Written by Nicole Caran 2014/15 Right Livelihood Participant
It was nearly a year ago when not being really sure of what it was that I needed at the time, but having a feeling that this is the direction I somehow had to follow, I joined the 2014/15 Right Livelihood Course.....something that I am sure most on a journey of self discovery appreciate!
Opening those doors on the first day of Schumacher was like stepping into a Harry Potter movie. The halls echoed of whispering voices, there was magic in the air... you could feel it as you walked through the stone arches or sat at the fireplace, or entered one of the many rooms for class. Those walls have secrets and stories......even the surrounds have this same earthly feeling.
I never really thought of what the course would be about, I mean I knew the schedule, but had no real expectation, how could I? There really is nothing like it.
After the introductions on day 1 we as a group never really looked back. By day 3 we couldn't believe we had only known each other for such a short time...it was that quick that we had formed.......
Now nearly a year has gone by and friendships have been set. Maybe it was the magic of Schumacher, maybe the wonderful peacefulness of Bhutan, or it could be the course material that opens us up.....maybe it's the combined efforts of our encouraging and wonderful mentors on this journey, Tho, Julie, Julia and Tilley. Anyway a space has allowed for us to just be. To talk. To share. No judgement. Just by allowing this space is magic in itself.
Because what I realise is that all you need to know is from within, and no so far down. Hiding beneath the surface, ready to expose itself when given space. Mostly to get through our working rushed busy lives we push our inner voice down to cope with 'getting on with it'. However in doing this, there is that feeling of 'what's it all about'? We know instinctively there is something more. Some of us already do what is ethically or morally right. Yes we have 'correct' jobs or activities that are seen as doing good. But something is still missing. That I feel is what the Right Livelihood course is about, finding what your heart is calling out for.
When I started the course I was already on the path of 'letting go'....I had left a fairly well paid job, sold my house and took off to travel to learn what I could about practical living skills to set myself up for a self sustaining lifestyle and farm. However without a set plan and allowing things to flow by going with my gut feelings, what it turned out more of, was a deeper connection within. Nothing was given too much thought, if it felt right I did it. The Right Livelihood course extended this by opening up more space within myself and letting go of any fear that comes with deep listening. This is totally different for everyone...For the scary thing is that when you truly listen there are many things that come up.... and it is then having the courage to follow through with that. And it's not that you come up against 1 fear and that's it, as you keep allowing the space you unlock more and more, so the path ends up like a trek over a mountain range that stretches as far as the eye can see! Some small hills some giant alps!
It's taken years.....however The Right Livelihood taught me to drop listening to my head too much......and listen to my heart. Before the course and during I thought of having a business that helped others. Yes I want to make a living morally and aligned to my ethics and all that but now I realise thinking about earning money, or career comes AFTER.....naturally. When I really listened within, something much more simple came through. My right livelihood wasn't about that, it was something more like this:
Be true to myself
be a friend, mother, lover, partner
be compassionate and present
have courage to give freely my love and accept love in return
live a life filled with creativity and doing meaningful work
to provide strength and space for others to feel safe and secure - to give to others so that they can have secure and happy lives.
Cliche maybe, but that's what came like a lightning bolt one day sitting in the library at Schumacher College.
When I dropped the IDEA of HAVING something; good career helping others, good life, well paid job, there was something much more deeper came through. I don't know exactly what it is I want to do anymore, but I know it's to do with the above criteria. I know my skills and passion for healthy natural food and wanting to share with others is involved..... in what way I am not sure. I also realise not to force it into being. The right thing will come, allow the space and let go the fears that come up of not knowing. It's hard sometimes and not always easy, to drop all those expectations, those 'I should be' this or that, and it's everything you read about or hear. What I realise now is it's true.
During our course so far we have had discovery walks, self journaling, art classes that taught us to paint freely from within, clay modelling, unspoken conversations (yes!), amazing storytelling, forest walks for inner listening, meditation, group talks, lectures, movie nights, great food, laughter, shared personal moments, deep connections, heart listening, WHEW! exploration of theories, gardening, house chores, co-habitating, meeting, singing, dress ups, party time, mindful listening, contemplation, silent meals, cooking with others, travelling to distant lands with some of us self organising to meet in Nepal before our Bhutan trip, self discovery walks, having fun with a bow and arrow, sharing spaces and experiences........and realising people are the same no matter where we are from, though just on different pages of the same book.
It's like scrambling down the rabbit hole. Once you start you have to keep going, because you start discovering there is a whole new way of being. Not just what is correct and right for society, but what is correct and right for YOU. What you were born to do.
Was there a time when you were young and dreamed of doing something but was told it's silly or fanciful, can't make a living from it...whatever it was. So you decided to go for something else that was still aligned to your ethics and societal norm, something you could make a living from but not really THAT dream?
Walking down that rabbit hole you find what that dream is, what you were supposed to do, not for money, or approval, just for yourself. By doing what you were meant to do is what helps the planet....we aren't all meant to be activists climbing trees but by doing what we are born to do supports our planet just the same way.
It's a peaceful sort of activism........sort of like saying I am being me, not what you tell me to be. Important for the earth, humanity and all life. We need builders, carers, cooks, farmers, teachers all working from the heart to live a more healthy way.......without it we continue as we have been. That is unsustainable and really keeps perpetuating the myth that true happiness comes to only those lucky few.