for radically transforming ourselves and innovating society, if that’s what we’re up to. The pursuit of happiness is what leads so many people into food work to begin with, right?
When I started cooking as my job, I was absolutely looking for happiness. Frustrated with my office job, I resigned and opted to immerse myself in my ‘happy place’: the kitchen. Eventually, in culinary school, I found myself station-to-station with other people who too had gone out on a limb and into significant debt, in most cases, to pursue their passions.
So many of us get into food because we love it. And somehow, we often find ourselves in toxic work environments, barely getting paid enough to cover our bills, and too exhausted to enjoy time off with the people we love. Where’s the happiness in that?
Maybe something was missing from the roadmap to happiness? In Discussions on Youth, peacemaker and philosopher, Daisaku Ikeda, pulls from 20th century Japanese educator, Tsunesaburo Makiguchi’s Philosophy of Value, to ‘re-phrase’ what we are really looking for when we pursue our passions: beauty, benefit, and good. How can our work be something we enjoy (beauty), pay us well (benefit), and provide an opportunity for us to contribute to society (good)? That’s the sweet spot.
The path to creating beauty begins with a ‘human revolution’: a significant shift in the way we think, behave, and show up in the world. A process of stepping into our whole selves. Ikeda writes,
If we only repeat what we have seen and heard, we will never advance beyond imitation…We have to experience with the heart and express with the heart in order to innovate… It requires relentless searching and continual effort. Only then do we gradually acquire the ability to express ourselves fully and naturally.
Louise Ocasion, a corporate executive who enjoys rocking pink and purple hair, shared with Jihii Jolly of the Buddhability podcast how pursuing beauty, benefit, and good in her work helped her build a career she loves. For Ocasion, steadily reshaping what she thought she should do and how she should be, even how she should look, was critical. In pursuit of the synergistic trifecta, and really honing in on ‘good’, she went from modeling arrogance because she thought it was required to be successful to being on a mission to bring compassion to her work.
So, whose behaviors are we mimicking? Whose systems are we upholding? Where can we do some human revolution to make our work more enjoyable, beneficial, and ‘good’ for ourselves and the people we work with and serve?
In the spirit of re-shaping our values, specifically our societal tendency to gravitate towards adding ‘more’ when we want to change something for the better, in their Innovation Hub conversation on ‘Why It’s Hard to See That Less is More’, Kara Miller and architecture and business professor Leidy Klotz invite us to consider the value in the “noticeably less”. What can you use a little less of today to write your own recipe for beauty, benefit, and good?
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This week's newsletter is brought to you by Raquel C. Moreno, who cooks, writes, and tutors English as a Second Language in Philadelphia.
We are thrilled and grateful to have collaborated with Raquel through our Share Your Voice initiative, an ongoing effort inspired by the #sharethemicnow movement.
Yours in food, justice, and food justice,
Dor + Tay
photo by Christine Han