The Spirit of the Gift: A Vision for a Gift Economy! With an Opportunity for a Gift from Me :)
Now, this may get boarder-line 'utopic' or 'fantastical', and it is... But, trust me I'll wrap it up in a 'practical' way! :)
Imagine, if you will, that everyone we interacted with (directly or indirectly) on a daily basis- our friends, our family, our bosses, our 'competitors in business', our clients, our 'customers', our hairstylists, our local farmers, our grocery store owners, our sprouted grain bakers, our artisan beeswax-candlestick makers, everyone- shared the same simple idea:
The more we gave, the more we had to give.
Imagine if we were all 'competing' to see who could give the most, opposed to whom could take the most. Imagine if our status in society was determined by how many relationships we've formed, by the quality and quantity of our giving, instead of our ability to take and hoard ($ in a bank account)? What if the 'Forbes wealthiest people list' was filled with those who had given the most, opposed to those who had taken the most and stored it away...
Imagine that suddenly, people are giving more freely, we do not worry about meeting our basic needs-they are being met and then some, as people are eager to help us meet them and share their gifts! World hunger would cease, as billionaires eager to maintain their 'status' started cleaning out their bank accounts from all their stagnant money!
Business would transform overnight as we would immediately be able to trust one another. We wouldn't have to worry about someone attempting to 'take advantage' of us, as it would literally be impossible to do so in this society. Economic exchanges would only take place when a gift was wanting to be given.
The stress and agony of doing something we didn't enjoy in order to take (the "economic man" going to a 'job'), would disappear!
Imagine if we could focus on what we love and what we'd love to give to others!
We seem to have lost what it means to truly give from the Heart. Not out of obligation, but out of a genuine innate desire to share. I believe all humans are equipped with this desire. I believe that when our needs are fully met, we immediately turn to helping others meet their needs. I know this to be true in my life as I have been fortunate to have created a life where I don't have to 'work' in order to meet my needs. My driving force to create, day-in and day-out is my desire to help spread the gift of freedom and abundance I am given. I have seen this same attribute in many others who, once their needs were met, eagerly sought to share their gifts with the world!
Flash back to when you were a child- the first time you were able to give a gift by yourself- do you remember the feeling? For me, it was an unmistakable feeling of pure joy. It was the moment I recognized my ability to help others feel joy! The feeling was priceless, literally, as all gifts are... It was when I realized that giving was an exchange greater than the sum of it's parts. That when I gave, I could feel just as good, if not better, than the receiver!
What if we could enjoy that pure feeling with every one of our interactions?
I'll tell you a few things... What would happen is that each item we had would be filled with the love of the person who gave it to us! Every item in our house would be a gift, infused with a story, worth more than money could buy! Junk items would disappear, we would waste a whole lot less as we would be much more inclined to repair and re-purpose a gift than some story-less 'thing' we bought. As we could always just buy another...
We would build stronger deeper relationships, and buy less as we shared more. Think of the growing season when we receive gifts from the earth (our gardens), how much more do we treasure that food compared to store bought; doesn't that tomato seem to just burst with flavor? Doesn't our gardens plead for us to share as it tends to deliver in an over-abundance.
Consider the difference between making a meal for friends as a gift and making that same meal as an economic exchange for money. I can tell you from experience, the second meal is of drastically lower quality (nothing compares to a good home-created, love and family infused meal).
Imagine a craftsman who makes a bed frame a work of art for his daughter, but because he has bills to pay, he unfortunately feels he has to quickly and lovelessly (with efficiency) make bed frames for market to sell. What is the difference in quality?
Our world is full with artists of every kind, artists whose true talents are wasted on a market that demands cheap and efficiency. We could live in a world full of gifts, beautifully crafted, and filled with love if we all just simply decided to give more!
I believe there is a universal principle at play:
That when we enter into the Spirit of the Gift; which happens when we no longer stress about survival, when we forget about taking, and focus on giving, the universe collaborates to bring abundance (which was there all along) into our lives!
I have experienced this time and time again in my life. The more I give the more I seem to be able to have to give, and the more I am able to keep giving!
I am dedicating my life to seeking to better understand this phenomenon. I am creating tools and systems, attempting to understand and share knowledge knowledge of the gift so that others main gain the confidence to enter into the Spirit of the Gift! By sharing this information and creating systems where this ideology is built in I can better realize the abundance in all our lives! Most of the time all that is needed is a shift in perspective (gratitude) to realize we have more wealth than we thought! Further, some tools help the mind down this path see A Framework For Decision Making to Create a Better Life (Step 1: What Do We Have)
A Gift For Yourself
If this resonates with you, I offer you a simple invitation. Next time when you feel inclined to give a gift, instead of simply being a consumer and purchasing something,- connect with your passion and create a gift from the Heart! Remember your childhood when you didn't have 'money' to drive the economy with, and all you had was gifts from the Heart to give? Create those gifts, and share them with as many people as you can, with no expectation of return (if you don't know of a good place to give them, simply try a street corner, knock on neighbors doors, surprise your whole office)!
If you love painting, paint as many pictures as you can! If you love cooking, create some meals to share. A writer, write poems from the Heart and gift them to people. A graphic designer (or anything technology based), get on craigslist or Simbi (a trade for trade, economy) and create pro-bono. If you're a billionaire, try buying up as much old growth forests as you can and preserve them! These gifts don't have to be only for humans, you can adopt a lonely animal, plant a tree, clean up garbage, defend a waterway... Whatever it is that you're best at, or that you love, do that and do it well! Try not to just buy some 'thing', but create gifts! You'll find through this exercise that you will get as much, if not more, in return for your giving (being careful to remember that not everything comes back as we expect it to.) As giving is not a zero-sum game.
*Sharing your intentions with others, not only gives other people ideas, but also solidifies your commitment! Feel free to comment here what you intend to gift, and feel free to share the experience! :)
In fact, as the spirit of the gift entails, anyone who participates in this gift exercise and shares their experience will get a gift from me! As I'm likely limited in possibilities (given the distance) I'll gift it in writing or currency. The choice is yours, share a comment or link to a post (if you write one) to receive it! :) I'll give gifts at the end of the week!
The reality of 'The Spirit of the Gift' is made feasible by: