I have a highly conflicted relationship to money as it exists in our system and always have. I have always worked nearly full-time throughout my higher education and more than full-time afterward, but somehow I have never earned much. Somewhere in a very deep part of myself is a belief that I do not need much, would be in a bad position if I had too much, and a very strong sense that a former life was as an ascetic. So an internal rudder whenever I earn more than I need tells me to share it with others from my heart rather than save it for myself, for more belongings, for a house, a car, all the things I have been told I should want ever since I was born. . . none of which I have purchased yet by age 45 (okay a few threads I have bought).
This month, having paid off my debt and working 2 jobs again for a few months, I have more money than I need for the first time in a long time, after spending several years of eating out twice in a year, earning exactly what I need to pay bills, not taking more than a day’s break from work in 5 years, and not traveling out of my state in 6 years.
So what did I do? I bought books first to expand my consciousness, and then I did something I cannot recall ever doing. I bought new bedding. The kind of thing one might get for a wedding gift. I have started to think of this as a marriage to myself! I have always preferred to sleep on the floor on a futon or mattress, rather than an actual bed, but I wanted to experience luxurious bedding. I like sleep. My order has not arrived yet, but I hope I can overcome the dread sense of “what did I just do?” before it does and enjoy it instead of feeling all the emotions that say this is somehow absurd.
The man who wrote this book, Sacred Economics, came to my community to speak recently, and I was working so hard running away from scarcity that I missed it! Until someone from The Shift Network passed this link my way for his 12-minute thesis. Sacred Economics – Charles Eisenstein
It is so aligned with Barbara Marx Hubbard’s classes on Conscious Evolution and the Emergence Process in which I am taking part, taught by a remarkably skilled sister duo guiding people in honoring the essence of who we are as a foundation for a new way.
Someone in my networking asked for lists of “What Is Working?” in society, so we could begin to compile a list of new ways of doing. No one has responded except me when it suddenly dawned on me how much DOES work where I live. In fact, the island where I am could perhaps house a microcosm of what works in a new humanity where money-free barters still occur on a daily basis and there are many models for “heart-led” work that creates and supports community.
Yes, there are problems, there is no utopia, and the majority of folks I know work 2-3 jobs to get by, while many folks settle here for their 2nd or 3rd home. There is income disparity big time. But, the basis for community amid all of it is strong.
Here is the list I posted, which is by no means complete. They are simply organizations that have touched me personally and templates of what could be replicated globally.
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There are many things working in my community, partly because it is small scale, partly because it is in a “progressive” corner of the United States. There are thriving farms that supply produce to the grocery stores most of the year where folks can Buy Local fresh food that is not trucked hundreds of miles burning fossil fuels to deliver it.
There is a wonderful model of a Food Bank and Garden connected to a Thrift Store that turns people’s used items into cash for food for those who struggle to put food on the table. This distributes wealth pretty nicely, and the stigma of using either the thrift store/food bank is minimized because so many people take pride in it.
There is the Whidbey Institute at which I will be participating in a work party this week, which has a true presence of place that attracts thinkers/lecturers/dreamers/meditators from around the world. . . and my favorite sanctuary building ever.
The county I am in also has “free” public bus service that explains why it is free here: Free Public Transportation
We have “heart-led” groups that form like this one to meet needs like learning of homeless youth living in the woods, which expanded to provide nutritious weekly lunch sacks deposited at the schools to any child who needs to supplement home food (my daughter did for a year in the past): WIN
There is this coffee shop that functions as social gathering spot and fosterer of remarkable people like the brothers riding across country to raise money for orphans in India and hosting all sorts of fundraising for good works: Useless Bay Coffee
There is thriving arts and music on most of the island, fostering artists who are world-known for sculpture, wood carving, painting. There is a teen gathering place that allows teens to have training on a first job while benefiting the larger community: Commons
One more organization which has sprung up in my community over the past 10 years, I believe completely independent of a same-named project in Austin, Dallas-Fort Worth, and Minneapolis. It is a vital service that would be beautiful if it became global, considering the aging/less abled population of the planet’s humans, called:
This is a non-denominational organization (unlike Habitat for Humanity, an equally beautiful organization which is Christian and worldwide).
There is a role for literally everyone in the annual day, along with a system called “Hearts” that assign people to monthly individual home repair projects for low income folks throughout the 12 months of the year.
Having participated myself, I can tell you the amount volunteers can accomplish in a single day of work together is truly phenomenal. Can you just imagine if everyone rotated time for this in their communities EVERY DAY of the year? Nothing but potential for a shining human community!