A few weeks back, I mused about the period in my childhood that came “before I discovered doing.” This, I reminded myself, was where RAISING CLARITY comes from: the return to that state, because “before I discovered doing, there was being.”
In response to that post, Marissa asked:
How does one escape the idea one must earn the right to live when one MUST earn? Do you think it’s a mindset shift?
As Marissa already surmises, RAISING CLARITY is a mindset shift. All our work starts there, because you can change your reality. (If you can’t, are you sure it’s reality?) I won’t argue about whether we “create our own reality,” because frankly, I only care about noticing the reality we experience. Changing it is well within our power–and “just” noticing starts the change process.
So the short answer to Marissa’s question is “yes,” it’s a mindset shift.
This post however gives the long answer.
The Need to Earn is Never the Right to Live
What about that need to earn money? Most of us have such a need. Yet the need to earn money is never the need to earn the right to live.
The right to live is our birthright.
The right to live is quite different from the right to life. There are many voices for the Right to Life–RAISING CLARITY is a voice for the Right to Live.* As Barbara Deming said, “we cannot live without our lives.”
The right to live is your birthright to have a life that is meaningful. Deeply satisfying to you and probably also those around you.
I don’t think we have the right to live with a houseful of stuff, or with a bank account the size of a small nation’s GDP, or with a whole lot more than we need, in other words.
I don’t believe in “deserving” these things because I know everyone is deserving. But no one deserves to oppress others with their deserving.
Lies About Earning the Right to Live
We can’t earn the right to live by making money. But as I pointed out in “Before I Discovered Doing, There Was Being”, we learn as very small children we have no right to just be. We learn that we have to DO before we can earn the right to be:
“I could earn the right to live if I would only
do that third thing.
But there is always a fourth thing.”
Exploring Who Deserves the Right to Live
We are born with the right to live. We don’t earn the right to live by making money. This is radical because so much of our culture contradicts this. We even begin questioning the right to live of other people–people who don’t have enough, who may be poor, even destitute. We allow ourselves to think they aren’t deserving. (Here’s a way to check our privilege that is a blessing.)
If you catch yourself thinking this way about other people, watch out: it’s a serious abundance blocker, because part of you thinks this way about yourself.
Capitalism and the Right to Live
Marissa, in her original question, referred to my blogging on capitalism. It may sound cynical, but it really just seems realistic to me to think that a culture such as ours would find other ways to make people feel insignificant if we didn’t use money to do it.
Capitalism insists we are what we earn (and own). This is the upside-down of earning the right to live by truly living.
We Earn the Right to Live by Truly Living
What does truly living look like to you?
What does truly living feel like? What does it mean? To you?
The how-to part of this post will not tell you how to truly live. We help you truly live. That’s just our job. And if we don’t like how you want to live, we can’t help you. (Literally.)
Earning the Right to Live When You Must Earn
Here is the how-to part of this post: how do you earn the right to live when you MUST earn, as Marissa put it so well?
How do you truly live when you must also truly earn?
RAISING CLARITY is for people seeking all kinds of ways to beat the equation of time = money. This community is for people who don’t just want more money but more time and more space, more meaning. For less! For less money-making. For less selling their souls and themselves to The Man, who is really us introjected in disguise.
We are powerless as long as we think we must earn.
Observe yourself making the decision you want to earn. (Hint: You’ll find it just prior to the thought, “I must earn.”) I think we can want to earn. I also think there are many ways around earning. (See also * below.)
The second step is to take charge of our money. This includes our spending–of money and time. (There are a zillion posts on time in this blog. Here are some to get you started.) RAISING CLARITY coaching (for individuals) and consulting (for projects and organizations) can definitely help you figure out how to empower your income.
Earning how you want to earn is not reserved for a privileged few. It can take some doing, some unlearning, some collaborating and cooperating, and sometimes literally reducing expenses by increasing awareness.
There are things it is unhealthy to cooperate with. This is one of them: do not go gentle into doing.
I could not write this post, I could not answer Marissa’s question, until I wrote that line and others in last week’s blog post.
I am never busy. I may be many, even unhealthy, things. But busy is not one of them. “Busy” is designed to keep us doing so we can finally feel important–some day. Some day never comes. We can never do enough to feel important. We can never feel important by doing. (Hard lesson for we recovering workaholics.)
This is because we were born important. The third step, then, is to remember:
It’s all your time.
What are you buying that’s already yours? Read the post, ask the question. Enjoy the answers. They come to heal you.
*There are many others: basic minimum income advocates; the movement to increase minimum wage and reduce the workweek or otherwise help restore more of people’s time to themselves without sacrificing ability to meet basic needs; people who barter, exchange, live in intentional community, share income. Anyone who elevates what is called “quality of life” over things that could be called “quantity of life” (such as owning more stuff). Zen poets. Third Path.