Worth, value, and the cycle of gift giving

Over the last couple of weeks, I have been considering some new ideas for the Westacre Spiritual Centre. I am developing a programme of one-to-one mentoring for younger or less experienced Pagans. The question, as always, is how to charge for that.

The whole issue has brought up a host of other thoughts about my worth, the value of what I give to the world, and the cycle of gift giving that keeps all of us alive.

Despite the insecurities we human beings so easily burden ourselves with, we each have our own intrinsic and inalienable worth. It simply comes from being alive on this planet. Everything that lives (and I have a pretty wide definition for what I would consider ‘alive’) is worthy of respect and of the freedom to flourish in its own way. Nothing can take that away from us.

From that intrinsic worth, all beings give uncountable gifts to the world. We are all part of the great cycle of gift giving that encompasses every exchange between beings in our ecosystem. You breathe out carbon dioxide, which plants photosynthesise so they can use the carbon for growing and the oxygen to give in return. That’s just a very simple example. We are all intimately interconnected in a never ending cycle of giving and receiving.gift-444520_640

As humans we also have a special ability to add value to the gifts we give each other. We can create beautiful and useful things that other people can use or appreciate or benefit from in some way. Our mutual gift giving adds wealth to our lives.

When it comes to selling my courses though, it’s hard to work out what exactly the value of my work is. I always put my heart into what I create, and do my best to make my offerings beautiful and useful to people. But what monetary value could I put on the time I spend mentoring someone?

Should I make my service cheap and accessible, by charging the living wage? Should I charge something equivalent to what I used to get for teaching Dutch in London? Or should I go to the other end of the spectrum and charge life coaching prices?

The truth lies somewhere in that range, but I have no idea how that monetary value compares to the value people get from my teaching and what they can afford.

There is this alternative that I have been considering for some time. It’s called ‘Pay What It’s Worth’. It would give my students the freedom to decide for themselves what value they get from my teaching. That way, I can freely give what I have to offer, and they can freely give in return, not necessarily with money. Our exchange would be a continuation of the great cycle of gift giving that we all belong to.

I really love this idea. I’ll probably give it a go. But first, I need to test out this mentoring idea. I’ll be offering it for free (yes, completely free) to the readers of the Westacre Newsletter. In exchange, I’ll simply be asking for feedback. If you fancy that idea, sign up for The Magic of Connection*.

*If you have already signed up for The Magic of Connection, but have not received a Newsletter recently, have a look in your spam box. They sometimes end up in there.

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