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Start a Gift Circle – Rebuild a Community

The gift economy represents a shift from consumption to contribution,

transaction to trust, scarcity to abundance and isolation to community.

       – Charles Eisenstein

It’s not Christmas, so why am I sitting in a circle with eight people as we shower each other with gifts?

It’s because I belong to a gift circle.

I’ve read that a gift circle is a modern adaption of an ancient practice.

Whether it really is an ancient practice I have no idea, but who cares?

In my experience, it’s a fine and noble  way to build relationships

and to restore community in our increasingly fragmented society.

– Charles Eisenstein

I love gift circles because they help build an alternative economy based on sharing, where people give of their possessions, time and talents with no expectation of return.

sacred-economics-eisensteinI got the idea to start my own circle after reading the book Sacred Economics by writer and self-described “de-growth activist” Charles Eisenstein. He believes we need to encourage more compassionate and trusting relationships and the key to this is to become givers rather than consumers.

Sacred Economics offers creative ways to reduce our dependence on the money economy, which in turn helps rebuild community and restore our connection to the natural world.

Gift circles are a perfect way to build community because our needs are met by each other rather than by corporations and shopping malls.

This means we spend less money and waste fewer resources. For example, in my gift circle even old olive oil tins, glass jars and polystyrene boxes are re-used for gardening and storage projects.

The beauty of it all is that we share our surplus and this inspires generosity, discourages hoarding and keeps our wealth moving.

Since our circle began, we’ve noticed a tendency towards greater trust and goodwill – a natural outcome, perhaps, given how freely people give of their gifts and how gratefully people receive them.

Continue reading this post on Claire Bell’s blog, Midlife Express

Claire Bell

Claire Bell writes for Her sporadic column, Neurotica, appears at unexpected moments in addition to various articles on a whatever captures her interest.

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