Now What?!

Invitations Blog

October 12 - November 20, 2020

Now What?! Gift Economy: Insights and Highlights



In my invitation blog post, I shared that my intention in hosting a call was “to explore how we come together as a community so that we can be seen, valued and use the power of our generosity to actualize our dreams.”


A week of reflection later, it has become clear to me that every time I show up for a Now What?! call I am living that intention. Through the gift of attention and the practice of asking for what I need / listening to what request I am able to commit to, I am engaging in the field of generosity that Now What?! Offers. I am moving away from the outdated belief that scarcity creates value to further realizing that managing abundance is where the value is.

“Commitment is a promise made with no expectation of return. It is the willingness to make a promise independent of either approval or reciprocity from other people. This takes barter out of the conversation. Our promise is not contingent on the actions of others. The economist is replaced by the artist. As long as our promise is dependent on the actions of others, it is not a commitment; it is a deal, a contract. A bargained future is not an alternative future; it is more of the past brought forward. The declaration of a promise is the form that commitment takes; that is the action that initiates change. It is one thing to set a goal or objective, but something more personal to use the language of promises. Plus, to the extent that a promise is a sacred form of expression, this language anoints the space in the asking.”

Excerpt From: Peter Block. “Community: The Structure of Belonging”


Learning how to manage abundance is a non-trivial task! While exhilarating at times, I find it can be uncomfortable and a lot of work to learn how to make a promise, to ask for what we want, to become clear on our current capacity and to learn how to say no.


If you feel called to play and practice, I invite you to join me at Uri's Offers and Needs Market this coming Monday!


Another fun way to practice the gift economy is to jump onto a Now What?! Café call and invite others to play the "You've been Woven!" game. The basic premise is to explore the Now What?! Network Map and to send out emails to requesters connecting them to matching offerers and vice versa. I recommend exploring the needs and offers on the Now What?! Network Map regardless of what game you end up playing!


During our call last week, Akiko shared that in Japan giving money as a gift of appreciation is part of the culture. Her innate mindset of abundance opened my eyes to this perspective resolving so much of my conundrum around money. You can contribute financially to our gifting economy on Open Collective, where you can see how much has been contributed and how that money will be redistributed at the conclusion of the gathering.


In an attempt to manage the wealth of information shared during our call last week, I’ve listed some highlights and resources you might feel curious to peek into below.


13:36 Understanding reciprocity, Use nature as our teacher

14:34 ecosystem perspective

16:22 measuring things

16:42 time and attention is the most valuable commodity

20:12 abundance perspective: little money, high creativity

24:22 gift economy, the original economic system of humanity

25:19 the more you give the more secure you feel

25:50 fields of generosity in our modern context

26:57 relational power of receiving a gift as an invitation to give something back

27:50 outsourcing and destroying what we know how to do for ourselves

28:19 How do we reclaim thrivability? Being supported for giving your gifts.

33:20 we are riding through the rapids of change

33:43 moving from scarcity=value creation to managing abundance=value creation

34:36 digital world: no longer bounded by geography but rather by common interests

35:39 in Japan giving money as a gift of appreciation is a cultural thing

38:46 entitlement vs acceptance

40:13 kids get it!

44:00 having a place to bring gifts

44:49 adoption of something that hasn't caught on yet

50:13 sharing observation, resonance as a gift

51:45 The power of understanding what conversation are you in

53:43 Digital gifts

54:52 staking conversations

56:38 commitments, economist replaced by the artist

1:00:35 openness and learning in community

1:08:10 learning from fungi!

1:16:50 Suzanne gifts us a song that came out of her experience with the gift economy!

1:19:00 Ben gifts us a gift economy challenge from the Now What?! experience

1:28:04 What would fungi do?!

1:29:40 transparency and privacy

1:33:00 Honoring the mystery of how little we know

1:34:09 Benevolence is always unfolding

1:35:17 Emotional Intelligence & Communication

1:37:30 NVC

1:41:10 Story of Whales and nature being always in integrity

1:46:40 The value of free time

1:49:27 Love and Fear

1:54:38 Psithurism


Resources offered as gifts during the call included:

  • This beautiful book, filled with relevant resources and personal story by our dear collective member, Suzanne Jones!

  • The poem co-sensing with RADICAL TENDERNESS by Brazilian poet Dani d'Emilia which speaks about the importance of surrender and uncertainty.

  • Books that expand on the gift economy such as Charles Eisnstein's Sacred Economics and Rebecca Solnit's A Paradise Built in Hell, and

  • Peter Block's awesome book Community: The Structure of Belonging (where the quote I shared earlier in this blog post is from)

Thank you for the gift of your attention! If you feel inspired to co-create within this stream please feel free to post a comment, find me on the Now What?! Slack or write me at dsaeme@gmail.com.

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