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Experimenting with a currency of trust, gratitude and relationship

an Action Inquiry about Flow of resources


We initiated this Action Inquiry to explore how we can organise more LIFE ALIGNMENT in HOW we exchange resources within this movement. 


How might it look if we design our movement with principles based on the gift economy, generosity and reciprocity? To strengthen our ‘Relational approach’, even in seemingly ‘transactional settings’.


How might we help nurture a healthy OIKOS* (household) for OD for Life with a currency of trust, gratitude and relationship? 


It matters HOW we organise ourselves.



Sean Andrew gives with this blogpost from the School of System Change a nice insight in how they hold a similar inquiry. The emergence of new patterns is not only formed by ‘What we are organising for’ but also by HOW we are organising our processes and practises. And as referred to in this post:

Meadows’ definition of a system...recognises that at the heart of change is a web of relationality, and that this web is nested at multiple levels, each contributing to each other. We must attend to all levels all the time, understanding their interconnectedness. It is our tendency however, as we organise for change, that we focus only on the outer level - where we want to have impact. Whilst there is the more subtle inquiry of how we organise in the microcosmic experience, as a joyful, lived, embodied reality, for those of us coming together. This is where the coherence and entangled miracle and mystery of life organising can be lived. Seeing it as a mathematical equation risks taking an instrumental approach to causality.


Another resource we would like to point to is this BEAUTIFUL audio and written story about an Economy of Abundance, by Robin Wall Kimmerer. From it, we would like to highlight the following paragraph: 


The words “ecology” and “economy” come from the same root, the Greek *oikos, meaning “home” or “household”: i.e., the systems of relationship, the goods and services that keep us alive. The system of market economies that we’re given as a default is hardly the only model out there. Anthropologists have observed and shared multiple cultural frameworks coloured by very different worldviews on “how we provide for ourselves,” including gift economies.


And in his book, Sacred Economics, Charles Eisenstein states:


Gifts cement the mystical realisation of participation in something greater than oneself which, yet, is not separate from oneself. The axioms of rational self-interest change because the self has expanded to include something of the other.” If the community is flourishing, then all within it will partake of the same abundance—or shortage—that nature provides. The currency of exchange is gratitude and relationship rather than money. It includes a system of social and moral agreements for indirect reciprocity. 


SO WHAT NOW? WHAT DOES THIS MEAN IN PRACTICE?

In the OD for Life movement we are experimenting with ‘Stating needs’ and ‘Transparency’. Cultivating a transparent culture of stewardship. 


Stating Needs

The intention is that the movement is carried among various souls. Therefore, we are experimenting with the Indigenous tradition of stating needs in the community and giving everybody the opportunity to step up and contribute, rather than asking for help. To this end, we created a spreadsheet where needs are stated (like hosting sessions, open roles) and everybody is invited to add her or his name.


Transparency 

OD for Life stewards are welcome to attend board meetings and have access to all documentation. Another domain where we want to be transparent is around finance. 


Though we hadn't agreed on transparency about financial contributions prior to our past gatherings, we have decided to give high level openness now. And we make the commitment to give full transparency for all up-coming financial flows. 


From here onwards

We will experiment in the upcoming EU gathering in the Netherlands (location Yugenforest) with stating the cost of the gathering and inviting everyone to contribute from a place of generosity. 


With massive gratitude for the abundance and flow of resources in the form of people’s contributions, ideas and care which are alive within our community. 


Stefan Faatz-Ferstl, Din van Helden, Michelle Holliday, Dave Pendle and supported reflections from Onno Geveke, Ana Arrabe and Matthijs Schilder.


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