Uniting Work and Play Through the Gift

photo (15)

(Nature Art by Skye)

Uniting Work and Play Through the Gift

{Left Hemisphere}

{Link to Right Hemisphere}

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I would like to present an idea that has been developing throughout my experiences over the past few years. In light of recent perspective, I feel now is the time to devote more of myself to its creation. This timing is inspired by two prominent insights I am integrating into the creation process. The first is that allowing for the organic growth of an idea or a project aligns the process and product with growth rhythms found in nature – cycles of birth, exploration, growth, gestation, integration, death, and reflection. This encourages short term action steps while strengthening long term adaptability: natural emergence rather than top-down design. The second insight is that organic growth is enhanced, and its potential expanded, through the imaginations of many people; it evolves. It is time for feedback from the greater collective in order to help direct my efforts in the creation the idea I will be presenting.  Please feel the sincerity in my request that you take a moment when you are finished reading, check in with whatever it is you are experiencing – your reactions, thoughts, emotions, intuitions – and share that honest reflection with me.

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Bottom Up

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I am proposing the creation of a support network intended to create space for the freedom to discover, cultivate, and give back an individual’s unique gifts to the larger whole. The ‘web of relationships’ this network creates will establish the foundation necessary to empower individuals to transition out of unfulfilling life situations and into the journey of finding their unique creative passions. It will be a platform of complete support for those who desire to live within ‘the gift’.

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I wrote in more detail about what ‘Living in the Gift’ means to me in means to me in my other blog (The Right Hemisphere), and I will reference important points from that blog (although I suggest giving it a read through as well).

When living in the gift, we follow our excitement to create and our inspiration to give. We maintain a playful attitude in the search for our passions, learning to laugh when we fall. This playfulness is a powerful ally for dissolving the fears and limitations guarding us from our gifts. Maybe we aren’t sure what our gifts are yet, but through our play, we trust the feeling that we are getting closer to unearthing them as we surrender to the process. We learn to give freely, openly, and authentically through the inspiration of the heart, without the typical worries of the default world, like whether or not we can ‘afford’ to give.

Living in the gift is essentially an inner change of perspectives, shifting from fear, scarcity, and loss – to love, abundance, and flow. We trust that we will always have what we need because we learn to trust in each other’s gifts and the support of a community, living in an abundant world.

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Who’za Moola

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Living in the gift does not necessarily mean living without money (not initially at least). We live in a world that still uses the creative force of money to meet needs. The practice then, becomes the conscious re-telling of the stories of how money is used and what it means. The network I am proposing intends to create the outer environment that will be both a cause for, and a symptom of, the inner shift in perspectives described above. The environment we establish together will create space and support for the amplified cycling of gratitude between individuals and the larger community. At the heart of this web is money, and the healing of its associations to disconnection with each other.

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Rooting Disconnection

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Each day, the absurdity of the dominant value of infinite economic growth becomes more obvious and the strains being placed on our finite planet manifest as our consumption-oriented lives. Where does the drive for an insatiable material accumulation, the need to fuel growth beyond our sustainable means of long term survival, and the desire to continually consume all arise from? At its root, it is a disconnection from our selves and the world, of which we are a part. Feeling alone, anxious, and isolated in a world that is perceived as hostile and dangerous, seeds the impulse to expand our sense of self in whatever methods are available to us, be it food, material acquisition, accumulation of money, or the consolidation of power. The domain of the ‘other’ needs to be corralled and contained under the domain of ‘mine’, then we can feel safe and comfortable. From this perspective, it makes sense to want to control, accumulate, and dominate – but is this the most beautiful and creative story we can write for the world? What kind of life emerges from a story of connection, trust, love, and a value of giving within our communities? Both local and global?

 

Building Community

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My vision with this project is to facilitate the rebuilding of a sense of community that feels far removed from our current urban, and highly monetized lifestyles, with community woven through gifts. As a receiver of your unique and individual gifts, and you a receiver of mine, we are able to build a relationship that depends upon each other’s unique being for the meeting of needs. Our stories link us together. There is no one else like you. You are perfectly unique, despite the countless, inaccurate, and reductionist labels we attempt to place on each other. The depth of your being could never possibly be defined by any box, be it Canadian, Christian, Hippie, Conservative, Democrat, Baker, Truck Driver, Feminist, Vegan, Officer, Doctor, ADHD, Communist, Red Head, Native, Gymnast, Black, Autistic, Male, Female, or the like. Similar to any label used to define an ‘other’, financial transactions cut connections between people – “I don’t owe you anything, I paid you for that”. In practice there are exceptions to this, however in most cases payment means the end of any obligation.
Community cannot be something we simply add on to an already completely monetized society where all of our needs are met by strangers, through money. If all of our needs are met by paid specialists at a distance, what do we need our neighbours for? When the realization sinks in that we don’t really NEED many of the specific people in our lives, we start to feel into the disconnection we have created for ourselves. Again there are exceptions, but in most cases we can simply “pay someone else to do it”. We can pay another doctor, another farmer, another plumber, another specialist, if we destroy the relationship. Without meaningful relationships, the paid transactions of our lives leave deeper needs unmet – needs that are only filled through the gifts of those who’s stories we know and those who know our story. Our stories are told through our gifts to those we love.

Creating Depth

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Joint consumption does not draw from any particular individual’s gifts, anyone can consume. Our unique gifts and stories only emerge when we create together. And when we create beauty together, we begin to fill the needs that cannot be filled by paid strangers; meals always taste better when made by someone who’s story you know, and who loves you. It is through the sharing and knowing of each other’s stories that we feel more connected and a part of a larger community, expanding our sense of self through circles of giving and receiving.

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As we move away from the drive to grow infinitely, we desire to dive into a depth of relationship that spawns inner feelings of security and trust, replacing the all too pervasive anxiety and worry of the potential for things that might happen. When we have a community that we can trust to support us when our needs arise, then we have real security. I am grateful everyday for the experience of such feelings of love and trust generated from the support of a beautiful community. This is my main source of inspiration to devote more of myself to creating a similar space of support for others who desire to give freely of themselves. In a gift-based community, status and security are created through gratitude – the feeling of having received a gift and the accompanying desire to give in return. In regards to the function of money in this community, I believe we can use the symbols of money to be expressions of gratitude, building lasting relationships, rather than ending them in transaction.

Supporting Roots to Give

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The basic idea for the support network is the creation of a community through the connections of each unique individual who are willing to gift a monetary expression of appreciation on a monthly basis, with the intention of it freeing the giving and creative forces within the recipient. I have modelled the community network after a Forest – the individual seeking support would be a Tree, and those who support them are the Roots. Roots provide nutrients and water to the rest of the tree so that the tree is free to give its fruit of creation back to the larger whole.

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An example: someone feels as though they require $2000 per month to meet their financial needs to create (however they define that). This could easily be broken down between 50 “Roots” – or people who are inspired to support the “Tree”. If split between 50, this would equate to $40 per month, per Root. These numbers evolved from an earlier idea I wrote about called the Circle of Gratitude  – giving $10 per week to someone you are grateful for as a small expression of your gratitude. I feel as though it is manageable for most people to redirect $40 of out flow per month to someone they know personally and feel inspired to support in the pursuit of their dreams and giving of their gifts. Some Roots might be able to give more, some less, but for now I used $40 per month as an example.
The intention of this network is to free a Tree’s time from devotion to unfulfilling work, to feel secure in the pursuit of their dreams, and to freely give back the “fruit” (creations) they produce, however they are inspired to. Gifts are then created with the unique recipient in mind, purely as an authentic gift, born from a deep inspiration of gratitude and love for another, with no conditions on a return. Money can still be accepted in whatever way it is presented within the spirit of giving (encouraged!), we are simply removing the need for the giver to put a monetary value on the gift they created. Because they can always afford to, there is never a need to reduce a gift or one’s time.

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The Larger Vision

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Creating space for people to explore a different form of monetary flow is going to imbue money with new thoughts, feelings, and intentions. As the Tree opens to the flow of money in and out of their lives, being more conscious of where it is coming and going, they feel the force behind the flow and desire to use it in as beautiful a way as possible. Giving our gifts freely and authentically creates more abundance for everyone, and the cycling will generate ties of gratitude that strengthen relationships and the sense of community. As a Tree’s supporters, the Roots, desire to create a similar network for themselves, the Tree will be in a position and perspective of abundance that will empower them to also be a Root to other Trees, cycling the nutrients to where they are needed and freeing more creative energy for the giving of fruits. The deeper relationships will generate deep feelings of connection that will replace the false paradigm of disconnection, along with all of the illusory and temporary fills we purchase, reducing the need for money overall.

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What does this look like in the end? I have no idea, and feel as though it will look different for each unique relationship, as the balance between giving and receiving is explored. As it sits for me, I am looking for feedback, thoughts, ideas, perspectives, help, or anything you feel like sharing that would assist with the organic growth of this dream. I am seeking Roots to help me build a support for my Tree to thrive and give back more fruits. What would inspire you to be someone’s Root and to give some money to help a Tree grow and give back its delicious fruit? Would you be interested in growing your own Root system to free up your gifts? What resonates with you? What feels off about it?

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From the bottom of my heart, I thank you!

Any feedback can be posted here, sent to my facebook, or email @ [email protected]

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I will finish by bringing things full circle:

“An individual reunifies with the world when she seeks no longer to triumph over it or control it, but to give to the world and accept its gifts in the full recognition of gratitude.

That is what I call “Living in the gift.”

Harking to the hunter-gatherer, it is a state of abundance without control,

a state of creativity and growth without domination,

a state of ease that yet fosters exquisite mindfulness.

It is available right now.”

— Charles Eisenstein “The Ascent of Humanity”

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