“Is that what you think you’re worth?”
One of my favorite jobs I ever had was working on a farm. I was actually hired to be an actor on a pumpkin farm during harvest season. I just graduated college and was trying to thrive as a starving artist. The farm had a Theater in the Hay where I played Crash, a character from the city who races on a scooter into the theater, which was a barn with hay bales for seats, and nose dives onto the stage dazed and confused as to where she ends up. She learns from Farmer Joe along with a group of school kids what happens in a farm. There was a paper eating goat named Socks. A baby calf who Crash learned how to feed. (Some days, the poor calf had to sip on formula and Socks had to eat paper 16 times for 16 or more shows a day. Needless to say there was lots of improv). The best part, besides hearing 1st graders laugh at everything you did, was Mr. Retzlaff of Retzlaff’s Pumpkin Farm. He asked if I’d be willing to come out every morning at 5:30 to feed and water all of the other animals. I agreed and would get up at 4:30 every morning, take my coffee and egg sandwich in my little white Ford Escort to drive the 40 minutes to Cedarburg. It was quiet. Serene. Sometimes the only sound was llamas walking through the straw toward me because they knew they were going to get fed. After the first season I was there and it was time for pay, Mr. Retzlaff, a really grumpy farmer whom I loved (I seem to get along with such folk well for some reason), sat me down at a picnic table with his checkbook out. He asked me how much I thought I should get for my work. I had no idea. I thought about what actors made at that time for such things...which wasn’t much. Not thinking much about taking care of animals because I enjoyed the mornings so much, I gave him a number. He looked at me and asked in a scoff, “Is that all you think you’re worth?” I crawled into myself a little. He wrote out the check and handed it to me. My mouth dropped. It was 3 times what I thought was realistic. I felt like I struck gold. In more ways than one.
How many of us think we are worth less than gold? How often do we step back and rough ourselves up because we think we lack? This feeling of having to earn something because we feel unworthy? I need to remind myself that that is a feeling and not the Truth. The tool that has been most effective that started the erosion process to the center of my own heart is loving-kindness. Being gentle with the self. Besides being kind to ourselves within, we are surrounded with reminders of our worth without. Like a sunset. When the sun sheds its light in all its radiant colors that changes every millisecond, you can hear it saying, “I’m still here. I’m still here. I’m still here,” as it raises itself in the morning and settles in again and again at night reminding us as the colors soften in intensity, becoming tender with you, that you, that we, are worthy. May we all find the peace and joy knowing our worth - that every day whether you can see it or not, it’s still there. You’re strength. Love. Waiting just for you. You are meant to be here. You are brilliant and beautiful even when you have to spin through the clouds that hover sometimes. If it’s one thing I’ve learned through Heart and Heart Connection is the repeated mantra - I’m still here. I still see you. Just as you are. Just as you are. Just as you are. Welcome home.