I Will Make My Own Lunch

by Simon Goland, May 6, 2015

Hands & UniverseThe journeys and the magic of the Right Livelihood Quest have been happening for about 4 years, with deep and transformational impact for the participants of this 4-week adventure. The first 3 weeks – Phase I – are a guided inquiry where the participants begin to engage with the exploration at their own pace and space. Phase II is a residential retreat, of 5 days, where we do a deep and rich dive, through the lens of two core guiding questions.

“I experienced an unfolding of my spirit, and the re-emergence of my playful self. As this occurred the feelings of being closer and closer to a truth I’ve always known that I’ve kept hidden became palpable. It started as joy leaking out in small moments of reflection, group activities, and particularly in mundane moments. The joy was like a fragile tether to a source of self-knowledge, original pain, and ultimate freedom. The activities helped stir this process of inward looking, and together we built a collective safety net for one another. I felt safe, encouraged, and increasingly curious. The Right Livelihood Quest offers a series of engagements that touch all parts of being to increase awareness and appreciation. I don’t know which was most powerful; the inward exploration or the tender witness of others’ growth. I am joyfully aware of the purpose and possibilities that I carry with me in the world, and have renewed courage to explore the meaning of it in myself, and in others.” – from a past participant

The first one is, “Why are you here?” This is the quest for meaning and purpose, something humankind has been asking probably since the beginning of time. Much like the Hazda people, who are the oldest hunter-gatherers on the planet now, dating back about 100,000 years. For them, their two most important days were the day the person was born, and the day they found out why.

The second question, and one that becomes the thread throughout the whole inquiry, is “What has my life been preparing me for?” This one is a bit more subtle in its implication. The process and inquiry of the Right Livelihood Quest operates on the premise that our life has been preparing us for something unique and specific to each individual, through a variety of experiences, whether ones where we are shining our light and operating at our best, or when we are in the deepest bottom of our rabbit hole, facing our darkest shadows. It is all a preparation for something, and it would do us well to not operate from a place of will, but from a place of slowing down, opening up, being present, and listening to all these threads of our life.

The process has been growing and deepening over the years, and becoming richer, more impactful, and deeply transformative for the participants. Yet there were a couple of cancellations last year, and moments of doubt as to what will happen with the Quest next. It felt as though something is about to emerge with the process yet the clarity was not there.

“I feel a deep and boundless sense of gratitude; one which finds words inadequate. I now have the strength of knowing myself. My fellow travellers helped me get there; without each member of the quest, I would not have come to this place. I went into the Right Livelihood Quest afraid of the work and the commitment needed to look deeply within myself and truly see what is there. I felt like I was standing on the end of a dock, shivering, nearly naked in my bathing suit. I was revealing myself and about to jump into cold water. Would I be able to breathe? Could I tolerate the embrace of the lake? The quest was my dive in. It was physical, spiritual, enveloping, exciting, frightening, wrenching and ultimately exhilarating and powerful. I emerged with a true understanding of my essential self. I can bring this knowing to all I do; I can use it and measure my actions against my essence, aligning how I behave to truly reflect my deepest being.” – from a past participant
How hard it is to be with the unknown, especially around something I am so passionate about. Wanting it to happen, grow, keep evolving, and at the same time, knowing that there are powers at play that are way bigger than my personal desires and dreams. It is my baby, after all, and I have been birthing it for a long time now. Can I really let go? What will happen if I will?

Recently, a CEO client of mine asked me to conduct the Right Livelihood Quest for a group of her employees. Given that the work of the organization is related to the exploration of purpose with their clients, as a core part of their healing journey, it only makes sense to engage the employees into a similar inquiry for themselves. The only trick is that, oftentimes, an organization does not have the luxury of taking a group of employees away for 5 days; as was the case here. I had an evening and 2 short days.

Well then. How do I shorten the process from 5 days to 2? What is absolutely essential? I can’t let go of this element, or that one – and I also don’t have the time to include them. Remember your own mantra, Simon, “Less is More.” I know, I know. Less is more. But not without this process or that activity. Impossible. Will the participants “get it” when the whole process is stripped down to the absolute minimal minimum? Why did I even agree to it in the first place?

“A designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupery

It was an absolute and utter magic, of the most incredible transformational Quests so far. The shortened process worked amazingly well, the participants engaged and dove fully in, and everybody walked away with all the pieces and elements of the inquiry crystal clear. There was courage, commitment, authenticity, vulnerability, deep and rich openness, vibrant engagement and clarity throughout these two short days and an evening. I have been sitting in a very humbling awe since, reflecting on the experience and the privilege to witness the magic, yet again.

It feels as though this Right Livelihood Quest baby of mine has grown up and is ready for whatever is next. “I will pack my own lunch, dad,” he tells me. I am realizing, yet again, that I am called to take a deep breath and loosen my grip.

And there are two more organizational Right Livelihood Quests in the process of being booked.