Having been inspired by the work of Suzanne Rance, in particular her in-depth study of the English Runes (The English Runes: Secrets of Magic, Spells and Divination), I began to ponder on the meaning of Wealth; what wealth is, how do we measure it? and do I have any! the following are my thoughts on how I personally relate to the concept of Wealth.
In her book Suzanne writes about the rune Feoh which has the meaning Wealth and this got me thinking about what wealth actually is. One dictionary defines it a number of ways, the simplest being:
abundance of valuable material possessions or resources
But to me this seems too limiting and materialistic, for surely do we not value non-material possessions such as emotions, a sense of security, belonging etc? so I look to the second, more detailed, definition given in this dictionary
a : all property that has a money value or an exchangeable valueb : all material objects that have economic utility; especially : the stock of useful goods having economic value in existence at any one time
This too does not expand its definition to include ideas of wealth beyond the materialistic and is, in my opinion, woefully inadequate as a working definition for something so deep and important as wealth and how we measure it. No wonder the modern economies of the World are in such a state of degradation if this is the only working definition they have to base their policies and political decisions upon!
I cannot believe that the creators of the English Runic system had such a limiting definition of wealth. There world view was immersed in symbolic language and I am certain that their definition of wealth would have far deeper levels of meaning than simply material wealth.
Another important aspect brought out in Suzanne’s book about the English Runes is the idea that, to the Anglo-Saxon, the generous sharing of your wealth was important, that it gave you, what I would call, ‘Social Mileage’ in that it put you in good standing with your community and was a means to social cohesion within the community. This is an important aspect of wealth missing from many of the modern definitions of wealth. This is a grave oversight in my opinion and one to which I think it is worthy of giving some thought. It may be argued that this is still a selfish act, and this is very true, but looking beyond this we also see that it is in effect a win-win situation in that the health of the community is improved by these acts and, as we all live within the community, it benefits all. I would argue that there is no such thing, or at least it is extremely rare, that pure philanthropy exists, for we all crave, and obtain, some benefit from our philanthropic acts, be they material gain or simply emotional gain. Even those who do their charitable acts without ceremony or desire for recognition are seeking, and accept, the increase in their emotional wealth that this returns.
So, what are my thoughts about wealth?
If wealth is a measure of value then surely those things that I value add to my wealth! If those things which I give value stretch beyond the material possessions I own then I can no longer use the state of my bank account or the thickness of paper in my wallet as the measure of my wealth, but must look beyond the limited view of monetary values. In many ways by adopting the monetary accounting system but adapting it to include emotional, well-being and social ledgers helps me to see the value in my actions and to realise that monetary wealth is not the only wealth I have. The following is a record of some of the ideas and thoughts I have about what wealth I possess.
On the material level I have a job that provides me with the monetary means to provide for myself and my family. It allows me to provide food, water, shelter and the comforts of our modern life. But looking at the wiser definition of wealth I can also see that it provides me with the possibility to increase my emotional wealth by opening up myself to the idea of giving charitably and becoming more philanthropic. I can see how this would increase the emotional, well-being, and social ledgers and would balance the decrease in my monetary ledger. Money well spent, I think.
I have a wonderful life companion who is loving, trusting and supportive she provides me with vast amounts of emotional and well-being wealth to add to my ledgers. This one relationship is so dear to me that I would willingly invest all I had to support it, so great is the wealth I gain. But this also comes with responsibility to share my emotional and well-being gains with her, to support her as much as she supports me. This is something I’m happy to do, even if at times I might fall a little short. If you’re reading this darling, then I apologise if I short change you at times!
My four children and my grand-children provide me with great wealth and are a source of joy and wonder to me. Any costs, of any sort, involved in supporting my children have been greatly repaid many times over into my well-being and emotional ledgers. I do my best to share my wealth with them in any way I can and hopefully I have invested well into their wealth ledgers to give them a sound footing on which to build their lives. A return on investment indeed!
Walking the dog today I took some time to ponder the area that I live in. If I was to document this into my well-being ledger I would see that I am truly wealthy indeed. The sense of well-being and joy that simply hearing the birdsong and looking across the Dysynni river to the expanse of the Cader Idris mountain range is immense and fills my soul with joy, I’m truly blessed to live in such a beautiful land. I think I have enough savings in my well-being account to counter any loss in the material monetary ledger! and spending some time and/or money in protecting and developing my environment would be a great investment. No matter where you live you can find beauty and feel the sense of joy for your community and your local environment, and if your well-being ledger is being depleted because of local issues and problems that affect your local area you could decide to invest some of your time ledger into improving your local environment and get involved in local conservation or reclamation schemes, an investment well worth the effort if it increases your emotional and well-being ledgers, which it surely will.
I’ve just returned from a fantastic weekend with friends and I can attest to the fact that the return on the investment was well and truly worth it. My emotional and spiritual ledgers are now heaving with value, this is one of the reasons I have decided to start this blog! this is one way for me to pay it forward and spread some ideas which I hope will help others increase their wealth ledgers. It is well known and research backs this up, that the health and longevity of people is improved immensely when they have a good family and social circle to interact with. Yes it takes effort and sometimes money to keep in touch but the payback emotionally and in health benefits is far outweighs the costs involved. This comes with responsibility for it takes time and effort to maintain and it always takes two to maintain relationships. If you find a relationship is depleting your well-being ledger even though you are investing resources into improving it then you must make a decision, is the return on your investment great enough? or do you need to reevaluate your situation? Surround yourself with positive supportive people and the rewards will be many. This also means that you are also responsible to provide positive support to your family and friends for all transactions are two way processes, give as much as you take and share the joys of friendship far and wide.
My last thoughts dwell upon the benefits I gain from my relationship with all of the other non-human ‘people’ in my life, and indeed around the world. Starting with my gratitude to the animals that share their lives with me; my two dogs who are always pleased to see me and are a joy to share my life with, the wild life outside my door from the birds who are a joy to hear and watch – to the badgers that leave their evidence of nightly activity around my house, the insects that help maintain a balance in my garden and to the bees that I support at the end of the garden and provide me with hours of entertainment and joy, not to mention the small amount of honey they gift to me each year. Then I have the non-animal ‘people’ the rocks, rivers, mountains, trees, clouds, rain, wind etc. all those non-human or animal beings that I have relationships with and who bring me great joy. It is with a willing heart that I would gladly invest my time, energy and financial resources to protect them all for the pay-back is immense.
So, I hope you’ve enjoyed my rambles and pondering’s and hopefully you will pop back every now and then to read my recordings of the thoughts that arise in my mind, and hopefully offering some inspiration.