The problems of the world can appear so overwhelming at times that it seems almost impossible to get a grip on it all. And what to do about it? Reading the news can feel depressing at the least and even disabling at times. How can anyone do anything about something so apparently enormous? How can one lone individual bring about change — or is it all just a cookie cutter life?
Long ago, when I thought about the enormity of the world’s problems and saw the injustices in my own backyard, my sense of rightness directed me to work toward mending the holes in the tapestry of the common good. This is called Tikkun. Tikkun is an ancient Jewish concept that means ‘repair of the world’. So based on my own proclivities and my own experience of bias against women in so many areas, I made a decision to start my own business – with a few dollars and using just a simple, three line classified ad. I went into fields related to outdoor work and home repair, fields usually relegated to men. The business was successful and was one of many woman owned businesses that blossomed during that period and began to open doors for women. To me it seemed a far more powerful way of affecting personal and political reality than voting.
With that recognition in mind, I’ve continued to create my own businesses. There are three concepts that have guided my decisions about what I do in the world. The first is Tikkun, already mentioned. This second is based on ‘the personal is the political.’ This is a slogan that came from the feminist movement and means that what you do affects everyone at many levels whether you are aware of it or not. The third concept is that of ‘Right Livelihood.’ This is a Buddhist concept that means you implement, as your means of livelihood, that which is in the spectrum of the common good and this will have a beneficial affect on all living beings.
In light of those beliefs, climbing the competitive success ladder only to make a boatload of money was not my primary goal. The common good was. I made enough to have the basics of life and a small amount extra and I was happy with that. I loved what I was doing, I did It well and my enthusiasm for change carried me past all obstacles. I knew that what I was doing for a living, along with so many others working in the same direction, was making a difference in the system. I continue to make choices based on what I see needs mending in the world tapestry. It is not easy to go against the grain of capitalism, but I don’t regret any of my decisions. In the end, many small acts of courage by many concerned individuals are what make the big waves that change the world.
Is there something you want to change? What gives you enthusiasm? What do you see that needs mending? Is there some way you can use your skills, predilections and gifts in a way that will benefit more than yourself . . . that will benefit Mother Nature and all her relations – meaning all living beings? You don’t have to start a business. You don’t have to do anything formal. Use your imagination. Act from your heart. Vote with your Life!