It is after midnight as I sit on my camper in a parking lot in Fernley, Nevada. I just finished driving myself and three fellow adventurers almost 1000 kilometers today, starting at 5:30am. The entire journey to Burning Man totalling over 2100 kilometers, with 150 to go. This entry is not about the excursion to the Burn, however, it is about the ten days leading up to it in my hometown of Calgary.
Upon returning from Shambhala this past month, I again bade farewell to my lover as she returned to San Diego. Our plan is to reconnect at Burning Man and continue on to San Diego afterwards to co-create a sustainable foundation for our dream of traveling, as our service to the collective. With August marking another step into a deeper understanding and embodiment of living in the gift, I found myself requiring some extra creativity in order to generate enough value for others so they would desire to support my needs. A whole range of gifts emerged for the Calgary community over that short time; my passion ignited by the vision of the dream being created.
During my last week in Calgary, I opened myself up to be of service to those who invited my gifts, and to receive whatever support was reciprocated in return. The practice became one of the deepest experiences of heart-based service, and what I like to call “giving around the corner”.
Giving around the corner is what we do when we give a gift to another without any conditions (as any true gift would be), and open ourselves to receive from another source, in another way, at another time. The joy and excitement of the practice of giving around the corner is that you have no idea when it will happen, who it will come from, and what it will be. Making the connections between gift and reciprocation is impossible – the practice is merely one of trust. Trust that you will have exactly what you need, when you need it.
The reason this “giving around the corner” practice went hand-in-hand with my experimenting with heart-based service is because to make a decision from the heart (as to where one should place their energy and attention) is often the choice the mind considers to be “impractical” or a “waste”. “Isn’t there something you should be doing instead of that thing you want to be doing?”. The mind enjoys calculating potential cause and effect relationships when deciding what action to take. When this is coupled with the fear of scarcity (not having enough), we often feel as though we are wasting our precious moments when we are not doing something that we feel will ensure we are “getting ahead” in this competitive race of life. How do you know whether spending half a day on your website is going to be more beneficial than a half day reading? How do you know if you should go to that networking event, work all night, or devote an afternoon in complete presence with a loved one? Which is the more practical choice?
This is where “giving around the corner” comes in.
For an entire week I was waking early and going to bed late. My days felt like triple days – three in one – and I have never felt more productive. I was not paid through transactions. Money was given and received through free choices in gratefulness – no forcing or pressure. I responded to invitations of service expressed to me from community. I was present with people because I didn’t have somewhere else to be (even when I did, my practice in timelessness kicked in and I relaxed into the flow of the day, allowing it to unfold naturally and encouraging me to be present). I gifted my Self completely and freely to anyone who desired to receive. I felt like I had the most productive week of my life, and the response was truly inspiring.
This is my work. As I gifted my time to those who requested it (as a variety of needs), I did so without the expectation of returns. I was choosing freely how to be and what to do; it didn’t matter if anyone showed up or received my gifts. I am doing it anyways and enjoying myself immensely. That is what enables me to give without expectation. That is what pulls me deeper into trusting the gifts being sent around the corner, as well as the eventual, unexpected, and exciting reciprocation. The side note to this returning of the gift is that you must truly be empty to receive, for nature will always fill the valley. Giving may leave you empty, but your emptiness will pull new gifts to you.
And now, sitting here, hours before entering into the transformative Burning Man experience, I find myself finally allowing the emotional release to happen. I really have no idea how to thank you all for the incredible generosity you have shown me. I sit here knowing that were it not for you, I would not be here receiving this opportunity. During my practice of presence and relationship building I finally found myself connecting to others in the ways I had dreamt of. We were sharing our creativity. We were sharing our stories. We were connecting and bonding through the giving and receiving of our unique gifts in solidarity. For that, I thank you.
To gift money to another is an incredibly generous gesture. To have been given the exact amount of money that I needed to get here is now really not that much of a surprise (happens multiple times). The surprise was that we actually did it. And I could not have done it without you – each and every one of the people who believe enough in what I am doing that they would gift me money to see me off on another crazy adventure. I have no idea where it is headed but I know that you are all with me and I am with you. And for that you have my eternal gratitude.
Gratitude is more than just a feeling. It is also an honouring of a gift. To let a gift stagnate is not to honour the gift, nor is it to share the gratefulness that a gift can generate. You have given to me in support of the giving of my gifts and I am devoted to honouring that generosity. I am filled with the inspiration of gratitude and deeply desire to continue to embody my mission more fully in service to that gratefulness.
This week at Burning Man will be my next opportunity to be of service to this new story we are co-creating. Each one of us is writing our own chapter and adding feedback to our fellow authors. This is the new story we are enacting and embodying each and every day. Our actions have consequences much farther reaching and in ways we can hardly imagine. It’s the little gestures of kindness, generosity, forgiveness, truth, and attention that send out ripples of change. Together we are healing the wounds of separation and returning to the unity that is our birthright on this planet as the collective tribe of humanity.
I am continuing my journey into living in the gift and my embodiment of heart-based service. As I enter into Burning Man I open myself to receive from community in whatever way they choose to support. I respond to invitations as they arise and trust that my giving around the corner will always ensure that I have what I need because I am offering the same support to others. This only works because we come together in solidarity and in community. If you wish to give monitude (money as gratitude) to support my work, please do so in complete trust that I will use it in the best way that I know how to continue giving of myself to the collective.
The intention of gratefulness behind the money is what is important to me. It is the relationship that is important to me. It is sharing the message that we are all supported that is important to me. It is time to release the floodgates of creativity, inspiration, and excitement across the globe to free Humanity’s gifts of love in the devotion of the more beautiful world we know to be possible.
How can I be of service?