I have to pause (again) my current 4-part series, Games of Unknowledging, for this one very important thermometer on life; a happy, thriving, giving life that most doctors, therapists, and altruists would also consider a most important check-up. I promise my next post will be the conclusion. Promise!
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How we define our worth often hinges on what others around us say and do, or don’t say and don’t do, correct? Afterall, how can our own self-perception be accurate, honest, and objective if we have nothing to compare by? What constitutes worth and what exactly are those litmus tests that define it? Are they accurate? How much attention and energy should we give to our worth, its creation and its perpetuation? Peter Gabriel had something to say, or rather sing about self-worth in his 1986 hit “Big Time,” remember?
No matter how we choose to measure our own worth, there are fluctuating degrees of external feedback we seek, consciously or subconsciously, and this can be healthy and/or unhealthy.
In our modern age of booming technology, something seemingly new every month, sporting frantic paces, competition, and only 24-hours in a day to get it, manage it and finish it, sometimes at the expense of restful sleep, the insatiable beast of technological-consumerism demands ever-growing absorption. I’m not sure how aggressive it is in other countries, but in the U.S. it’s not just fierce, it has reached the intrusive levels of addiction. Tristan Harris with web-portal Big Think:
So… how do you define your self-worth? One way? Two, three or four different ways? Share your thoughts about how to define self-worth, I’d like to know them.
Live Well — Love Much — Laugh Often — Learn Always
What do you think of when you read Abundance Without? What do you crave most to be abundant in your life?
For me it is anything and everything that I know and have yet to know that will push all five senses to new and strange realms where my soul is overwhelmed. Music, or hearing, or rhythm of life or vibration of someone is for me one of those mediums to another world. Follow me for a bit….every word and suggestion.
Press play, close your eyes and let the strings on his guitar, the rhythm and beat take over your pulse. Keep listening to it as you read the entire post. Let your soul move with all the instruments:
Let’s travel with some other senses; let’s stir them…bring them more alive.
Taste. A favorite wine of mine that I have recently discovered is from an Australian vineyard called Jacob’s Creek. I have found that I am very drawn to the bold earthy oak tones of Australian and New Zealand wines. In 2010 and 2011, poor seasons of Cabernet and Shiraz grapes limited the two wines. From the lack of an abundant harvest came one of their most superb blends: the Shiraz-Cabernet Sauvignon. When I have it in my mouth, I do not want to swallow…..EVER!
Smell. Jasmine. This spring our jasmine vines bloomed so brilliantly that with every breeze over our hilltop brought across the lawn and patio, through open windows, the sweet hypnotic aroma of jasmine. I wanted to bathe my nose and body in every vine. I was high on sweet jasmine all spring.
Sight. Here are a few of my favorites:
Touch. Silk and leather. A feather followed by cold chain-links. Soft wet sand in your toes on the beach. Wearing a thin soft terry-cloth shirt. The legs of a Monarch butterfly walking over your arm, or agave nectar running down your chin. The touch of a thin Chinese acupuncture needle. An unexpected long warm breath on the neck and shoulder.
Now imagine not having one of these senses.
A long time ago I was taught a life-lesson. You cannot fully know the heights of joy until you’ve known the full depths of despair. You cannot fully know the heat of love until you’ve known the cold pains of longing. And one of my favorite bloggers, Tracy Fulks, recently wrote about the same concept: You can’t keep it, until you give it away!
Ever understood why people who have had a near-death experience are forever changed? They find even the smallest things in life utterly beautiful and powerful. Why? Because they’ve tasted the edge of death. Some become the most prolific advocates for survival, disease-prevention or awareness, or hyper-awakened psychic abilities. The human body is the most remarkable healing, adapting, and evolving organism on this planet. When a person loses their sight, the other four senses become much more acute. Lose your ability to smell and taste becomes more acute.
Sensory deprivation is not all bad. In many cases it is the path to a deeper spirituality, a deeper appreciation and kindness for a more whole life, soul, and belonging. In Buddhism it is called nirvana and the attainment of it is life changing. Ever wonder why we have adrenaline? And adrenaline is just one chemical neurotransmitter in our bodies. When journalists ask combat veterans why, for the sake of sanity, would they sign up to be redeployed. Almost all of them answer “to be among my brothers in life and death.” Those extreme experiences bind those men-at-arms together for life as close as a mother to her newborn…or tighter.
I am not saying go throw yourself into a combat zone. Life (fully lived) is sacred. But what I am suggesting is that most of the hang-ups or fears we peace-living people have are illusions of mythical monsters. The commercial material things that consume our (American) lives, the daily bombardment of corporate marketing which pelts us in every possible way, the energy consumed to obtain those things we are tricked into thinking we must have are cluttering the true purpose and meaning of experience. One must soon ask… is a mellow, laid-back, blissful, peaceful, opulent, pain-free life really what our 75-95 years on Earth is about?
All the “things” we (Americans) think we need really doesn’t provide a complete more fulfilled life. Yes, our hard-earned money and exhausted energy for a paycheck DOES provide the upper 10 percent, and more so élite 1 percent, an extremely posh lifestyle – more than they and their next 3 generations could ever need. But what does all that toil really do for our emotional, physical, sexual, and spiritual well-being?
Here is one result of a growing disorder in America: gluttony…on several levels. It is too much of what we don’t need.
“At seven billion plus, the global population isn’t the only thing expanding; our waistlines are too. A team of U.K. scientists calculated that the people of Earth are now 3.9 million tons overweight. Russia and Egypt are among the top contributors. So is Mexico, which represents just a sliver of the world population. Who’s carrying around the most excess fat? Americans. Indeed, if all countries mimicked the U.S., the collective hike in world-wide heft would equal the weight of another billion people.” – Catherine Zuckerman of the March 2013 National Geographic Magazine
The higher the price of a home and its possessions, the higher the cost to insure it and protect it. But rest assured, banks and finance companies won’t ever tell you that. The higher the price and sophistication of an automobile (which puts carbon dioxide into our green-housing atmosphere) or automobileS in the case of two, three, or four-car families, the higher the price to maintain them, repair them, and insure them. But rest assured, auto-makers and dealerships won’t ever tell you that.
The following slide show conveys the different homes and possessions of five different families from five various nations of economic wealth:
The more time parents, brothers, sisters, or friends spend collecting inanimate objects or the latest high-tech gadgets, the less time and energy that is spent raising healthy well-balanced children, or making closer family ties, or as adults learning the necessary social skills to better succeed in an ever-evolving more DIVERSE and challenging world. The American corporate-driven consumer-materialistic mentality and generated motivation consequently nurtures a higher crime rate, homicide or suicide rate, higher court costs, higher legislation, and ever-expanding overpopulated prisons which also leads to a more fractured society of inequality.
Should I go on? I could but I won’t.
My purpose in sharing where real experience can be found and where intense living really exists…is already within each of us and WITH each other. It is not in a solitude-self cluttered by material things sucking up our valuable time and energy. It is not in a life lacking diverse changing human interaction on ALL levels of experience. It is within the many intense relationships we build with others – similar to combat veterans and the bonds they share with their brothers in arms – igniting ALL five of the senses. It is denying one to acutely enhance others, eventually overwhelming our soul, filling it, overflowing, and soaking it.
Challenging our internal emotions will conjure an expansion of sharpened feelings and adrenaline as well as strength. A favorite example of this challenge is a scene from one of my all-time favorite movies, Out of Africa. On a personal intimate level it reveals wonderfully the concept of abundance without; the surrender to mortality to have more life, embracing the practice of allowing and giving to gain unconditional acceptance and receiving. Or You can’t keep it, until you give it away as Tracy puts it so eloquently. Try to grasp what Denys Hatton (Robert Redford) is really saying.
I was unable to find this scene on Youtube so click here (at AnyClip.com) to watch the first scene, then watch the later scene below.
“I don’t want to find out one day that I’m at the end of someone else’s life.” What a profound truth of conformity or self-enslavement.
Not having something (temporarily?) can be just as abundant as having it. At the very least, when it returns, if it returns, your love for it, your gratitude for it, your appreciation, understanding, fondness, worship of it and all things meaningful…make it abundant in ways you hadn’t experienced otherwise.
What have you suffered for or denied that later unexpectedly came back in ways you thought unimaginable, dearer, and intensely sweeter?
…on myriad themes, including – but, not limited to – ancient Rome to cats (especially THEO!) to "The Walking Dead" to Amsterdam to atheism to hockey to "Everybody Loves Raymond" to "Les Mis" and almost ALWAYS quotes Emerson!