The Wealth of Presence

“Life is what happens to you while you are busy making other plans.” —My father via John Lennon via Allen Saunders

The pursuit of wealth is actually just the pursuit of the experiences that having wealth affords us. Money, after all, has no intrinsic worth. It is just numbers and paper that we trade for experiences.

A rich life is what we are actually after, not the riches themselves. We want that which wealth allows us to do, who it allows us to be, and the experiences it allows us to have. The money is simply a means to an end.

Too often, however, we conflate the pursuit with the goal. We spend so much time chasing the means, that we forget about the end. We forget about our purpose and we forget to experience our life along the way.

Within every single moment, there are rich, meaningful experiences to be had if only we pay attention. These experiences cannot be bought back once they pass us by. Presence is the currency of true wealth.


Holistic Budo: As it is in budo, so too it is in life. As it is in life, so too it is in budo.

Robert Van Valkenburgh is co-founder of Taikyoku Mind & Body and Kogen Dojo where he teaches Taikyoku Budo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, as well as a founding member of the Severna Park and Baltimore Holistic Chamber of Commerce.

Artwork by Ana, except where otherwise noted.

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