Gift Culture: The Gift That Gives Back
I was strolling around the farmer’s market in Burlington, Vermont, the other day with a few friends. We were walking through when we passed a stand that sold crocheted canvases that were absolutely spectacular- all sort of colours and flowers and clocks in fine-tuned detail.
“These are amazing!” I exclaimed.
My friend Melissa perked up. She works for an LGBTQA-Z youth centre called Outright, and proudly told me that the artistry was done by one of the youth’s parents.
“I couldn’t believe it,” she said. “This woman actually started out selling these and just donating all of the money to Outright. She raised over $800! No one even asked her to do anything like that… people are constantly surprising me.”
The story touched me. It was also yet another example of what I have been experiencing more and more, lately: When you are a passionate person and give your gifts out of the goodness of your heart, they will come back to you full-throttle.
I have been very immersed in a wonderful group of gift givers called GRASS, the Grand Rapids Autonomous Support System, a grass-roots org that has been established to help individuals to find themselves and ignite their passions through the means of collaborative community.
A large basis of the morals of the group is the idea that if someone has something they are passionate about and need help with, they can bring it forward and rest assured that any backing they need will be brought forth to them through the support of community. I have watched countless dreams come alive.
I found GRASS through a friend, and attended an event that they put on in February called “Spectacle of Love”, which was a community event supporting the idea of “love” through art, divination, healing, dancing, music, and more. It was truly inspirational. My friend had told me that I could read cards, there, and so I brought my decks and asked for $1 a minute. I was doing quite well and was proud to be making money at the event, but then something happened that I was unaware, at the moment, would change my life.
The most beautiful woman with curly brown hair and big brown eyes approached me, her dress with sunflowers printed on it swooshing around her as she walked towards me across the hardwood floors. I had been eyeing her, earlier, slightly in awe of the soft and powerful energy emanating from her. It wasn’t until I started reading for her that I understood exactly how unaware she was of her true power.
When I told her how much readings were, she said she didn’t have cash on her, and was it okay if she traded me a crystal or something for a reading. Open to the idea, I said, “Sure”, but could never have been privy to what was to come, next.
What unfolded then was one of the most incredible card reading experiences I have ever had in my life. There were over 100 people in the wooden-floored, brick-walled room that GRASS had secured for the event, but it felt like this woman and I were the only two in it. I saw her, fully, in all of her magical glory, and I reflected it right back to her. I was using the cards as an excuse to tell her everything that I saw in her- everything that her Higher Self had been screaming at her for months- but that she needed other lips to deliver to her earthly ears.
Gold and blue light swirled around us, and her presence got stronger and bolder throughout the reading, the static in the air palpable. She got teary-eyed at the end, and I’m pretty sure I did, as well.
She suddenly looked around herself, frantically. “Wait right here,” she stated, and swirled onto her feet. When she came back, she told me that she wanted to give me a really special crystal, but the only one she could find did not seem “special” enough, and did I want to go to her booth where she was selling things and pick something out.
As she was talking, I could see in her eyes the immense amount of gratitude that she had. There was a part of me that wanted to tell her “no”, that wanted to let her know that reading for her was all the exchange that I needed. That watching her transform and truly recognise herself in all of who she was… that that was enough for me.
But I had been in her position, before. Where other readers who usually charged gave me readings out of the goodness of their hearts because I needed the information, and I knew how much she wanted to give back. It wasn’t obligatory. It wasn’t capitalistic. It wasn’t an eye for an eye. It was two people completing an exchange because we both wanted to give to each other. Because we were both so entirely grateful for one another that we felt the urge pillaging out from the pits of our stomachs and compelling us to just. give.
I looked at her with a soft smile, grateful that she got as much out of the exchange as I had. Without another word she got up and motioned for me to follow her to her booth where she was selling crocheted hats that she had made. Nothing called to me, but earlier when I had been walking around the booths I had seen an exquisite clay necklace with a moonstone in the middle and a silver tree of life pressed into it. I had admired it and had wished I could spare the money to buy it, but passed it over because I told myself I didn’t need it.
The necklace was at her booth. She had made it. She saw my eyes widen at it. And she gave it to me. The magic between us as she handed it over was unquestionable- it was the seal on our exchange. The final moment of pure, “Thank you. Thank you for all that you do. Thank you for all that you have done for me. Thank you for being You.”
As I’ve ventured out into community, whether in Grand Rapids, or Burlington, or elsewhere, I have come across this idea of heart-centred, gratitude-centred giving more and more often.
I have been part of a group planning an upcoming festival in Bloomingdale, Michigan called Sweetgrass + Sage Burn (actually put on by GRASS) for the last few months. The festival itself is donation powered, with the idea of it being that knowledge and the opportunity to learn and grow should not have a price tag.
So everyone is giving of their hearts:
The 15 bands and musicians, the fire spinners, the 30+ workshop leaders, the volunteers, the people planning who have put in well over 20 hours a week on top of their working jobs, etc.
And the way that community has given back… with this higher vibration of all of these people just giving of themselves… is incredible. The amount of people who have stepped in, maybe even never having heard of the festival, and said, “You need live painters? I could do that!” or, “You need someone to do graphic art for your fliers? I can get that to you by tomorrow!” or, “I just heard of this amazing gift-culture festival you are doing, and I want to support the movement! How can I be of service?” is truly remarkable. And no one is expecting anything in return.
I don’t think I’ve ever been so humbled in my life.
Of course, the mundane things still need to be covered, like electricity and land and such, so we’re asking for $42 a ticket, with the understanding that if you want to pay more you can, and if you can’t afford it we have volunteer positions or can work something out…
So someone paid $300 for a ticket, today, saying, “I want to pay it forward”.
My trust in humanity has been restored through this experience- through all of these experiences.
When we give from our hearts instead of out of obligation or necessity, our vibrations rise 100%.
Like I said, no one is expecting anything in return- it is just happening. Automatically.
Because people are grateful.
Because people feel the beauty of others giving of themselves for the betterment of humanity.
Because people feel the beauty of what it means to give of themselves.
Because people want to express the immense love and graciousness that they feel in a way that is completely tangible and felt.
I am wishing many of these experiences upon you. May you feel the gift of giving from your heart as you watch others rise up through your humble wisdom.
Giving so, so much love,
xx D2S <3
PS- Hoping to see you at Sweetgrass + Sage Burn! You can find more info, here: sgsbfestival.com
#giftculture #sgsbfestival #giving #gratitude #love #oneloveoasis #sgsb2017 #heartcentred #doorwaytoself #grass #grassroots #raisedvibes
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