Tuesday, 26 May 2015

enough. a dream for the world, beginning with myself

There are jobs we do simply for the money. It is necessary, but often the labour is purely functional, turn up, do this job, get paid and put a roof over your head and food on the table. Necessary.

Then there are the jobs we do that flow from our deepest truest being, that may be hard work but are a joy, give as much energy as they demand. To earn a living this way is truly to live. 

It is a dream of mine that all humans would have the chance to discover their true vocation and follow it. Follow it in order to pursue life, not only a living; in order to encourage life around us, not only to turn the wheels of commerce; in order to eat and sleep and work and play in healthy balance. 

It is a dream for the thriving of all humans. I believe that if we each live into our vocation, we would not be so susceptible to the desire to have more, be seen to be successful, build bigger houses and show off more. I believe that each person living according to their true self would bring satisfaction enough to allow for a principle of 'enoughness' (God's dream: see J.D. Crossan's The Greatest Prayer) to guide our living. If we are satisfied within the depth of ourselves because we are living out of our true identity, my thinking is that we would be satisfied to have a home with enough space for the domestic life, to have enough food on the table to feed those in our home to fulness not indulgence, enough resources in money or services or goods to exchange with others for what we need but do not have ourselves. And if each person had just enough, perhaps, at last, each person would have enough. 


I can't change the world. I can't change much beyond myself, really. So myself I am trying to change. I try to make decisions based not on money, but on life. 
When I decide where I will live, I weigh up the financial cost with proximity to the communities in which I participate, space to breathe and therefore create, which is my vocation, and sometimes choose the more costly option in preference to being isolated, or overcrowded. 
When I decide what to buy, I choose food that is healthy and sometimes food that is cheap for I have not the resources for more, food that will nourish, has been ethically produced, and sometimes food that simply tastes nice - life is for living. I choose clothes that are ethical whenever I can, and more often don't buy any at all for I do have enough. I no longer spend money on hair cuts or dyes, having shaved it all off a year ago and found as it grew back that my ability to throw money at new styles and colours had been excised and not grown back. It is a struggle to live with the tensions of a society saying buy more have more, the inability to afford much at all, and the very real need for new pots because the current ones are dodgy and different shoes and clothes to better suit the new climate in which one lives. 

When circumstances dictate that I must take another job to earn a living to pay for the place where I will live and the food to fill my plate, I find myself taking steps away from thriving. Time that is for me better spent breathing myself open to creativity is instead spent simply earning money. Energy that is for me better spent on writing and rehearsing and performing is instead used up in the pursuit of money. 
To earn a living from the creativity, the writing and performing, the creating space for stories – when I receive this gift from life, I thrive. 
the performer, thriving
photo: Katie Munnik
In my first four months in Edinburgh, I wrote 20,000 words on themes for my thesis, completed a book on innovative church leadership, compiled a second poetry collection, and immersed myself in communities and networks that are now producing invitations to write and perform, to offer the gifts of my vocation and identity. 
This was possible because of investment from various parties into that vocation and identity, investment in those gifts. In the midst of a season of diminished flourishing because of the need to pursue money, I renew my expression of thanks to those who have a part in moving me towards earning a living through the life-giving expression of my gifts. I am more fully human with you. 

There are jobs we simply do for money. The irony is that sometimes we do jobs that take more energy and time not only than the energy they give back, but than the money for which we do the job at all. But I must do something, and sometimes, it feels like that something is too much. Oh, that my vocation would bring me enough to live on, for it is more than enough through which I can truly, fully, live. 

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