What am I worth?

I am worth everything. And you are too. Though, out there, such a fundamental truth isn’t always easy to hold onto. . .

This is a blog post is about value; what we are predisposed to value within one another, and how that sense of value can limit us as human beings.

I’ve been back in Scotland for over two weeks. After an intrepid journey about happiness I am, at last, home. Yet it has been no easy thing to return after 18-months on a bicycle. Now I am back, I’d like to take all the very beautiful things I have learnt from my journey about living a happy life – the personal and societal – and apply them as fully as I am able.

But it is not that easy. There are obstacles.

What do we value?

I experienced an overwhelming sadness the other day. It was triggered through my deliberations as to whether I should buy the organic lentils or the less expensive non-organic ones. A fairly minor event, really, but contained within that little deliberation, and the sadness that seemed to flow from it, was the awareness that, at present, my full participation within society and my ability to take care of myself, is hampered by perceptions of value that have come to occupy not only our social spaces, but our psyche too.

Our thoughts and responses are conditioned by the values which society, of which we are a part, has imposed upon us

It was that awareness that inspired me to leave on my cycle journey to Bhutan. I knew there could be a different way. Though, admittedly, before I left, because I had managed to package myself in line with societal perceptions of value, I rarely had to deliberate too deeply over what food items to buy to best look after my body.

My worth in Edinburgh

I’ve been hobbling around Edinburgh the past couple of weeks. On the journey home, I think somewhere down in Lincolnshire, I got bitten by a horse-fly. The wound then got very severely infected and I’ve been needing medical attention every other day. That has made having neither an apartment nor a job to come back to more challenging than it would otherwise be.

I got followed around by a security guard at a food store the other day. That was crushing. It is difficult to find public spaces where one doesn’t have to continuously consume. Most things seem to have some sort of price tag attached to them. Though, I am hugely grateful for the National Health Service.

I am having the sort of experience that I used to only write about before – having life circumstances that can very easily leave a person feeling of little worth. Not because a person is inherently of little worth, but because self-worth can be heavily bound up with how much a person earns and what that then allows them to have. It is not easy for anyone to see beyond the earnings and the possessions, and into the real person behind them, sometimes.

People might ask what I do, and they will see what I have. I did cycle to Bhutan, and I only have what I can fit on a bicycle. Is that enough? I think so. I know so. Even before the journey, I was enough. Though it took the journey I made, stepping away from where I have now returned to, to fully recognise that.

Sharing unique gifts

I am grateful to have such a strong support network in Scotland. It has made things much less challenging these past weeks. Inside people’s homes I feel safe, seen, and valued. When there is effort to create deeper connections and intimacy with people it is often much easier to see beyond what is earnt and what is owned.

Sometimes, we may get to see people’s real gifts, the sort of things that are little explored because it is so difficult to get beyond the economic perceptions of value, and the resultant economic hardship that it can produce. It constrains who each of us can be. It blocks our full human potential – we are each much more than numbers.

I have come to learn, what with how busy people can be, that being fully present with another can often be enough in itself; and that, along with my capacity to use words to communicate deep and meaningful processes, is something I am trying to cultivate more fully in my life. Yet, of course, being adept at such things may not be enough. I’d need to find a way of marketing these gifts too, to earn a little crust, and that may just take away something from what it is I could really contribute to life.

But first you must see the picture, see the world as it is, with its national divisions, with its cruelties, ambitions, hatreds, and controls. Then as you see it more clearly, you will find that right means of livelihood comes into being – you don’t have to seek it.

***Thank you for reading. In case anyone feels to worry for my well-being based on this post, my leg wound is no longer critical and is healing well, and I am not experiencing economic hardship. I am fortunate. I am well supported. I have space. I struggle. I am human. My words are gift.

4 comments

  1. It’s good to hear your leg is on the mend,and I am heartened to hear you are in good spirits and you are not living in a cardboard box,I’m sure you will be gainfully employed within the near future,all the very best my son,Dad xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hey there again , fellow journey man . Back ‘ home ‘ after quite some time ‘ on the road ‘ . The fact that your immune system is down should not come as a surprise . Mine was as well and the dormant Zoster virus reared its ugly hear on my return …
    I gather you learned a lot or should I say , you learned that there is so much more to learn … In search of meaning in a meaningless universe could keep people like you engaged with the mysteries of this universe for years to come . The gift and curse of conscious awareness will amaze you , the material world dazzle you with all its splendor , emotions colour or cloud your experiences and remind you that being alive is a dangerous but exciting dance between ‘ success’ and ‘ failure ‘ , joys and sorrow .
    Look deeply into the essence of human freedom and you will grasp its radical mature , too frightening for most …. Philosophy could be your guide , great minds have struggled with this idea , leaving the messages of religious certainty behind , venturing out into the unknown ,,the unpredictable , the risky and as some would call it , the terra incognito of Samsara …
    Your journey has only just begun , young man … your challenges are universal , your good mind is your treasure , your discoveries will lead you towards the deeper understandings and the supreme value of relationship.
    Cheers
    Elmar

    Liked by 1 person

    • 🙏 – thank you for these words…yes the wonder of this life will keep me engaged for years to come…sometimes there will be joy, other times sorrow, but all-ways a deepening…the supreme value of relationship – I am already there in the knowing, next comes the enacting!

      Like

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