Gift Economy is a form of economic exchange which allows us to feel our own sense of value, to appreciate the experience of giving and receiving, and to humanize our money-matters, placing them in the context of community enrichment. It works like this:
I give a gift; my gift to you, and the community, is providing a space, structure, and facilitation for The Work That Reconnects. I give this gift joyfully, from my heart, and enjoy giving it. As the receiver of this gift, you are fed and nourished (hopefully!). You are naturally inspired to give a gift in return, in the spirit of reciprocity, balance, and mutual support. Everyone is empowered to enjoy the process of giving a gift from the heart, supporting and strengthening the community. In this case we are talking about a monetary gift. The “amount,” or “value,” is up to you. This is an incredible opportunity to look at our sense of value; how and where do we use our resources? What do we place value on in our lives? What does money mean in our hearts? What feels good to give, from a place of being nourished, supported, and supportive? It also allows us to respect the fact that different people, at different times, are in different relationships with money, and that a “gift” can look many different ways depending on your situation.
Gift Economy is also an effort to deconstruct and counteract the dominant capitalist structures, which try to assign value to things for us, and demand that we play along in order to keep afloat. Giving a gift is a choice, made from the heart, which allows you to decide for yourself what “value” is.
This is a paradigm shift, which I think metaphors are helpful for wrapping our heads around, so here is one: Rather than me being the deliverer of goods, that you must then pay for…instead we are all sitting around a table exchanging gifts. Your gift is just as valuable as mine. What you give, both in your presence and your monetary contributions, is as valuable as what I give. And we are all richer after sitting around the table together, giving and receiving gifts. No one feels depleted.
SO, the amount of your gift is up to you. Maybe you want to give your gift as a larger sum up front, because it makes you feel good to have expressed your commitment and value in that way. Maybe you want to give your gift monthly, because it enables you to be flexible and give more some months than others. Maybe you come up with your own structure. I am happy to have a conversation with anyone who needs support in figuring this out. MY ASK FROM YOU: For me, giving this gift, I want to be giving it to people who are going to be there! Missing a meeting here and there is no problem, and of course we know that life happens sometimes. If you opt in, I would hope that you are able to attend at least one meeting a month, and to honor the group by showing up throughout the three months.