature, with friends, family and loved ones? Can it even be in giving something back – when I know my basic needs are met and I have some excess, can I use that excess in some way that benefits others / our planet?

There have been times in life when I have really been able to do this and times when I have had to focus inwards to build my resources again, but my intention is to feel a secure enough sense of foundation that I can share my gifts in some way with those who may not usually meet to and those who want to (not to force them on people!!). Sometimes this is the simplest act, such as holding a door open for someone, offering a smile, holding clear communication and healthy boundaries (yes, this does serve others – being inauthentic to ourselves is not in service of others).

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I realise as I write that it has to do with so much more than ethical income. It’s more about how we choose to live, to educate, to consume and to relate. We are the world in the making – we are part of it – and how we choose to spend our time here is up to each of us… do we choose a life in which we sacrifice our quality of relationships and health of our planet, always trying to achieve more and more, that somehow seems never enough? Or do we re-member the small things, reclaim a sense of spaciousness, awe and wonder for our natural world and our own inner ability to create through our bodies, naturescapes, voices and in deep respect and nurturance of our world and each other?

And…. how do we start where we are, to meet ourselves compassionately and authentically so our development can be sustainable, realistic and reach to our roots?

I’ll leave those questions with you…. and continue to ponder them deeply myself.

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