Salary or Soul: and why it’s so hard to choose

I recently found myself questioning why there exists inside of me such a headstrong determination to help save animals instead of a passion for something that could have brought me wealth and position. It is very difficult and often even impossible, however, to silence the soul’s song once it has been heard.  

If you are lucky, you will never have to put a price-tag on the pursuit of happiness. You will never be told that the rent is due for your use of the moral high ground. You’ll get to go through life with salary and soul in tow. I hope, truly, that your life-goal happens to pay you well.

Because if you are faced with the monetary value of the resolution to do good and forced to decide if it is worth it, you might find (as I did) that passion does not pay nearly as well as that big building on the corner of Self-Preservation Street.

I guess they call it “selling out” because it is so often the vending away of our deepest dreams in exchange for petty cash. To be sure, following your heart will almost always cost a great deal more in sacrifices than it brings in return. The reward for a labor of love is small; yet still, it is sweet.

Sometimes our core tells us to do things that bring little to the wallet and exercise our muscles of humanity, found frequently stiff from years of neglect. The competition between coin and conscience is steep. It is not always as easy as we would like it to be to turn down stability on a silver platter for risks served cold on a paper plate. But cold, hard kindness goes down more smoothly and settles more easily into the pit of our stomachs than a hot serving of selfish privilege.

We have to be careful that we are not ushering in a generation of individuals that build the corporate ladder out of the sorrows of their neighbors; who climb it blindly in an effort to finally catch the dollar dangling at the end of the string in front of them.

What if we teach them that the value of a dollar is as much about how the dollar is obtained as it is about the four quarters that make that dollar up? What if our instincts started growling instead of our stomachs and we trusted our gut more than our paychecks? If the richest among us were the ones whose souls were kept fed before their mouths, how hungry would our society be for compassion?

Don’t misunderstand. The choice is not easy and it will always be uncomfortable to willingly set oneself on the path of generous poverty. For example – an expensive and well made blanket might keep you warm at night, while a shining soul could warm up the whole world. So take heed of the grumblings in your center and do not ignore the call to do good. Shine on and make the world a warmer place, no matter the cost.

blog 2-26-16

Captain basking in the sun.

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