Welcome to the Gift Ecology Circle Sharing page!

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This is a private space to share your GEC reflections with our group. You can check in and post your thoughts and ideas and support each other’s journeys by replying to posts below. Before posting your essays you are encouraged to write in a word document and copy/paste into the comments field, to limit gremlins dining upon your words.

To receive email notice when others have posted comments, please check “Subscribe to Comment” when you first post.

Gift Ecology Circle Reflection Prompts
August 2016

  1. Any thoughts on the readings and videos of the month?
  2. What does gift economy and/or gift ecology mean to you?
  3. What is something you do or give regularly that is upon the gift economy spectrum?
  4. How do you feel when you help people? How do you feel when you receive help from others?
  5. Any reflections on this month’s homeplay? What is one new thing you learned or observed about yourself to do with your homeplay assignments?
  6. What drew you to the Gift Ecology Circle?

September 2016

  1. Any thoughts on the readings and videos of the month?
  2. What is one new thing you learned or observed about yourself to do with your homeplay assignments? What about your small change commitment… progress?
  3. Did you discover anything interesting or surprising about alternative sources of capital?
  4. What is one thing you learned from the GEC Sharing Feed or through interaction with others in our Circle?
  5. What are the gifts you bring to the GEC?

October 2016

  1.  Any thoughts on the readings and video of the month?
  2. What is one new thing you learned or observed about yourself to do with your homeplay assignments?
  3. When you do something for someone, do you expect gratitude or expressions or gifts of thanks? Do you express your needs to someone if reciprocity is expected?
  4. Do you see or recognize any business or entities in your community operating with similar values as Casa da Paz or Lentil As Anything business model (videos)?
  5. What is one thing you learned from the GEC Sharing Feed or interacting with others in our monthly Circle calls?



30 thoughts on “Welcome to the Gift Ecology Circle Sharing page!

  1. Hi GEC,

    I’ve been absorbing all the great material for this month, and enjoying it immensely. I’m so inspired by these people who have created something they believe in, and I keep thinking about how I can bring my gifts to others in the same way.

    It’s late and I won’t have time for much in the way of comment, but I look forward to our interaction tomorrow.

    I do have one question I’d like to throw out there. It may not be in the realm of this topic, but I’ve been struggling with it ever since I was asked to give a talk for a women’s chamber of commerce group in Denver. (Yes, you read that right!)

    I was re-reading another chapter in Sacred Economics after reading Ch 18 (thank you, Jens and Becky!) and Charles was very clear in this chapter that any investment that takes advantage of interest is, I don’t recall his words, but the meaning I take from it is – exploitive. And that’s even if it’s a “socially-conscious” investment. How do you all handle that, in terms of your own investments? I’m also wondering what to say to my students and clients who ask about this. In the past, I’ve told it like it is with most people, but it takes alot of explaining and providing background. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this tomorrow. I’ll leave it at that for now and will explain more if we decide to address this question.

    Looking forward to seeing you all,


    1. This is a great question, Amy and we can certainly hold space around it today. There is material I can share, on this exact topic.should we decide to continue next month, or send to you privately 🙂 ❤ becky


  2. I like Nipun Mehta’s quote, “the problem with price tags is we lose touch with the priceless.” Growing up, my grandmother, who was a weaver, used to give away or charge very little for the beautiful blankets and hand bags that she and her husband made on their loom. My mom and my dad often commented on how she should have charged more – they were saying that because they believed she should have valued herself and her products more, since they were so beautiful and special. So their intent was out of love and appreciation for her, but now I’m thinking about this differently from a gift economy context. From this new context, maybe what she was doing was just right. She had a paying job to support herself, so it’s not like she greatly needed the extra money. And she probably got and received joy and connections with others from giving her gifts. I definitely absorbed the message that being a good business person (i.e. selling things for a profit or at least to cover your expenses) is valued, but generosity is not particularly valued.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Changing habits – Becky, this was an interesting video, but I don’t see the connection to our gift ecology themes. Could you please explain why you chose it and how you see it connecting for you? One thing it did remind me of was how much I enjoyed the storytelling “habits of separation” exercise we did in Charles’ workshop. I’ve done it with a friend and on my own a couple times since then, and found it hugely powerful. I would love to do it more! So now I have to seek out some willing friends…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Lynn, This video has been helpful to me because it recognizes significance in small or subtle personal changes. I chose it for our GEC because perhaps it is meaningful for us to push our individual edges or our comfort zones, to possibly consider our own patterns or habits that may feel limited or no longer be serving us as we transition from the old to new story?… and to tie into the homeplay assignments. Personally, this talk affirms to me that as I commit to what feels like small change, I may grow and have greater positive ripples from my commitment to something small and manageable. Much hype happens in the collective old story revolving around necessary BIG change, but as we each start where we are with ourselves, this video feels like a powerful affirmation of the possibility of great change from small personal commitments. I’m glad you found this video interesting. (If you want to do the habits exercise together, I am a willing friend. 🙂 ) ❤ becky

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Dear friends,
    thank you so much for your presence yesterday.

    As a follow up, here is the chapter which talks about the power of gift culture: http://sacred-economics.com/sacred-economics-chapter-18-relearning-gift-culture/
    Specifically, I was touched by this story:

    To reject this bond is a serious matter. Author Mark Dowie speaks of an Alaskan tribe he lived with that convened a meeting of elders to discuss the grave transgression of a certain tribesman on the sharing ethic. The person in question was hoarding the fruits of his hunting for himself, flouting the tribe’s gift customs. How seriously did the elders view his behavior (which was of long standing)? The purpose of their meeting was to decide whether or not to kill him. (4)

    Also, I wanted to share Tom’s picture again: https://goo.gl/photos/sx3p5WtCkAendbCNA

    All the best to you, Tom.

    Lot’s of love to you all,

    Liked by 2 people

  5. 1. Any thoughts on the readings and videos this month?

    The reading ‘Eight Forms of Capital’ clarified, for me, what you (Becky) were referring to as ‘currency’ on last month’s call. (I still want to change your word to ‘currentsy’ – to integrate your metaphor of an electric current.) The author’s map of capital forms helped me to recognize how much capital flows through my life on a daily basis. I love his point about the flow of capital having more impact than the pools of capital.

    The reading from ‘Walk Out Walk On’ blew me away. There are so many places in this world where people are living in the gift – I had no idea.

    2. One new thing I learned about myself around our home play assignments, and my ‘small change’ commitment

    I find it interesting to watch my thoughts as someone selects a gift from my collection of art. Despite the fact I have said everything you see is available for you to choose, my mind makes a last ditch effort at attachment to one thing or another – “oh, I really don’t want to let that go…I hope she doesn’t pick that”, and then when she chooses, I’m always surprised and delighted.

    I loved the TED talk about small changes, and look forward to practicing, but haven’t focused on it yet.

    3. Did I discover anything interesting or surprising about alternate capital?

    It did surprise me that I haven’t far to look to recognize how many other forms of capital I see flowing each day. I watched a wonderful documentary last night, called ‘Happy’, which perfectly illustrated all the non-financial forms of capital, and documented the fact that money is the least valuable form.

    4. One thing I learned here, or from others in our circle?

    I watched the video of our August circle (and was so grateful it was recorded – I couldn’t hear the first part of the live call), and learned the value of community, from all of us together (something I learn and re-learn). Listening to one another, supporting one another, laughing together, speaking from the heart, connecting. There’s probably a great Sanskrit word for it.

    5. What gifts do I bring to our circle?

    My love and my compassion. And I’d be happy to help anyone, anytime, with any computer-related learning they might be having (if it’s within my realm of knowledge), although this group seems quite competent in technology. One of my business offerings was Custom Computer Comfort Class.

    http://compassroseworks.com/ – what’s left of my business website.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Hi Friends, I just finished the materials. So many thoughts and feelings swirling, but I’d like to share a few around the questions.

    Any thoughts on the readings and video of the month?

    I really enjoy BJ Fogg’s video and idea and can see a pattern in my life that the smallest nuance of change has lasted longer, and led to leaps I would not have expected. I’ll tie this reflection in to the Lynne Twist bonus reading.

    For about the past five years, I choose a word that resonates with me, and adopt it as my go-to word for how I’d like to feel, or answering challenges in my life. The first word was “abundance”. I was really battling with the idea of not having enough money for my children’s need. So I started going deeper to understand what, exactly, abundance is? Just one simple word in my daily awareness for a year, led me on an adventure into discovering that the abundance that truly is.

    I stopped quantifying everything in monetary terms and could see overwhelming abundance everywhere I looked. I started volunteering to take food to people at a resource-poor residential building, people who didn’t have much food or money and many of whom were disabled. I delivered to food to them and I too was able to receive some for my family.

    Sometimes they was so much abundance I’d end up with 30 over ripe peaches and I could make delicious homemade jam. Not because I had bought them, but because they were headed to the dumpster and I intervened and redistributed food that was otherwise destined to the dumpster, so it could benefit hungry humans, including my family. It was inspiring. Some weeks I’d daydream about something a bit out of my budget, like bottled organic fruit smoothy drinks, and next thing I knew, I was picking up 8 bottles that were about to expire. A gift of abundance.

    I did not need money to receive these gifts. (Well, I guess I sort of did, because I needed my car and gasoline to get me to and fro, but basically I just needed to do my route once a week, and magic would happen).

    I could see awareness of abundance change in the people I was serving too.

    The first couple months when I delivered the food, the people would clamor and scramble and bump each other in line so they could get the better quality stuff, but as the months went by, they changed their ways too, and started to trust there was enough for everyone. In fact, some of the people would say, “Hey, Pops would LOVE that chicken salad!” and they’d ask me to hold it for him until he came to my car.

    To tie into Lynne Twist’s materials, in this part of my story I can see that I was becoming more “governed by my commitments” instead of my wants, desires or needs. And because I was no longer focused on striving for more, and allowing the abundance that truly was (and is) I discovered I needed much less than I thought.

    What is one new thing you learned or observed about yourself to do with your homeplay assignments?
    This month’s homeplay, I decided to something during our family’s Orlando trip to Universal’s Harry Potter theme park. If we have time and it feels relevant, perhaps I can share on the call.

    What about your small change commitment… progress?
    I haven’t decided my small change yet.

    Did you discover anything interesting about alternative sources of capital?
    I’ve been playing with this concept a lot. And it might sound corny, but I mean this with great sincerity, that I keep finding currency everywhere I look. Sitting next to a stranger, just connecting with them and sharing a conversation feels like capital that deepens connection between two humans. Stopping moving towards my car, and pausing to deeply experience–smell and feel this new autumn breeze.

    What is one thing you learned from the GEC Sharing Feed or interacting with others in our Circle?
    I’d love to read other Geckos’ thoughts and ideas reflections here. 🙂

    What are the gifts you bring to the GEC?
    Well, I’m not quite sure of what specific gifts I bring to Circle, but I want to deepen my connections with everyone here in the Circle and I want you to know that I wish to support you however I can. (I love editing, writing, listening, and music.)

    Thank you for reading. Looking forward to our call and reading more posts here on the feed! ❤ xo Becky

    Liked by 2 people

  7. It was great to see and hear you all today. So many thoughts – I’m not sure I can capture them now at this late hour.

    I wanted to reply to Lynn’s comment about “making a living” and didn’t get a chance. I feel like I’ve struggled with this all my life! I’ve always felt so trapped by the concept. And the reason I shared today about my career background – which I didn’t make clear – was to point out that making a living hasn’t worked for me. Rather, I see my “career path” as more of a series of disillusionments that I don’t want to repeat. Yet here I am again! That’s why when I finally found Charles’ writing on ALL of our institutions – political, social, science, health care, religion, etc. – being flawed by the delusion of separation, I felt validated for the first time in a long while.

    I went into science because I didn’t want to go into business like my father had. He’d given up a dream to be a coach and professor for the sake of our family’s bottom line. But when i got into science, I saw what a mess it was, and a huge machine of competition, egos, and politics. That was my first disillusionment. Then there was psychology/psychiatry, along with the health care system. And in working in an ER of a large “health care” company, I also got to see the folly of the huge corporation. Oh my!

    Now I find myself working in the online world, trying to attract students to an online program and course that I’ve created, and I can see the same competition, hustle, and monetization problems as elsewhere. Sigh . .

    This probably all sounds very negative, but it’s not meant to be. I have found hope for the first time in Charles’ and others’ teachings, in the upsurge of organizations working toward a more beautiful world, and in many young people’s approach to community and a sharing economy. And of course in talking and spending time with all of you.

    So . . . a rather long-winded way of saying how much I relate to the idea of “making a living” being an obscene concept! “Earning a living” is even worse, and once you think about it, really, it becomes so absurd! As Charles says, our lives are a gift, we didn’t “earn” living. Why do we structure it so that we have to grow up and toil for a living for the rest of our lives? The more I think of the absurdities of our cultural/social beliefs, the more I appreciate our “maladaptive” responses to them! Thank goodness for our being unwilling to adapt! One thing I’m proud to say is that I never worked a 9 to 5 job or worked in a cubicle! Ha! (But then again, I didn’t have children to feed, so I have no judgement when people do.) I just know that would have been the death of me.

    On the other hand, one of the questions that has been coming up for me is (I think I said this before) is How on earth will I (and we) change a lifetime of indoctrination (at worst) or socialization (at best)? It’s in every cell of my body, and it feels huge at the moment. . . . but then again, it’s late, and I need to go to bed!

    So I’ll sign off for now. Thanks for reading my ramblings.


    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Amy. I’m just getting to read this now, a month after you wrote it. When I was growing up, I swore I would never work a 9-5 job. (I majored in dance and psychology in college and hate sitting around for too long.) That’s pretty much been the case, but the consequence is that I’ve rarely supported myself financially for very long. And then, at a certain point, I decided I WOULD be willing to work a 9-5 job but haven’t ever been able to get hired for one (despite 2 Masters degrees, experience, skills etc). And I do think part of that is because I didn’t have a traditional resume that moved in a linear fashion. And now, at almost 50, I get a lot of “you’re overqualified” for jobs I apply for. I’ve always preferred doing multiple part time jobs and pursuits rather than just one thing, Right now, I’m happy in my work, -being being mostly supported financially by money from my parents -I’m volunteering 15-20 hours/week at my meditation center working with the staff to better organize their extensive volunteer systems, teaching a sex ed class to teens, and doing some program evaluation for a community collaborative. The volunteer project is going to end in December, and I’m a little nervous about what will come after that….It took a lot of work to find/create that project – even securing unpaid “jobs” is not easy. ~Lynn

      Liked by 2 people

  8. I was so happy to see your faces today (and to hear your voice, Steve). While I was listening, a couple items arose that I want to share with you. The first is maitri (pronounced ‘mytree’). It’s a Sanskrit word that, as a Buddhist practice, means ‘loving kindness / unconditional friendship with oneself’. I try to remind myself to practice by remembering that maitri is the foundation of compassion. Compassion for myself leads to compassion for others. Sometimes we skip the ‘compassion for self’ part. 🙂 (I didn’t do all my homework either, Jens, and considered skipping the meeting because I ‘didn’t deserve to be there. 🙂
    Pema Chodron explains maitri in this little video – (you may need to copy and paste into your browswer – https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwiWnNPG0OzOAhUSdiYKHelRDdcQtwIIHDAA&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3D7s-rRMUl04I&usg=AFQjCNHmgLq8aAu5q6LUqkjNnI2I2AHEoQ&sig2=Qr-xR014nuAn0SX28fJltA

    The other thing I want to share is a short video – an interview with Joanna Macy. She’s talking about the New Story in this film called Joanna Macy and The Great Turning. It’s a 26-minute film in which 84-year-old Joanna Macy (eco-philosopher, author, and Buddhist scholar) shares her understanding of our current ‘story’ – shifting from the industrial growth society to a life-sustaining civilization. It’s much of what we’re talking about together. Here’s the link (copy and paste) – https://vimeo.com/ondemand/greatturning

    Marcie / Marky / Marcella

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Hi Friends, A few thoughts on the materials.I discover new thoughts and ideas watching them yet again. (I feel a bit cheeky writing MY reflections about materials presented by MOI, but truly please know I cultivated the content for GEC with keen awareness of how precious your time is.)

    Oh, I love the Halcyon video. Of course his enthusiasm is contagious, but I love how NATURALLY he talks about giving as an opportunity–its very counter culture to pretty much EVERY message pushed at us. When I was a child it was natural for me to want to help or do something to be kind to others, particularly my mother. For me, for about 20 years I adopted a frame of “WIFM”. I remember my parents used that term all the time in my late teens … “What Is In It For Me?” Shudders! It’s ironic to think about that with my parents because they gave ME everything when I growing up, and NEVER once made me feel guilty that I needed to pay them BACK, and yet they liked the abbreviation and advised that in my career I always needed to be looking for what IIIIiiii ws going to get out of something.

    Now I’m older of course I feel incredibly indebted to parents for the gifts they gave me. Of course many of the gifts were physical, but as I continue to deepen my awareness of what is possible with living in the “spirit of the gift” or gift ecology, I think to my childhood, frequently, and realize they gave me MORE sensory gifts than physical. I remember when my mother would play a new record, her simply sharing and experiencing and listening to the music together with me, was a gift. A joy. A 99er icecream cone–vanilla ice cream swirl with a harpooned with a lump of chocolate–Mum gave to me through the ice cream man: I had NO concept that a monetary exchange happened around a physical object… and yet I am left with a feeling that my mother loved me through ice cream.

    I recognize I need a lot of healing around “selling myself” as a career-driven message-flogging marketing/PR person, and a life where climbing and success meant “more money” to increase my self valuation. gulp. Now I like to think about gifting and money as separate AND also synergized possibilities. I spent at least 25 years of conscious energy and thought around monetizing my gifts. Making a living. egh. I became detached from using money as an expression of love, unless it was to gift to someone in need, but that was really done more so to reduce the guilt I had for my own abundance, than awareness of the human I was attempting to help.

    When I was “rich” I was richly miserable. But now I have limited financial resources, I live my life attempting to live through gifts– physical AND sensory–trying to be mindful of my presence and state of mind, instead of striving for MORE. Well, in all honesty I do still strive, I strive to let go of the monetization of “my worth” and others, and everything. How can I live in a money obsessed-excessed-yet-deprived-world and give of my gifts without expectation, and survive? whew! (I like hyphens and love quotes. LOL.)

    HeideMarie’s story inspires me to consider a different way of living. The fact that she so courageously committed to doing something different, to listen to her heart and give everything away. And to open herself up to being a gift to people and also fully depend on people. She became dependable, but needed others to keep her going too. Perhaps committing to this way of living by giving and receiving means to have courage to go without something I may want. On a superficial level. But on a deeper level I see it takes courage to honor the very fact that I need people to survive. HeideMarie found surprising gifts and blessings in her minimalism, gifts that abundantly blessed her.

    I love the Charles’ video, when he asks “What if money can be an ally of my heart?” (It was his combination of words in Sacred Economics “Sacred Money” that made me sick to my stomach so much that I had to read his work and go to the SBS retreat and meet most of YOU.) Hmmmm, his words in the video … “Can you imagine what it looks like if you don’t have this constant pressure ‘how can you make a living?'” I’m grateful for this possibility. For myself. For my children. For every human.

    I look forward to reading more posts from ya’ll, as you are called to share here. Thanks for reading my inner journey.
    ❤ becky

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I can relate to your statement: “It’s ironic to think about that with my parents because they gave ME everything when I growing up, and NEVER once made me feel guilty that I needed to pay them BACK, and yet they liked the abbreviation and advised that in my career I always needed to be looking for what IIIIiiii ws going to get out of something.” Although they didn’t use that acronym, the sentiment and dynamic between us was and STILL IS there. These readings/videos are making me think about my mindset of giving, but still in trying to get some payback, like work exchange for organziation I take classes from. Just giving with NO hope for any payback, feels different.

      Liked by 2 people

  10. I really enjoyed Pavi Mehta’s talk – I hadn’t heard her before and she was incredibly inspiring. I’m recognizing that I have lots of different feelings coming up around giving and receiving, and I’m seeing how a lifetime of being ‘independent’ and also ‘single’ has defined me and my choices around giving and receiving. In some ways, in our current culture, it has felt safer to have the convention of the even exchange of money. But I’m enjoying the exploration of giving and receiving without expectations, and the freedom that comes from that way of being.

    I am also noticing that I have many questions about what ‘gift economy’ or ‘gift ecology’ is and what it means to me. Sometimes it hurts my little brain when I attempt to break out of the conditioned thinking and beliefs of an entire lifetime! On the other hand, I’ve always been a bit of a rebel, so it must be even harder for many others.

    Just a couple of thoughts for now – I’m looking forward to talking tomorrow.

    xo Amy

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Wow Amy. I really enjoyed reading your thoughts about your self definitions and safety. I can’t wait to hear your questions! The deeper I go into exploring, unraveling and disconnecting with the cultural conditioning that is “monetization”, the more questions I have too. 😉
      ❤ becky

      Liked by 1 person

  11. RE: The story about the Heidimarie Schwermer living without money. I’ve heard other similar stories about individuals making this choice. In some ways, it’s inspiring and shows what is possible. BUT I’m always struck by how these individuals survive by depending on others who ARE fully participating in the traditional economic system. She is staying in people’s houses,, receiving transportation from them, food,etc. This is not in any way to criticize her personal choice, but rather to point out the limitations of this lifestyle in terms of making large scale, systemic change. If everyone did what she did, it wouldn’t work – which leads into Charles more in-depth vision of how society has to change as a whole. Lynn

    Liked by 3 people

  12. Margaret WHeatley’s writing about informal relationship networks made me think about the project I’m working on (offering my services for free) as a consultant to my meditation center improving thier volunteer program. As I’m setting up systems and formalizing processes, I’ve been discovering the ways in which volunteers have asked other volunteers to help them, when in need, rather than going through the more formal channel of the office. Sometimes this has worked well, other times not, but I’m noticing that my automatic reaction has been “Oh – we need to shut that down and ask people to go through the formal processes.” I think, after reading the article, it would be more helpful to recognize that these relaitionships between volunteers are important, and not necessarily a problem, adn that I should approach each situation more openly to see whether in fact it needs to be changed. It’s an interesting balancing act, because the lack of systems, up til now, has definitely created some problems in inconsistency /inequity, and more burden on the paid staff, but at the same time, we don’t want to create an overly bureacratic system. ~Lynn R.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. I loved Pavi Mehta’s presentation and the four key shifts she identified that can facilitate “drop(ping) into the flow of giftivism.” Her invitation to ponder, and then make a commitment to, my own small step resonated and reified the small-but-significant acts that can be undertaken even in my current place (and oftentimes, state of confusion) in between stories. Pavi’s proposition also aligns with encouragement from Eckhart Tolle: “Ask yourself often: ‘What can I give here? How can I be of service to this person, this situation?'” Thanks, Becky, for including her talk with this month’s materials. I’m grateful for the introduction to another inspiring change agent! ~ Leslie

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I looked up some the business school case studies of the Aravind eye surgery program she mentioned and found it fascinating (and a bit disheartening) that the 2 that I read focus solely on Aravind’s “cost-effectiveness” model, likened to McDonalds (!) and not a word about a mission of generosity.

      Liked by 2 people

  14. Welcome Friends. Super psyched you are here. Go ahead and say hi in a post in this thread so you can see how this page will work.

    When you read something, please please please hit Like and/or hit reply beside the post you want to be in. This helps us create visual hugs around each others’ posts. No popularity contests, just loving–or in this case “liking”–support.

    When you have your monthly reflections ready, GO TO THE WAY BOTTOM OF THE PAGE where it says “my thoughts in a NEW thread” and open a NEW Comment thread. We all can LIKE and post comments back to you and this specific post. Be sure to include your first name somewhere so we know it’s YOU.

    ❤ becky

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