This Priceless Life
A couple of weeks back I shared an excerpt from Robert Sardello’s brilliant book, Freeing the Soul from Fear. At the time I wasn’t quite sure why I did (share it), but since doing so my mind’s been circling the piece, mulling it over. On reflection, there’s so much I want to comment on I almost don’t know where to start; which is why I’ve decided to approach this issue from multiple angles over numerous posts.
Money is a central issue for most everyone living in our modern western world. The dominating myth in our culture is the ‘Economic Myth’ as Sardello so astutely points out (‘myth’ in this particular context is based on the definition of social theorist Betty S. Flowers who defines it as ‘the contexts of imagination that people live within, the concepts that gives meaning to our existence and forms the patterns of our actions in the world’).
The way I see it, most folk allow their intrinsic, innate self-worth to be defined by their salaries, the amount of money in their bank accounts, their collateral (combined value of property/car/business) etc. Hmm… Parochial, myopic, unimaginative (read: soulless) way of living, don’t ya think? How so? Well, in that we allow ourselves to be so narrowly circumscribed by one particular, essentially abstracted manifestation of energy, i.e. money. That’s the Economic Myth. Thing is, I no longer buy into it the way I once did.
Here’s the script: leave school, attend college, go to university, gain a degree, and get a job. Kids and spouse (or the other way around), be saddled with pile of bricks, sorry, buy a house (mortgage), plod towards retirement. The End. (Play golf, take cruises — hey, now we’re living!) There are, of course, numerous other distractions along the way such as fancy holidays/meals out, designer furniture/clothes, particular model of car (must always look cool/keep up with the Joneses); but that’s pretty much it. And so it is we allow ourselves to be defined by our qualifications, credit rating, postcode, and salaries. That’s how we weigh one another up, including prospective partners. Sad, eh?
Doesn’t matter they (partner) are the most miserable, miserly, narcissistic bastard the world has known — just so long as they’re bringing home the bacon on a regular basis, are good with the children; doesn’t matter they have nothing else going for them other than the job they’re married to; doesn’t matter they’re in love with someone else and/or sleeping with other men and/or women every night, so long as they come home to me/keep me in relative comfort.
I’m also suspicious whenever someone feels compelled (particularly unprompted) to tell me how much they earn. Like I give a toss? So you’ve made it now you’re earning £50,000 plus a year? Well, congratulations. However, forgive me for being passé but I’m more interested in you — your passions, your creativity, your gifts, the kind words you shared with a stranger last week, the time you took to do something for a friend in need. I want to know what you’d do if you didn’t have a pot to piss in. I want to know what compels you/makes you tick/keeps you up all night/the career you’d pursue if money were no object; the man/woman you’d be with if you wasn’t so bothered about how you’d potentially be perceived by your peers/family/friends, didn’t care what they had to say, about their opinions. I want to know if you have the bollocks to be true to yourself, come what may.
Yes, money makes life easier but it’s not the whole story; rather, it’s just one of the many forms of currency (or energy) flowing through the culture. You may not have a penny in the bank; have bailiffs knocking at the door; debt collectors ringing your phone off the hook; but that doesn’t prevent you being the most enriched, most talented, most generous individual when it comes to sharing your innate gifts, qualities, and talents. No-one was born impoverished no matter what our culture may try and have us believe.
So although you may earn a wage on which you can barely live/earn ten times what you need; have no money in the bank/have a billion stashed away, remember this — you are worth more than all the money, oil, gold bullion, diamonds, platinum, and freshwater pearls in the world put together — for none of those things have any meaning other than what we put on them. Your one and precious life, what you bring to this world, the way in which you express it, is unrepeatable, is priceless.
So stop allowing your financial worth to define you: you’re worth more than that.
You’re worth more than you’ll ever know.
Thea is author of the inspiring memoir Running into Myself. Buy a copy from Amazon UK, Amazon US or, better still, order a limited edition signed copy direct from her publisher here (also ships worldwide).
“Thea’s personal journey is utterly compelling. I couldn’t put her book down. Thea manages to make Greek mythology not only understandable, interesting, and relevant to our lives today, but shows how it can be utilised as a tool for self development. She introduces ideas and ways of thinking that broaden your mind, and lights the way for others to follow.”