Local Economy Gift Circle a Beautiful Discovery of Abundance

Peterborough residents who care about the local economy enthusiastically share gifts, offerings

Photo: Ben Wolfe

Photo: Ben Wolfe

A gathering last week evolved into a beautiful and energizing discovery of abundance as people quickly jumped in to offer help and their gifts to one another — and this despite the fact that many were relative strangers to one another.

Creating a local, living economy was the focal point of the gathering. The calling question: What if we created a local living economy founded on the gifts of people and place?

The experience began with a time for connecting with each other in small-group conversations about what brought people into the room as well as what crossroads they’re facing in relation to the local economy.

…there was a beautiful energy and spirit emanating from the authenticity and vulnerability in the room.

Then the invitation was put forward to experience a Gift Circle.

Inspired by the work of Alpha Lo and Charles Eisenstein, a Gift Circle is a group facilitation format intended to match resources with needs, create community and inspire gratitude and generosity.

Following the traditional Gift Circle format, participants in the gathering last week were first invited to share their needs, wants and likes.

People expressed small, tactical needs such as help with raking leaves to the less tangible, such as a yearning for renewed hope in relation to the local community and economy.

Others then quickly and warmly responded with offers of gifts they could extend to meet those needs, wants and likes — from recent stories of community change to spark hope, to a rake and elbow grease to get the leaves cleaned up.

A second portion of the gathering centred on people putting forward what they had to offer, apart from the needs expressed — for instance, a life history of blue-collar work experience that might anecdotally inform specific local economy research, to connections with university students who could be invited to add their voices and gifts to a local economy initiative.

“In the coming times, we will need the generosity, the selflessness, and the magnanimity of many people.”
— Charles Eisenstein

As the gathering wrapped up after two hours, there was a beautiful energy and spirit emanating from the authenticity and vulnerability in the room, as well as the warmth and generosity that flowed out of the sharing of gifts and offerings with no expectation of return.

“In the coming times, we will need the generosity, the selflessness, and the magnanimity of many people,” writes Charles Eisenstein in his article, A Circle of Gifts.

“If everyone seeks merely their own survival, then there is no hope for a new kind of civilization. We need each others’ gifts as we need each others’ generosity to invite us into the realm of the gift ourselves. In contrast to the age of money where we can pay for anything and need no gifts, soon it will be abundantly clear: we need each other.”

A second local economy Gift Circle is slated for Thur., Nov. 5. The Peterborough Dialogues is also hosting a Gifts and Offerings Circle every second Saturday. To learn more, visit peterboroughdialogues.ca.

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