Monday, November 18, 2013

Reculturing: What Is A Gift Circle?

Reculturing: What is a Gift Circle?  Here's Our First Impressions
True gift circles, what a wonderful concept!  Coming to a neighborhood near you :)
Thank you Exopermaculture for this great article.


Yesterday, I received an email from a woman in Ohio who is on the Bloomington permaculture guild list-serve. Since she is not the only one who has asked, and since we are still getting rolling here, it might help if I post my immediate, off-the-top-of-my-head response to her request here.
In response, she replied “Thank you, Ann. This makes me think of a wonderful book, “The Gift,” by Lewis Hyde. Check that out. I can see how you are reculturing through your circle. I am going to share your description with the Athens permie list and Friends Meeting.”
“Reculturing.” What a great word! Thanks, Michelle! And yes, I did read Lewis Hyde’s wonderful little book back sometime in early ’80s when it was first published and I was living in a yurt community in the mountains of Wyoming. I remember loving the book, but don’t remember what it said. At least consciously. Perhaps its message has been germinating inside me all along, and, when the time was right, instantly manifested in the subtle, humble form of a neighborhood “Gift Circle.” 
I find it fascinating that during the this fundamentally chaotic Uranus/Pluto period (2011-2015) that is de- and re-structuring the status quo, during two short, welcome periods when the planets Mars, Jupiter, and Pluto all stabilized into a magnificent earth grand trine, these kinds of grounded experiments emerged —quickly, easily, and with seemingly no forethought and great inner power and stamina. This dynamic geometry, which briefly clicked in during November 2011, re-formed for this month of March 2012. Now its waning. Poof! So treasure what came through for you, and nurture its development, for it will help seed the new world as the old world continues to implode.
I have a feeling that when we look back on this fabled 2012 year, we will sense the month of March as the pivot point, hurtling us into an extraordinarily creative and fruitful regenerative energetic field that bathes our tiny planet in beauty and bounty.
So: back to Michelle’s question:
“I’d like to know more about this idea. I wonder if you would be willing to describe what the gift circle is for me?”
And my off-the-cuff response:

I first found out about the gift circle idea from reading Charles Eisenstein articles on He’s very articulate about the whole idea of the gift economy, and has written a book on the subject, “Sacred Economics,” which I have not yet read.
Think of three types of economies. The first is the one we’re in, the money economy; the second is the trading/bartering economy that springs up when money gets scarce, but it still depends on the negotiated exchange between two or more people, to the point where
what is exchanged feels equal or fair to both sides. At least that’s the ideal.
The gift economy is very different. Now I’m not talking from Eisenstein, but just from the experience we’ve been having in the gift circle we started here.
We come together as a group, committed to the idea that we are here to both give what we can offer to the group, and to state what our needs are to the group — both for that period of time. So we set up a relationship between ourselves as individuals and the group itself, rather than between two individuals within the group.
The group meets for about two hours (after a potluck supper). Sitting in a circle, we talk a bit first about how we are feeling in general, whoever wants to talk in this way. Then we begin the process of gifting and receiving, going around the circle, one by one, either in
order, or whoever wants to go next does, stating what we have to offer and what we need. We do not expect anything from anyone in particular, plus, it may be that no one in the group can meet our particular need for that week. Some people may have no stated needs that week, or feel unable to offer anything. Everything is okay. But more often than not,
when somebody mentions a particular offering, at least one person will speak up immediately. “Oh, I can help you with that.” Or, “my sister can do that for you!” (yes, we find ourselves offering other people who are not even in the group, and obviously will have to get their okay for it). Or, a need might just be for the group to look out for
someone that might be able to sublet their house for a month, or to care for their pet while they are gone.
So this is the process. The most important thing, and the hardest for any of us to “get,” was that there is no negotiation involved. It’s not, “I do this for you, and you do this for me in exchange.” There is no one-to-one exchange, though it may turn out that I give to you and you give to me, both are seen as part of the group process, rather than a negotiation between two people.
We had no idea what it would feel like when we started, but now that we are up and running, after four meetings we are really astonished to recognize that what this process is doing is encouraging everyone to shine with their full unique selves inside the group, which feels like a sort of hot-house of energy, building week by week (or, I should
say, session by session, we meet every two weeks). We allow ourselves to be vulnerable by stating our needs without expectation that anyone will be able to fulfill them. We recognize what we have to give, more and more as time goes on. It’s not just stuff; that’s the least of it. And not just the talents and skills that we are known for in the
regular marketplace. For example, last time I said that I just realized that one thing I could give to the group would be the capacity to help people go through transformational processes, especially those involving loss. I had never said that before. But it’s true! And I also gift to the group astrological readings should anyone want one. (In the regular marketplace I charge big money for these). Others have offered to give amazing things like handmade moccasins, hand-hewn flutes.
What it begins to feel like is a circle of blessings, that we are each blessing each other through this group process, and insodoing we are discovering the endless bounty of the universe that just keeps on gifting to and through us to the world. People have already gone through amazing transformations out of habitual attitudes of “scarcity
consciousness” into trusting the universe.
One other thing. After the second week, since so much had happened in terms of gifts and needs already, we started to add one more part to our process. And this is for each person, when it’s their turn, to begin by stating what they are grateful for. This attitude of
gratitude has already permeated our energetic field.
Each time we have met, there have been about a dozen people, not always the same. One third to one half of the people are different each time. We plan to keep the group open in this way, and expect that many of the people who come, when they experience the gift circle with us, will then go out and begin their own gifting circles. One man who
came from Brown County last time says he wants to come to ours a few more times before he starts one of his own there. An 88-year-old man who lives down the street from me came for the first time this past Sunday with his 90-year-old wife, and he wrote me a hand-written note the next day which he delivered personally, to tell me that God had
sent him to this group. Well I don’t know about that, but it does feel kind of magical. People of many ages and persuasions and talents and gifts present, and finding out about ourselves and each other in much deeper ways than usual, almost automatically, simply through utilizing this process of gifting both our needs and our offerings to each other
in what I’m coming to think of as a sacred circle. So yes, Eisenstein is right. This third type of economics is indeed sacred.
Just imagine what the world would turn into if each of us simply expressed ourselves fully into the world, with no expectations from any particular person and with a sense of security and trust that all our needs will be met and all our offerings will be welcomed.
I’d love to see gift circles start up in every neighborhood of this town. I think it would be a way to revitalize neighborhood associations which get caught up in zoning issues and complaints. Instead, what comes into being is the enormous generosity of
expressive being that powers the universe.
Does this help?

Friday, November 15, 2013

AwakeandAware: Recipro CITY ~ Modeling a New Economy

So many wonderful souls coming together at this time with beautiful visions for the future.

AwakeandAware: Recipro CITY ~ Modeling a New Economy:

Recipro CITY ~ Modeling a New Economy

I've mentioned a while back that I have a plan for a new value exchange / swap shop type place.

This idea is slowly forming in my consciousness.... like a puzzle... bits and pieces fall into place, here and there, over the past few months.

I made a new friend this week, who has helped me to formulate and organize my thoughts, so I am happy to say I finally have an update for you and am feeling things moving forward.
My husband and I have come up with a name and he is working on a logo for us.

What do you think of "Recipro CITY"?

I have already abandoned the socially acceptable business model and have my studio, in my home, full of rocks and orgonite and other artists creative works, along with spiritual books and metaphysical tools and jewelry, and healing herbs, oils and such.

I'm sending out the "word of mouth" advertising and accepting people here, by appointment, to choose from my wares and offer whatever they have to offer in exchange.

I don't set prices on anything, coming in or going out because I feel everyone values things differently. I let the people decide for themselves what is fair.

A bag of beans, to a father of 3 who's been without work for a year, is going to be way more valuable than it will be to a person who has a steady income.

For as long as a certain amount of cash is still needed, I suggest that a small portion of the exchange offer, be in dollars, if they have it to spare, and then I trust that the necessary amount, to pay the basic expenses, is always available when I need it... which it always is.

The second phase of this endeavor is to start a gifting club. Lisa, my new friend, brought me clarity on this piece of the puzzle with an article she posted. I'll post it in comments below incase you are interested in learning more. It had already come to me to do this but others around me has been able to grasp the concept that I am trying to get across to them. People are really stuck on the money part but I know it's part of my job to help them get unstuck. That article is helping me to explain the idea to people.

Phase 3 is to have a large building, and all the other necessary resources, donated, so I can begin the "No money needed clutter clearing" phase. I already have a clutter clearing business but here again, I am prepared to abandon the accepted business model and go to a cashless system instead, which will supply us with plenty of inventory for the store. I am also counting on the right people, appearing to help, at the perfect time, because I can't and am not supposed to, do this all by myself.
Phase 4 is an aquaponic, co-op farm (also inside the large building/ warehouse/ factory that houses the store) so we can actively address the food issues and provide food, as a choice of product in the store.

Phase 5 is a co-operative sustainable farm/community, on a beautiful, natural setting, that springs up out of the group that comes together to accomplish this massive vision of mine!
~ Angie Schuyler

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

What Can I Do - THRIVE's Action Item #2

What Can I Do?  From THRIVE's Top Ten Action List

Today we'll go over item number 2 on THRIVE's Top Ten Action List.
Number 2 on the list is Bank Locally.
They couldn't have said it better, Align your money with your values!  I am going to copy that section here for you to delve in and see how important it is to bank local.

Via THRIVE : Bank Locally

"Centralized banks are the main funders of environmentally harmful industries such as nuclear, coal, and clear cutting logging companies. They are also responsible for the most recent economic collapse that caused people around the world to lose their homes, their jobs, and their retirements. They use customer’s deposits to make these destructive loans. Are these the projects you want to keep supporting with your deposits? If not, then pull your money out of centralized banks and find a community bank or credit union that invests in good local community projects.
If you bank at one of the following banks - aka the "Tapeworm 20" - we recommend pulling your money out immediately and finding a better alternative.
1. Bank of America, US
2. JP Morgan Chase & Co., US
3. HSBC Holdings, UK
4. Citigroup, US
5. Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Japan
6. Industrial and Commercial Bank
7. Wells Fargo & Co., US
8. China Construction Bank Corporation, China
9. Bank of China, China
10. Royal Bank of Scotland, UK
11. BNP Paribas, France
12. Barclays, UK
13. Banco Santander, Spain
14. Agricultural Bank of China, China
15. Credit Agricole, France
16. Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group, Japan
17. Mizuho Financial Group, Japan
18. Lloyds Banking Group, UK
19. Goldman Sachs, US
20. UniCredit, Italy

A 3 Step-Guide to Move Your Money to a Local Bank:
1) Gather a list of local banks and credit unions.
You can usually come up with a list by calling your Chamber of Commerce, contacting a local credit union and asking about other local banks, or by using the yellow pages. Facebook and other friend-based social networks can help you learn which banks are best. Many local Banks and Credit Unions will also help you distinguish the real local establishments from those simply trying to sound community-based.
Don’t be fooled by the name…Union Bank of California is owned by Mitsubishi in Japan and funds some of the most destructive logging ventures on the planet.

if you live in the U.S., you can also enter your zipcode here to find local banks in your area. Another useful resource is

2) Evaluate the banks by calling around and visiting their websites.
The first and most important questions you want to ask are:
  • What percentage of your money is loaned locally? (The more, the better)
  • Are you owned by a bigger bank or do you intend to be bought-out? (If so, find a different bank) 
  •  Are you FDIC insured? (Never put more than $250,000 in one bank)

3) Consider your own needs and what the bank offers to make your final selection.  Is the bank doing what you care about and offering services that are important to you?
Some things you may want to consider:
  • Does the bank have a good reputation in the community?
  • Is the bank committed to supporting local businesses, environmental stewardship, social and economic equality, and other values of particular importance to you?
  • Are employees at the bank paid well, local, diverse, and seemingly cared for in their jobs?
  •   Do they have sound business practices and financial statements? Analyze their annual reports.
  • How close would you like the bank’s location to be to your home or place of work?
  • What are the hours of operation? Does this work with your schedule?
  • Does the bank have good customer service?
  • What are their ATM fees? Are there multiple ATM’s in town?
  • Can you access the bank or credit union through international ATM machines to make travel easy?
  • What type of online banking services do they have?
  • Is paperless billing an option?
  • Do they have any mileage credit cards if that’s important to you?
  • Can you apply to see what credit limit you qualify for before opening an account? If it’s lower than you current limit, ask if a transfer of credit is possible.
  • What are their lending and investment services like?
  • What are their Certificate of Deposit interest rates?
  • What are their wire transfer fees?
If some of the services you have received from a large bank are not available, ask what they would need to implement the service. It may be that if enough customers show an interest and a commitment that the bank can accommodate a request. In our experience, this has been the case with waiving ATM fees, granting larger credit limits and providing international services. 

Local Banking Resources:
Move Your Money Campaign - This campaign partners with other organizations to promote local banking. So far they’ve moved hundreds of millions of dollars out of Wall Street mega-banks. You can enter your zipcode on their website to search for local banks and credit unions in your area.
Audio Guide with Catherine Austin Fitts on Banking Locally - This audio seminar is a great introduction to the benefits of banking locally and the story of one woman's successful transition from a centralized to a local bank.
Rainforest Action Network is leading a nationwide movement to stop the two largest funders of coal power plants: Citibank and Bank of America. You can find out more and join the movement on their website.
Kyle Thiermann, a young pro surfer from Santa Cruz, California inspired people to move over $100 million of lending power from Central Banks to local banks as a result of his initial video project, Claim Your Change. The video shows how people’s deposits in Bank of America could be funding the development of a coal-power plant in Chile. Find out more on his website,

Friday, January 18, 2013

What Can I Do?

What Can I Do?  From THRIVE's Top Ten Action List

Let's start from the top of THRIVE's top ten action list and work our way through.
Today we will tackle item #1, Get Informed, Speak Up and Connect With Others.
This is probably one of the hardest actions I have to personally do.  As stated at the link above on the THRIVE website, our lives have been controlled through every major facet of our existence.   Most people are totally unaware of the agenda of the "elite".  It's extremely difficult to get people to even think about the fact that they have been manipulated, controlled in everything from Government, Financial, Healthcare, Medical and even Religion.   Of course it's all been planned that way.  Through diligent research and prayer, meditation and contemplation we see through the lies and find the truth.
Researching it and knowing it is one thing, relaying your findings, insights to others is totally another.  The information is often not well received.
The saying "You can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink" applies here :)  Nobody likes to be duped and nobody likes anything "shoved down their throats" either, that's a quick way to completely turn someone off.  I find that the just planting "seeds" of information that someone recalls later on when they hear or see something related to that tid bit of knowledge works best.  They get thinking that there might actually be something to this and dig and start researching themselves and so they start down the rabbit hole and the road to awakening.
Here's a great link to the section of THRIVE's website on conversation starters.

So be strong everyone in your truth and lets get those seeds of knowledge planted!


Thursday, January 17, 2013

The THRIVE Movement

I'm asked quite often what our project is about.  Quite simply it's about making this beautiful planet we call home, pristine and peaceful again.  By showing people that every single one of us can make a difference and change the world.  It all starts with each of us!

The problems facing us in these times can be quite daunting.  Global warming, air pollution, water pollution, noise pollution, fracking, dependence on fossil fuels, de-forestation, food shortages, water shortages, homelessness, animal abuse and the list goes on and on.  While these are all huge, global problems, it only takes one of us to get the ball moving and bring about change.

I am thrilled to see so many groups forming and starting projects to beautify this planet, bring us free energy solutions long held back from the public and a whole host of other projects to benefit the planet and humanity.
The inspiration behind many of these movements came from the "THRIVE, What On Earth Will It Take" movie.  I think every person in the world should watch this movie!  It can be seen here for free from their website  direct link to the movie here

On THRIVE's website there is a link titled "What Can I Do?"
In that section you will find links to the top ten actions that you can do.
1) Get Informed, Speak Up & Connect With Others
2) Bank Locally
3) Buy and Invest Responsibly
4) Join the Movement to Audit and End the Federal Reserve
5) Keep the Internet Fair and Open
6) Support Independent Media
7) Support Organic, Non-GMO Farming
8) Require Election & Campaign Finance Reform
9) Advocate for Renewable and "Free" Energy
10) Take Part in Critical Mass Actions

 Over the coming weeks we will take these issues and explore them one at a time.  I would love to have all of you comment and start a dialogue about your take and input on these items.

Until then, take plenty of time watch the movie and explore the THRIVE website and check out their facebook page at

I welcome any comments.  It's all up to us folks :)