First new blog. It did take a few days, maybe even weeks, to get here. You know how it is now. Well, not now now, but the Big Now. I keep missing it somehow. It flits away with all of that Time it took me to get here. To Now. But that is probably another blog.
In the meantime, I have been reconnecting with my favorite writer and proliferator of the Gift Culture, Charles Eisenstein. It just so happens that he also wrote the forward to Mark Boyle’s new free book, “The Moneyless Manifesto.” I have not gotten into him yet but I will now. I am so happy that he is getting known and that Charles is one of the rare individuals that is walking his talk. It inspires me to trust that the gift economy can work. Someone had to trust the process and apparently that someone is Mark Boyle. Huzzah!
Ok, I need to backup. you should know a few things about me if you are going to support this blog and we are going to get there from here. I have been on the path to living in an intentional community for nigh on way too many years now. Why is it taking so long? Many factors that I will discuss in another blog. I am trying to focus on this gift economy idea and I am a boomer in more ways than one so, along the way I have been privileged to synchronicity and following the threads, as I like to refer to them, which continue to bring me around to why I am writing about participating in gift economy.
I have a love-hate relationship with money. I came into adulthood, sort of, that is still questionable actually, with no idea of what I wanted to be when I grew up. I stabbed at a career that brought me to my knees because I was clueless about ass-kissing my way up the proverbial ladder. My Dad was a regular guy. World War II vet, contractor, raising his three girls, happy as a lark and instilling in me that all one had to do was work hard and success would follow. Guess I was confused because I got a sort of education, worked stupid hard and never had fun or money. Well, some fun (from camaraderie with other slave-workers and some, but never enough, money.) From the standpoint of the compilers of polls, I am going against the status quo by even talking about my money. I have read the statistics that tell us that people share more about their sex lives, than they do about their income. At one point I swore to myself and my ex-husband that I would never work for a mortgage but then it just so happened that I worked for my (obscene California real estate) mortgage. As a matter-of-fact when I told him I was leaving him the first words out of his mouth were: “what about the mortgage?” Would you believe me if I told you that the minute I signed the fucking house over to him my life completely changed?
Everywhere I looked and went in my sweet little town was about the money. Gentrification had brought in folks who looked at me funny when I talked to them, friendly-like, in the supermarket check-out. “These are not my peeps,!” I cried and hightailed it. “This (being Life) can’t be about the money,” I said to myself, said to my boss (actually I told her “I gotta give back,”) and walked away from my corporate job with 401K, benefits and lots and lots of drudgery. Then friends started to give me money. Or a place to live. Or a job. I got to go places to meet my people. I did alot of healing and helped others to heal. I gypsied my way through most of my 401K and I began to understand the magic of following your Bliss. Problem was I had no clue what my bliss was. But NOW I do.
With regards to languaging and you folks out there that insist that I won’t have money if I keep saying I hate money and that it is evil, etc etc etc. and abundance will not flow to me if I don’t buy your book about it; what have you done with your money? Because what I have discovered is twofold. One: the more I make, the more I spend and two: when I have earned some money that accumulates beyond my actual living expenses I end up giving it away. I did this even before I took Charles’s ideas in his book, “Sacred Economics” to heart and also found out that in the money game someone always loses. If you are getting interest on your money, someone else is suffering. That made me think. I had and still do have a very small IRA and I stuck it in a no interest account. Probably dumb but I feel better and it is the only money I have for my little dream of having a home in an intentional community if that is what it is going to take. I would be thrilled if I actually got to share that money with my intentional community. I am probably a hypocrite for writing about the gift economy and having this IRA but life is a process and I am stuck in this crazy capitalistic culture just like you. I have issues around being safe and still have delusions about many things but let me tell you what I started out telling you.
Through no fault of our own (our being my husband George and I) during the times when we had extra money, and it wasn’t like I looked at my bank account and really knew I had extra money, people would show up in our lives that needed money. They weren’t asking for money. Well, a few in the form of the signed in front of Wal-mart were but no, these were my friends. Most of them single moms with kids. Some were Indians. It was never very much because I am not in the habit of carrying cash now but twenty here and there can make a big difference to someone who doesn’t have money to ride the bus. George was giving too and we hadn’t even talked about it. He would come home and say to me, “Gee, I met this guy on the plaza who was stuck here trying to get home because blah blah blah and since I had 50 bucks on me I gave it to him, hope we could spare it.” I fell in love with him again, and then with Kickstarter.
I never forget the folks who generously helped me out and had the pay it forward attitude because it was their giving that set my giving in motion and the circle is endless.
Pretty soon I was giving away all of my stuff.
Now there is a dangerous practice! Don’t say I didn’t warn you. It leaves a giant void and voids like to be filled. It takes diligence to not accumulate again, especially if you love a thrift store and have ideas to use all of that stuff in your crafts! Of course, the joy comes back when you give stuff away again and again and again, which I have.
I also want to mention the strangeness of how money appears when we need it. This usually happens when we need to make a big outlay in cash, like for the car insurance or dental work. It isn’t like I am not thinking about budgeting for it somehow but something always happens that brings in the amount we need and usually just as easy, something else happens that we need money for. The cycle goes on and on. It’s always something! But there always seems to be the money to pay for it. Maybe once we really go all the way, like Boyle did, this cycle will cease to exist. Makes sense to me.
For now, I have decided to participate in the gift economy as much as I can. Maybe it is a means to connecting in the way that I desire to connect with people. I obviously want to share my story or I would not be writing this. Who am I in this world to you? You might actually be someone who takes advantage of those less clueless. It is a risk I am willing to take.
So now I am making things from other things and with my stash of craft supplies, as offerings. I am asking that you give me a donation from your heart. Do you need an explanation of this? Maybe you do, so here comes another story:
In my experience when I have worked with say, a massage therapist who works on a sliding scale, I close my eyes and quite suddenly a $ figure pops into my head. That is what I pay. Sometimes it is more than I think I have but I still pay it because it feels right. Other people may need to live in their 3D reality with rent and food and still need to get a gift for someone so it is okay to actually do this: Look at my handmade whatever and think-OMG, So and So would Love this and look really good in it, and I could actually buy her something made with love and maybe recycles so I am spreading the love even though I only have 10 bucks to spend on her. Send me the offer. I need to cover materials and postage and honestly, I am experimenting with this idea and honestly right at this moment, I am disappointed because last week I put these, see photo, on a Facebook page I created called Art of Community, where I post give-aways and other artists can too. Could be the fucked up nature of FB but really? No one wants these? Are people afraid to make an offer? Now that is interesting to me. Do they have no friends to buy gifts for? Do they not need another thing (hurray for you!) Someone, help me out here!
Ok, I need to go make something besides words on a page……
Teaser: wait till you see the incredible art my husband George creates for your donation! His blog is Pagetopalette on WordPress.