The gift and sharing economy is becoming an important component of our culture. The economic consequences of this movement are profound, signaling a transition to a new economic era. Beyond economy, this movement toward gift is part of an even bigger shift in our conception of self, nature, and cosmos.
This exciting and inspiring evening will feature a presentation from Charles Eisenstein, followed by a panel with special guest gifting artists David Best and Joshua Coffy, moderated by Julia Bystrova of Transition’s Heart and Soul outreach. We will have a lively discussion!
The evening will benefit the work of Transition US and Burning Man Project. These nonprofit organizations are doing real work in the world to educate and build community in the spirit of a more sustainable and just society. Because this is a fundraiser, we will be inviting your gifting. There is no set cost to attend though we do ask a contribution based your value received. Donations to both organizations are fully tax deductible.
Organic wine and Lydia’s healthy fare will be available for purchase. Come early to enjoy and connect!
Your donation will reserve your space, and will be divided equally between the two organizations. You may attend and choose to make a donation of any amount at the door, if there is still space available.
[This post is part of the 10 Principles blog series, an ongoing exploration of the history, philosophy and dynamics of Burning Man’s 10 Principles in Black Rock City and around the world. We welcome your voice in the conversation.]
I recently told an incredible artist and doer how much I envy her skill set. People who can build art cars or set up great camps … or even use tools … are heroes to me when they do it for the common good.
“Well,” she said, “we really value what you do.”
“What I do?” I asked, genuinely confused. I am so useless on the playa that … this is true … some Media Mecca volunteers once got drafted to set up my tent.
“Well, yes,” she said. “You write these blogs. You gift us with your writing.”
I nearly choked on my whiskey.
What followed was 10 minutes of one of the stupidest “YOUR contribution’s more important! No YOUR contribution’s more important!” arguments I’ve had in years. Because while I yield to no one’s estimation of just how talented a writer I am, writing blog posts from the comfort of my own home, (often) drunk and (usually) naked, is not a gift or sacrifice on the order of dragging a massive construction project to the playa and laboring to set it up in 100 degree heat while alkaline dust whips at your eyes, and then getting drunk and naked.
How is this even close?
It’s nice that we all appreciate each other, I suppose, but I think many of us are a little too easy on ourselves.
The notion that everybody’s contribution counts, that it doesn’t matter what you can do so long as you share your gifts, is a good one when it encourages people to step up to the plate and discover a capacity to give that they didn’t know they had. To find ways to engage with their community that they otherwise wouldn’t, or think they couldn’t.
Too often, however, it’s used as an excuse to half-ass a commitment we don’t really want to make. To say “I’ve done enough” when we’ve hardly done anything we’re capable of.
Here are some activities that don’t actually qualify as “gifts,” no matter how much you think of yourself: (more…)
This is a re-post of my most frequently shared Playa video. Plus a new “10 Commandments of Gifting” at the bottom.
As people begin to check-off their pre-burn packing lists, many are puzzled by the same question: “What should I bring as gifts?”
But Gifting is about much more than brown paper packages tied up with strings. In fact, Gifting is one of my favorite things…
The (non-official) 10 Commandments of Gifting:
1) Gifting is a physical demonstration of Love.
“I want you to have this because it makes me happy to see you happy.”
2) Gifting dissolves separation.
When you Gift, you are breaking down the wall between me and you/ us and them. If you EXHCHANGE, then you are re-enforcing the separation. But to GIFT is to say, You and I are one.
When I understand the interconnectedness of all things, then Gifting helps to show that I cannot ever lose anything. If I gift you something, I am only transferring it from one part of the One to another. There is no loss and no gain. We are just shifting possession to an aspect of the whole that will appreciate it more. Think “Osmosis of Material Goods.”
3) A Gift can be ANYTHING.
It can be a song, an idea, a massage, a sculpture, a compliment, a sticker, a shoulder to lean on, a wet-nap, a walk home, or a hug.
4) Gifting eliminates hoarding and creates abundance.
When we allow ”stuff” to flow more fluidly between one another, ALL stuff becomes an available resource to ALL people. Gifting breaks down attachment.
5) Gifting helps dissolve the Ego.
When we become less connected with owning and having stuff (even our skills and talents) then we identify less with our physical selves. We take less credit for things and less blame. Who we are becomes more about our divine seed than our story or physical form.
6) Gifting breaks the commerce paradigm.
Traditional commerce = an even exchange. You get one, I lose one. You pay one, I earn one. Sum total = Zero (0). But in a gift, You receive the gift (+1) AND I feel good for giving the gift (+1). Sum total = Two (2).
7) Gifting releases the flow of energy between people.
We are hardly even aware of the energetic walls that we maintain to hold on to our stuff and keep out yours. The more we gift, the less those barriers hold.
8) Gifting opens up the world.
Making a habit of gifting allows you to see every interaction as an opportunity for increased Joy – even if there is no benefit to you specifically. If I have something (a bite of food, a word of support, a warm hat) that can make your life better, then I can make MY life better by helping YOU. That means there are billions of opportunities in every moment to make the planet more joyful. On the other hand, if the only way to increase joy is by helping out my specific individual self, then the opportunities are few.
9) Gifting is never required.
A feeling of obligation cancels out the Gift. (This type of “Barter” exchange is often confused as gifting.) But if you expect anything in return – even the elimination of guilt – then the magic of Gifting has been compromised.
10) EVERY interaction can be seen as an act of Gifting.
These views are solely the views of Halcyon and do not represent the opinions of The Burning Man Organization.
Everything I needed to learn about Holiday Gifting, I learned at Burning Man…
**NOTE: I AM NOT AN OFFICIAL REPRESENTATIVE OF BURNING MAN. I am merely a Participant with a passion for the event, people, and principles of Burning Man. Half-baked ideas & views expressed aren’t necessarily those of the Burning Man organization.” **
The spirit of generosity is in the air. Checkout lines are miles long, stockings are hung by the chimney with care, and our hearts (and our wallets) are open. While the world’s attention is so highly focused on gifting during this holiday season, Burners across the world are creating ways for their friends, family, and fellow Burners to gift back.
This weekend, Andie Grace, our Communications Manager, and her husband Tom Price held a Christmas party at their home in San Francisco. Rather than having guests bring the obligatory bottles of wine and holiday trinkets, Andie and Tom turned their gathering into a diaper drive. Their party invite read, “All we want for Christmas is to fill the bathtub with diapers to donate. Please bring a package of disposable baby diapers of any size to help Bay Area babies in need via Help a Mother Out.” When I arrived with my baby wipes in tow, the tub was already half-full. Andie happily reports that she and Tom collected four big bags full of diapers to give to Help a Mother Out.
As I talked with Burners across the country this week, I found other examples of friends coming together during this hectic month to make a meaningful contribution to their local community.
Feeding the Homeless and Hungry in Las Vegas
On Sunday, December 19, 2010, a group of twenty-five Burners, their children, and friends served over 450 meals to the homeless and hungry of North Las Vegas.
Last year, on Christmas Eve of 2009, BamBam, a ten-year Burning Man veteran and owner of the mobile hot dog stand he calls “Hot Diggity Dog,” enlisted the support of his partner Pebbles and a few other friends and took his stand down to the corner of Las Vegas Blvd and Owens in North Las Vegas. That evening, the crew served over 250 meals of jumbo hot dogs, chips and sodas to the homeless and hungry. BamBam set up a canopy and a big sign that read “HOT DOGS” and watched lines form around the stand. (more…)