Posts tagged #gift economy

Tithing as a Way of Living in the Gift

The following is from my work-in-progress, The Love Revival Guide to Hustling-to-End-Babylon Tithing is an ancient spiritual discipline that fosters gift culture.  It invites the divine to be present in your life in a way that connects you to others and ultimately supports your prosperity in such deep ways that it’s almost difficult to fathom.

To tithe is to regularly give ten percent of the money that comes in to your life to an organization or person or community who spiritually nurtures you.  I’ve tithed to the Evolver Network, the Hare Krishna Kirtan Center in my town, the Unity Church, and people and authors who inspired me.

Tithing is a way of beginning to live in the gift and gradually expanding our consciousness of our oneness with others.  It’s a concrete, disciplined action that helps us surrender our attachment to the fruits of our labor (a main suggestion of the Bhagavad Gita, for those of you keeping track) – and to rest in trusting Source rather than trusting in our own highly fallible powers and in the power of money itself.

I love to tithe because it opens me up to the awareness that I do indeed have so much to give, and that my gifts can make a dramatic impact to uplift and improve organizations and people that I already love, who are already making my life better and giving me strength to face the work of ending Babylon both in the world and in my own soul.

When I started tithing, I not only had a tiny income, I had minimal faith in myself to succeed at anything outside academia (which I was starting to realize I didn’t like). I had little connection to spiritual community, and no sense of myself as a leader.

It was terrifying to begin tithing, since I was like – hey – I already have just enough money to cover my bills and very simple pleasures like French fries at Eat’n’Park on Saturday night – what the hell is going to happen to me if I just give away ten percent of it as it comes in?

What happened to me was that I gained the increase of the gift that we talked about earlier.  The sacred, intangible-yet-powerful uplift of goodwill, hope and faith that comes from deeply receiving from organizations and from people to whom I had deeply given.

I began to experience myself as a member of spiritual community in a much more visceral way than I previously had.  I became more committed to the organizations I tithed to, I spent more energy in applying their resources or spiritual teachings to my life (I wanted to get my money’s worth!).  I leaned on them heavily when I felt down.  And what happened was that they gave me much: healing, love, deep recognition of my spirit and talents – the courage to leave academia and go out into the world and make things happen.  I gained optimism and energy to create true wealth for myself and those around me: vital health, harmonic relationships, material bounty.

The increase of the gift doesn’t happen if you just give to some organization and some person and don’t also receive from them.  Thus, giving to charity is a joy and a recognition of universal sister- and brotherhood, but unless you’re humble enough to stick around and also receive from the person you’ve blessed with your charity, it’s also not a sacred gift relationship in which you can experience the healing effect of the increase.

The increase of the gift is experienced on the return movement of the gift.  In other words, the most potent magic of gifting happens not in the moment that I let go and give, but in the moment that the benefit of the gift comes back to me through relationship – expanded into something  transformative that I couldn’t foresee, predict or control.

I think of tithing as a way to actively counteract the temptation to hoarding and isolating that debt-based currency inherently carries.   Tithing doesn’t detract from the need for us to come up with a different fundamental economic system than the one we presently have, but it does go a ways towards neutralizing some of the deleterious effects of debt money on our experience.

Posted on August 30, 2012 and filed under Generosity.

Living in the Gift Interview with Andrew R. Long

 

Andrew R. Long runs the wonderful Excellence blog.  He's someone who not only thinks about gift economy and the gift world, but who actually takes phenomenal steps to put it into practice — he's not philanthropist-style rich, but he's giving away thousands of dollars this year as part of his Get Giving Project.  Which I find intensely admirable and fascinating.

Andrew and I share a commitment to giving and - what's a little more rare - a mutual distaste for interest and usury. ;)  He interviewed me in the fall and I got to thinking I would really love to interview him.... so I did!

We tried doing a video interview (since I hear those are the kinds of thrills and chills the interweb loves these days) but it failed to record properly. So now we bring you... a good old-fashioned text-based interview!

Carolyn: Okay-- so how about -- tell me how you first got interested in gift economy stuff?

Andrew: It was a combination of reading Douglas Rushkoff and Charles Eisenstein. Rushkoff came first with the excellent Life, Inc, which alerted me to the degree to which modern consumer society has been created by and for the large corporation, and how society used to be arranged in a fashion that was more conducive to what today we'd call 'the middle class'. Rushkoff is really good at articulating what it means to make a profit, and the mechanism by which profit is made. Eisenstein recently came out with Sacred Economics, which digs quite deep into the idea of a gift economy. And before that, it was Lewis Hyde's 1983 classic "The Gift", which is probably the best anthropological or ethnographic treatment of gift societies.

What all of these writers really conveyed to me was that there was something natural about gifting, and that explained to me why the for-profit world always felt so twisted.

Carolyn: Wow, you just said it-- that's what resonates about it for me. Where do you feel you see the most twistedness in the for-profit world? (and as I ask that I realize it may be hard to choose)

Andrew: People thinking they have to turn themselves into mini-corporations just to survive.

Really, that's what disturbs me the most -- people see that big companies have all this money, and power, and they decide that that must be the way to do it, so they essentially emulate the corporate form, right down to creating their own personal corporation -- and the crazy thing is, that's not a crazy thing to do. It actually works! If you want to be seriously self-employed, you don't just start working with clients -- you incorporate as an LLC and pay yourself a salary and (the corporation) pays a lower tax rate and so forth and so on.

The modern corporate world has really changed the game -- in order to transact or do commerce now, there's got to be this layer of a corporate structure that mediates between people. That's what I dislike.

Carolyn: That's a really interesting point you raise-- I've just begun my self-employment and it's just really hit me that the tax rates I'm expected to pay are crazy-- but the thought of making myself an LLC gives me the chills.

Andrew: Yup. My sister is a successful self-employed writer and I helped her set some of this stuff up. I guess you don't have to view it as pathological -- certainly it's rewarding to be your own boss -- but as Rushkoff points out so adroitly, it's really a problem that the world is now built on a corporate scale, which is much bigger (and less humane) than the human scale. The corporation doesn't care about you. People in the corporation might, but to the extent they obey the corporate bylaws and follow the policies, they can still act as a group in a really inhumane way.  Look at Apple (and other tech companies) and the worker's conditions in Asia where the products are manufactured. Horrible stories come out of there! But you know what? That's actually capitalism working! Production is taking place where the cost of production is lowest! It's efficiency! It's working!

Carolyn: Horrible stories indeed-- I just started talking to my students this semester about the ills of corporatism-capitalism and they get it but they're all like, "But what are we supposed to do? We're marketing majors!" and I'm like... "Well, we need to get creative about changing stuff, because the current employment landscape undeniably puts us in compromising situations just to live..."-- I feel those compromises myself all the time. I'm wondering-- what are your thoughts about what people like us and even younger people like my students can do to get along in the world as it is while helping to move us into a more sustainable, gift-intensive future?

Andrew: Well, I'm incredibly optimistic at the level of awareness and hope that people younger than me seem to have. Occupy is just one example.

The basic thing, I think, is to cultivate a personal integrity. What I mean by that is be informed, and from information you get, make a decision about what you're going to do. Where does your coffee come from? Where do your clothes come from? What is your company doing in the world, really? What system(s) are you contributing to? And do those align with the most beautiful world you can imagine? It sounds really idealistic when I type it out, but I have to remind myself that the Founding Fathers of this country were idealistic (though not ideologues). The other thing, of course, that I would encourage everyone to do right now, young or old, is to throw away anything that isn't working and give your gift, wholeheartedly, and trust that your needs will be provided for, one way or another.

Carolyn: That last sentence so resonated with me.  It's the essence of so many spiritual teachings, and I think about it all the time. I know that that trust can be tough to cultivate-- we get so many messages that are anti-trusting-- things like, "You have to save for retirement! And have excellent health insurance! Or else you'll die alone in a gutter and no doctor will touch you!" Which is part of why I felt so touched when I learned about your experiment this year in giving money away-- something many folks who aren't uber-rich are very shy about doing. Could you talk about what's motivating that experiment and how you came to the place of trust that makes you feel good about doing it?

Andrew: The Get Giving project really just came out of realizing that I didn't have anything left to buy. You know all those studies about how happiness doesn't increase above a certain income level? Well, they're right. I've also made some fairly unusual (I think) choices in life, such as not having a mortgage, not having a car, not owning pets or raising children at this stage, so I can keep my expenses pretty low. It really boiled down to - I have the money, and I have my every material need taken care of and then some, and I know many people who don't have their material needs taken care of, so why wouldn't I give? It really just became a mental place where I couldn't not do it. This was a pretty big deal for me, personally, because I grew up in a fairly chaotic environment, and all my life I've been a big worrier -- mostly about my own security in the future. And then I had the realization that there was literally no pile of money big enough to calm my worry. And once that happened, I realized that the pile of money I had accumulated to date was really irrelevant. Plus, I was earning interest on it, and that also sort of became reprehensible to me. I realized that my interest earnings could be some other guy's foreclosure notice. Like, I may not be Scrooge McDuck, but I was paying somebody else to be for me. I was making money by having money. And what kind of sense does that make? I mean, really?

Carolyn: Oh boy, yes.  I remember reading in Lewis Hyde's book about how interest and usury used to be considered sins, abominations... money growing out of money.  Which was thought to be unnatural and monstrous, like cancer.

Andrew: Yup. If you look at our economic system today, it's just all wrong. The underlying conceit is unlimited growth, and that's plain crazy. I recently read Clinton's latest book, Back to Work, and it was just "jobs, jobs, jobs." And the crazy thing is, he's right -- we could have more jobs, and we could have more growth. But we're at this brilliant juncture in history where we actually have the opportunity to ask, Is that really what we want? Like, let's say the GDP starts growing 10% a year. Is that really going to make me happier, personally? Because I'll be able to buy more stuff? What would actually make me happier is if I could work 10% less and have 10% more amazing conversations with my friends, or 10% more sex. Or 20%. Or 30%, you know? In the modern age we seem to be collectively confused about what actually makes life worth living.

Carolyn: I hear you. I notice that the more I let go of my concerns about security and practice generosity, I seem to center myself in the present and become available for better relationships, which surprised me when I first noticed it. Have you found an unexpected spiritual or emotional (or otherwise) benefits to your practice of giving?

Andrew: I would say it's calming. And it generally gives a big rush of energy when you let go of a substantial amount of money, and send it on to somewhere it can do more. I really think money has a spirit, in a sense, like it wants to be used and spent and put to a good use. And that's certainly not happening if it's sitting in my bank account.

Carolyn: That's a beautiful truth, about money having a spirit and wanting to move. I can see how keeping it in a bank account is a bit like caging an animal that wants to roam.

Andrew: For sure. If you think of money as energy, then we have these massive pools of energy just sitting around in the banks and the corporations right now, going nowhere. And at the same time, there are huge challenges facing humanity right now, like our climate, and we're doing virtually nothing. Even though we have the resources! It's a form of madness that I believe we're slowly recovering from.

Carolyn: I agree-- it looks like more and more people, both within and without those institutions are realizing the madness and wanting to put a stop to it.

Andrew: Likewise :)

Carolyn:   :::warm fuzzies:::

Love & anarchy are what keep your dreams high-stakes and thrilling

You're tired of being exploited by systems and institutions that take advantage of your labor and leave you with barely enough to live on.

You're tired of seeing it happen to everyone around you.

You're hungry for change that's real, that's lasting, that's beautiful.

You're willing to do whatever it takes to make that change happen through joy rather than violence.

And you want to thrive along the way.

Me too.

Welcome to Love & Anarchy.

I believe that deep success, real success, entails creating a world where everyone has enough and all our resources and knowledges are held in common.  The kind of success that says, "I've made it big! And all you guys can either go bugger off or pay me lots of money to learn my secrets!" is no success at all.

I'm interested in transitioning to a world without interest-bearing debt-currency.  I'd like to live in a society that engages in sacred gift economics.  I work towards this by offering my book for free and my one-on-one coaching at a low-cost. I'm interested in exploring more of what it means to live in the spirit of the gift.

Revolutions that result in the same-old-same old domination games bore me.  So do revolutions that are just  New Age  metaphors for attitude shifts.  I'm excited by the thought of real revolution -- a fundamental change in the way that we live together and organize our resources.

I'll be offering you stories and helpful ideas from my own path of evolution and from inspiring folks all over the earth.  The days of "personal development" are over.  No genuine personal development can happen in isolation from societal evolution.

It's clear to me that love & anarchy are two primary ingredients of every human soul and imagination.  Our night-time dreams are lawless gifts that come with no price and no condition. They have important things to teach us.

I don't believe we can make cultural evolution happen without giving deep attention and honor to our own inner landscapes of dream and archetype.  Within us are the symbols that will found a fresh world.

This site is a bright hearth for you in the strange and liminal world of spirituality, gift entrepreneurship, and radical politics.

You're so welcome here.

 

 

 

 

Image: [eflon]

Living in the Gift Interview Series: Matthew Stillman - Part 1

  httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UFvhzwApoPc

This is the first part of me (Carolyn Elliott) interviewing problem-solver extraordinaire Matthew Stillman of stillmansays.com about creativity and living in our genius with grace.

I asked Matt to tell us about his radically generous experiment wherein he sits in Union Square and helps folks solve problems.

I also asked him an ever-thorny question: how do we make a living while living in the gift?

We touched upon Jesus' far-out injunctions, Charles Eisenstein's gift business model and the importance of getting in touch with our own inner greedy stock broker.

An illuminating and wonderful time. Part 2 coming soon.

Please excuse any awkward cuts. I kind of suck at iMovie right now.

 

Love!

Carolyn

A Sexpot Star + Your Heroic Journey + Money as Debt

[Whenever I send out a new letter with 3 gems from the interweb, I reprint one from a month previous right here.  If you want to catch the gems while they're fresh and hot, go ahead and sign up for the letter here.] Dear wonderful genius,

This week we're a little off-schedule because I spent two days on planes travelling to the small town of Cuttack, India--where I'm now getting to know my partner's family and being overfed great Indian food.

THE GEMS

Oooh La La Tu Hai Meri Fantasy - music video

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5XjpV9n25Yk

This bubbly hit song from Dirty Picture, a film about Silk, India's first sex-pot star, is blasting on stereos all over Cuttack. It's as sweet as a mouthful of cotton candy and oh-so-catchy. I have to share it with you to get it out of my head!

Hero With a Thousand Faces - book

 

This month I'm revisiting this illuminating classic by Joseph Campbell about the universal spiritual adventure underlying all myths and folktales. Campbell's work is a mix of hard scholarly fact and tremendously wise insight. I love to watch films and read novels while asking myself about what in the story corresponds to the plot movements that Campbell noted: What's the Call to Adventure? Who's the Mentor? Where's the Inmost Cave? When I do this, I get better at understanding the movements of adventure in my own life and learn more about what it truly means to be a hero.

Money as Debt - animated movie

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dc3sKwwAaCU

The biggest heroic journey of our time might be the movement to question and alter the very foundations of our present financial system, a system which is so damaging to our earth and to human happiness. This probing gift of a film concisely and simply explains the dangerous sleights-of-hand that make money out of debt and imprison countless people in a painful cycle. A must-see for today's heroes.

UPDATES

"Surrender Your Addiction to Suffering - Part One" has gotten more hits than any other post in my blog's history! It's great to know that the quest for deep freedom resonates with so many folks.

Andrew Long, of the delightful Excellence blog, gave a happy review of my book, Awesome Your Life: The Artist's Antidote to Suffering Genius on Amazon: "Carolyn has a real gift: it lies in evoking the latent brilliance that resides in each one of us. If you're ready for it, this course will take you for a ride. Her writing is also a gift: it is fun, funny, easy to connect with, and encouraging. Her voice is warm, coaxing, and personal. I feel like I've known her for a long time."

Thanks, Andrew! You can check out the book for yourself right here.

Love and joy!

Carolyn

A Sufi anarchist sage + Share or Die + Glasgow Corpse Pop

Hello wonder,  

These are intense times we're living in. The Occupy Oakland encounters with police and their General Strike yesterday, the foggy weirdness of All Saint's Day and the tanking economy have got me in a funny mood. I go from exuberance to sadness back and forth. Here's whats helping me think:

 

THE GEMS

 

Hakim Bey on the idea of Temporary Autonomous Zones 

 

 

 

Hakim Bey is a stunningly original thinker. Wikipedia notes "his ideas evolved from a kind of Guénonist neo-traditionalism to a synthesis of anarchism and Situationist ideas with heterodox Sufism and Neopaganism" -- in other words, not your average bear. I've been thinking about Sufism a lot lately (perhaps because the most-read poet in America and one of my own personal favorites is Rumi, a Sufi mystic) and in conjunction with the Occupy movement, I've also been thinking about a phenomenon that Bey identified: the Temporary Autonomous Zone-- a space of magical communion that can emerge under certain conditions and undermine political oppression. You'll have to watch the video to learn more. ;)

 

Share or Die - Ebook from Shareable.net 

 

 

 

Shareable.net is an incredible gathering place for ideas about gift economy and other warm, conscious ways of dealing with the cold economic realities at hand. Their free ebook (also available in hardcopy for $15), offers essays gathered from the site. Some of the essays gesture to solutions-- some just describe the present hardship with the compassion and tenderness wrought of first- hand experience. Both are healing and vital.

 

Corpsing - by How to Swim - free music download

 

 

You may have noticed by now-- I love to play on bandcamp. So much incredible, free music! My selection for you this week is gleefully dark. When the singer crows, "I drag your body / out on the dance floor" he's not necessarily talking about your living body. It's a morbidly wicked incredibly bouncy dance track and (die-hard Morrissey fan that I am) I can hardly resist it.

 

UPDATES

 

The wonderful Andrew Long of the compelling Excellence Blog interviewed me. You can check it out right here.

 

My latest essay is In Defense of Dirty Hippies.

 

I'd like to send a big Thank You out to Sam Wise, who came and performed his super-fun magic show for the weary campers at Occupy Pittsburgh to the delight of all.

 

If you're in the Pittsburgh area, I highly recommend that you hire him for any children's parties you may have. Check out his site.

 

Remember to feel free to drop me a line about anything on your mind. I also invite you to sign up for llow-cost life coaching sessions with me.

 

Love!

Carolyn

Surrender Your Addiction to Suffering - Part 3

 

This is the third post in a series on Surrendering Your Addiction to Suffering.  You can read the first post here (wherein I give an overview of the nine commitments necessary to the process) about the and the second post (about the first commitment) here. Today we're talking about the second commitment in surrendering your addiction to suffering:

 

2) Understand that these judgments, though voiced by your own internal monologue, represent the distorted perceptions of a spiritual dis-ease and not “the truth”

 

The Buddha (one of my favorite dudes, along with Jesus, Byron Katie and Lao Tse) said that ignorance is the primary affliction of the human mind.  The two other afflictions he noted, desire and hate, are secondary manifestations of that ignorance.  The ignorance that makes us suffer isn't a lack of knowledge in the conventional sense -- instead, it's a fundamental misperception about the nature of who we are and how reality works.

 

Our misperception leads us to think that we're discrete, solitary individuals separate from the whole of existence.  We identify with the contents of our mind and emotion and mistake the aggregate of those contents to be "me." Once we've made that basic mistake, we have the sense, at a fundamental level, that it's "me against the world." Even if we're generally happy-go-lucky people, the moment something goes not-according-to-plan in a big way (we lose a job we depended on for our security; a relationship goes sour; a loved one dies; we get ill; we get old... on and on) we feel attacked.

 

This feeling of being attacked by things not matching up with our internal picture of how life should treat us is a symptom of our misperception that we're basically separate from the rest of life. We resent the people and situations that appear to be battling us (i.e., we experience hate) and we long for whatever circumstances we think would make it all better (i.e., we desire).

 

In the absence of the fundamental mistake of thinking we're a separate "me" we would be unable to see anything as going against us (because there would be no "us" for "it" to go "against") and we'd be unable to wish for anything other than what's already present in our lives (because we wouldn't be able to perceive ourselves as lacking anything -- you can't lack something if you are everything).

 

Ignorance, desire and hate are the dangerous trio that make up the spiritual disease of addiction to suffering, which we ordinary humans are all afflicted with to some extent or another.

 

Sometimes I think that Jesus said we must become as little children in order to reach the Kingdom of Heaven because very little children don't yet have a sense of themselves as discrete individuals; they don't hate; and while they sure make a fuss about getting fed and having their diapers changed, they don't desire in the sense that they don't mentally attach themselves to specific stories about what life should look like.

 

Enlightenment (or "entering the Kingdom of Heaven" in the Christian tradition-- a Kingdom which, by the way, Jesus adamantly stated could be found here on earth) is the state of consciousness in which one is totally free from the disease of addiction.  It's the condition of being free from ignorance, hate and desire.  Far from being a boring condition (some folks imagine desire-less-ness as a kind of numbness) it's actually a profoundly vivid state of joy, abounding love, and deep fulfillment.

 

I've long been putting in my petition to get hit with the enlightenment bolt, but until that happens in order to stay remotely sane I have to focus on letting go of my ignorance, hate and desire to the best of my ability. The second commitment in this process reminds me that my mind's stream of negative judgments just aren't the truth.  They're the product of my fundamental confusion about who I am and what life is doing. This commitment represents my willingness to be humble and to be aware.

 

When I keep this commitment at the forefront of my awareness I find that a bit of air and spaciousness comes into the dark, foetid chambers of my mind and makes room for truth and love to come in.

 

If you'd like some help on getting to spaciousness around your suffering, you might want to check out my low-cost life coaching.

 

Love!

Carolyn

 

Image by Dalbera. Borrowed from Flickr under Creative Commons licensing.

Dead poets + Peace pilgrim + Bare Songs

(Pssssst! Whenever I send out a new letter I also post an old one here on this blog.  As you can see, I send out three marvelous gems culled from the oceanic interwebs with each letter, along with updates. If you want the gems hot and fresh, you have to join the list by clicking here.)  

Hello wanderer through the universe,

 

The end of October always has an ominous feel to it. I offer you a strategy for meeting that feeling of autumnal dread which involves listening to weird twentieth century poetry, trying to surrender all self-centeredness, and a handful of home-recorded songs.

 

The Gems

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fGIr7fGdo6o

John Berryman reading from Dream Songs

 

With Dream Songs, John Berryman set out to write a series of poems that would rival Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass (regarded by many as the greatest American poetry). Whitman's poems are written in the first-person-- they're expansive, and while they speak of mysteries, they are never obtuse. Berryman's Dream Songs are written in the third-person, about a character named "Henry" who seems in many ways identical to Berryman himself. The Dream Songs are cramped and often obtuse, as they range unpredictably through various registers of diction-- everything from Shakespearean epithets to black-face vaudeville slang.

 

This video features the wild-looking Berryman himself reading reading "There Sat, Once, a Thing on Henry's Heart." For all the strangeness of the language and the jarring pace of Berryman's delivery, I find the performance to be immensely comforting-- and the final line to be revelatory.

 

Peace Pilgrim: Her Life and Work in Her Own Words

 

While researching gift economies, I came across this book by Peace Pilgrim. Peace Pilgrim was an ordinary woman living in New England who one day left her home and began walking across the country with very little money and only the clothes on her body. She sought to carry the message that we could create outer peace in the world through first creating inner peace in ourselves, as she herself had done.

 

On her walk, she often received hospitality from kind people, but she often also slept out in the cold and rain, and ate only berries that she found in the woods. She delighted, though, in this life and said she felt very loved and protected by God.

 

Peace, as her friends affectionately called her, spoke often wherever she went to share her message. After her death her friends collected her writing into a book-length volume, which is available for free online.

 

This week I've been feeling especially inspired by Peace and her principled decision to release all attachment to her own comfort in order to call attention to truth. I'm hungry for the kind of inner peace she speaks of having.

 

Bare Songs - a petit album from yours truly

 

I don't play any musical instruments. But I do sing and make up songs. I couldn't seem to work out a collaboration with my music- playing friends. So I went ahead and just recorded myself singing my songs. And now I offer them to you.

 

Update

 

I had the rich pleasure of talking on the phone to Matthew Stillman of Stillman Says the other day. He creatively solved a few problems for me (which is at least one of his talents) without even trying. Now I'm reading his eye-opening book on the spiritual dimensions of improv comedy, A Funny Thing Happened at Mt. Sinai.

 

 

I recommend for your own rich pleasure that you check out Mr. Stillman and his book.

 

If you'd like to talk with me about any old thing, please don't hesitate to send me an email.

Love! Carolyn

Deep Wisdom + revelatory Pennsylvania folk + free money

 

Here I go, continuing my new tradition of posting my email letter list updates from five weeks ago here on the blog.  I know you'll enjoy what's below. But if you want the hot and fresh stuff, you best sign up right here, right now:

Name:

 

Hello, great wonder!

The Gems

Today I'm sending out 3 gems that have been helping me to stay sane and buoyant this week while there's so much change and excitement in the air.

 

Every Path Is - Collected Audio Recordings of Byron Katie

Byron Katie is a transformational teacher.   She lived, miserable and anxious, for 46 years before having a massive spiritual awakening in which she lost the ability to believe her own stressful thoughts and thereby became enormously happy. She offers a process called The Work.  The Work is a stunningly effective inquiry meditation which she developped to share her experience of awakening.  It completely altered my relationship to my mental stories and taught me to be much more open-minded and gentle with myself.  You can learn all about The Work at Katie's official website.  And you can also listen to hours upon hours of her going through the process with people at everypathis.org, a fan's free collection of her audio recordings which she sanctioned.  I like to listen to the recordings on everypathis.org while I do things like wash the dishes and / or play tetris.  Katie's utterly kind, utterly clear, grandmotherly love and radical wisdom have an effect of grounding me like nothing else.

 

The Awesome Foundation - $1000 grants that are super-easy to apply for

I was thrilled to see a link to The Awesome Foundation in a friend's facebook feed.  Their motto is "Forwarding the interests of Awesome in the universe, $1000 at a time." Clearly, this foundation and I share similar great taste.  It turns out that The Awesome Foundation is devoted to funding-- you guessed it-- awesome projects of all sorts.  In the past they've funded everything from public murals to re-creations of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.

You just fill out a super-easy application form (it's the shortest  and friendliest grant application I've ever seen!) and they consider your project for a grant.  There are multiple chapters of The Awesome Foundation in cities around the world.  Each city chapter awards one $1000 grant per month, so it's something you could keep applying for if for some reason you happen to get passed over the first time.  What really rad and far-out thing could you accomplish for your community if someone handed you $1000? Time to tell them about it! The deadline for the next round of applications is November 15th.

 

Native -  an album of dreams and revelation by Ivory Weeds - free download

Ivory Weeds (aka John Chriest) is a soft-spoken young man from the forrests outside Pittsburgh who blushes easily and has improbably long brown eyelashes.  I have the joy of working with him at YOU=LOVE, a non-profit devoted to making everyone aware of the fact that they are, at their essence, pure love.  Native is the first album Ivory Weeds put out, and it certainly reminds me of the love at the core of everything.  Its shimmering, aching sound meets the grey-clouded sky of late autumn in the Pennsylvania countryside with perfect frankness and tenderness.  I recommend listening to it while drinking your morning coffee on dark mornings -- the music has a magic way of bringing out the mystery and glory in what otherwise feels only drab and cold and making one want to live to bring warmth into the winter.

 

The News

I've written a post which seems to be resonating and catching on with a lot of folks, much more so than my previous work.  You might check it out if you haven't already: The poetics of occupation: pressing reasons we need to occupy our own cities.

Also, the online gift circle forum is starting to get exciting, with participation from the wondrous Rhina, Abigail, Toni and Tabitha.  I invite you to come check it out-- all you need to do is write a post wherein you offer a gift of your own, express something you'd like to receive, and go ahead and even lay claim to something someone has offered so far (nurturing skype conversation, access to an amazing image library, writing services, graphic design services have all been offered-- don't you want this great stuff? come ask for it!).

Please feel free to write to me to let you know how these resources have served you or how I might serve you better in the future.

 

Love!

Carolyn

Occupying Your Heart - Guest Post by Samuca Love

Samuca Love is a visionary and sweetheart who's committed to opening up into the freedom of the gift world.  When I read his simple statement to the Occupy movement, I melted and opened.  I know you will, too.

 

Occupy Your Heart

 

Who are you?

What is it that you desire?

What kind of world do you want to live in?

 

You are a unique and beautiful being that has infinite potential. In fact, you are the only expression of you that will EVER exist. You are loved and you are part of this vast web, our community here on Earth. I know that sometimes it doesn't feel like it; sometimes it feels like you're the only one here, isolated, alone in an alien world. You might sink to the depths of despair, of hopelessness, feeling so small and inconsequential. But here I am telling you that I LOVE YOU! Just for being you.

 

I know who you are, because ultimately you are who I am- a human being on Planet Earth who wants connection and deep relationships, who wants to love and be loved, who wants to help others and be a part of something greater than oneself, greater than that skin-encapsulated ego, that Cartesian mote of consciousness, that bubble of psychology. Who are you, really? See we've come to live in a world where people are scared of each other, scared of ourselves because we've forgotten how special we are as human beings. You don't have to be afraid to hug people. You don't have to be afraid to love people, to look in another person's eyes and SEE them, to see your own humanity mirroring back in those big, bright eyes.

 

I want to live in a world where people don't just understand this as an intellectual concept, but feel it so deeply and viscerally that it melts into a daily, lived reality of being. I AM BECAUSE YOU ARE. I AM BECAUSE THE TREES AND RIVERS ARE. I AM BECAUSE THE BIRDS AND THE BEES ARE.

 

Ultimately this movement (Occupy) isn't about the 99% v. the 1%- it's not about further fragmentation and separation, because even the financial elites are part of this community, even THEY are because YOU are. They've just forgotten, compensating for their lost deficit of being by accumulating to assuage the searing pain of disconnection, the painful void of being cut off from the rest of one's self, that is to say, from everything else. When one is being one's SELF, it's impossible to clearcut a forest, or dump toxic waste into a river, or profit from the suffering of other beings, because one feels quite immediately that she is clearcutting and polluting a part of her self, that she cannot be fulfilled when other parts of her self are suffering. No matter how hard we may try to insulate ourselves from our actions, from the harm we've inflicted upon 'others', our efforts will be in vain, like pouring cement over a toxic waste dump. CEOs, bankers, and politicians weren't put on this planet to increase market share, nor were you put on this planet to do anything other than participate joyfully in a beautiful, healthy world.

 

I encourage everyone to listen deeply to your SELVES, listen deeply to your hearts, and envision with all your imagination the more beautiful world your heart tells you is possible, then go do whatever it takes to realize that world. The time of settling for anything less is over. We're the ones we've been waiting for.

 

Wasn't that lovely? Now go ahead and check this out...

Here's Samuca and Liam Madden proposing a radical new demurrage currency system to Occupy Boston:

 

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ebqrmMKPmfw