This blog contains 1000 posts. Posting to Blogger with such a large archive has become unwieldy. Also, your blogista, who is sewing a kesa, is not writing much at present. She has ceased adding new posts. Still-active links are here.

Saturday, September 28, 2013


Making sure the air and water are clean and the soil and oceans healthy, and working for the betterment of all -- people, animals, plants -- is certainly Right Doing, but eventually you yourself must sit down to a meal, drink the water, build a shelter for yourself, and keep warm or cool as dictated by circumstance. This is Right Livelihood. Perhaps your job provides you an income -- say, at the farmer's market, the organic local-foods wholesaler, or a social agency. Or perhaps you have acreage, or a city lot, or an apartment patio and an allotment or community garden, or just the patio, or just a windowsill. In all these settings some form of productivity is available, such that what you do rewards you with minimal impact on others.

For years in the late 80s and early 90s, my work, at a local university, sustained the family, but we also had, on our small city lot, fruit trees, a garden, greenhouse and flock of ducks. We saved seed, canned produce, gathered eggs. Because it rained a lot, we were known as the "boot people."

The university was eight miles away by bike path. I commuted to work on a beat-up ten speed that had a basket between the drop bars and a milk crate on the rear rack. I learned where to find nettles, mint, apples, plums, pears, rose hips, and walnuts along my route. Often I arrived home carrying a full load. 

We also learned to stretch our budget by buying, in a timely manner, twenty-five or fifty pound bags of rice, Navy beans, Pinto beans, lentils, split peas, oats, barley, wheat berries, and millet. Combining these (and the savings from my use of the bicycle and bus lines) with the garden and the occasional duck soup, our grocery bills (and doctor co-pays) were accordingly very low, and the five of us were able to double our mortgage payments. It helped that most of our entertainment was supplied by the local library.

Unexpected costs arose, of course: our only car, a little '84 Escort wagon, was demolished, while parked, by a drunk hit-and-run driver one night. But, even though we were below poverty level and the insurance paid very little for the car, our ongoing budgeting made it possible for us to recover. 

One cannot always count on such disasters not to overwhelm one; but one can improve the odds. Even an unclaimed apple tree at the end of the alley provides a little more depth for your pocket, if you will use it.

Principle 3: Obtain a yield. “You can’t work on an empty stomach.” Ensure that you are getting truly useful rewards as part of the work that you are doing.


Related Posts with Thumbnails