It is hugely ironic and hugely significant that the one thing on the planet most closely resembling the forgoing conception of the divine is money.
. . .
Anything you learn to do for yourself or for other people, without paying for it; any utilization of recycled or discarded materials; anything you make instead of buy, give instead of sell; any new skill or new song or new art you teach yourself or another will reduce the dominion of money and grow a gift economy to sustain us through the coming transition. The world of the Gift, echoing primitive gift societies, the web of ecology, and the spiritual teachings of the ages, is nigh upon us. It tugs on our heartstrings and awakens our generosity. Shall we heed its call, before the remainder of earth’s beauty is consumed?
~ Charles Eisenstein, in Sacred Economics
[UPDATES: This page functions as a current-state documentation. We won’t likely be changing the original text much, but will instead post any relevant updates here, at the top of the page.]
[SPECIAL UPDATE 27 September 2017: This site won’t be updated anymore.
We’ll be keeping it online for the time being though, and you’re welcome to get in touch with us about anything you find here. Should you feel inspired to support us in paying for the hosting & maintenance of the site, you’re very welcome to do so through this link. The following announcement about our closing of a circle (which explains why we’re ending the “I Believe in God – An Acronym for Giving is Our Destiny” initiative), is copied from Shanto’s personal Facebook feed:
Since I met Maya, the two of us have been in a process of looking at what wants to be created out of our meeting. It started (some three and a half years ago) with the idea of writing a book. The book, based on Maya’s and my own life stories, was published, chapter by chapter, to childoftheearth.org. Our creative initiative then grew beyond the book, into an open-ended movement where we experimented with different themes & things, all shared through the before-mentioned website. One of the main fruits of the movement was the organic cotton t-shirts we started selling through beyondbullshit.org. At one point of time the book-writing process ebbed out, due to other things calling our attention, especially the birth of our daughter. Later on, the process took a leap from the old website to a new one: ibelieveingod.org. This site was deeply inspired by the work of Charles Eisenstein, and in particular dedicated to the growth of the Gift Economy on Earth. Among the concrete projects that came out of it was the starting of a permaculture garden in our backyard, and some collaborative work with local initiatives, such as the ”doorgeefmarkt” (not all of it reflected on the site). Deeply immersed in the unfoldment of my creative relating with Maya is also the emergence of our individual movements, as reflected on our sites doulamaya.nl & shanto.org. And now… some days after coming home from a retreat with Maya’s and my tantra family (wildtantra.org), I see clearly that our entire movement is closing back on itself. The serpent is biting its own tail. And this is very beautiful…
It means that the seed that was sown, nearly four years ago, by our intention to create something together, has now grown into a tree ready to bear fruit truly rooted in our hearts. The trunk of this tree is what is pictured in the story of the last paragraph, and its two main branches are now flowering. Those branches are simply Maya and I. We hereby announce that, even though they will remain online for the time being (as a commemoration), our websites childoftheearth.org & ibelieveingod.org will no longer be updated. The t-shirts at beyondbullshit.org will remain for sale as long as we care to pay for the domain & web hotel, but that site neither will be updated. Instead, Maya’s creative movements related to her passion for childbirth will be reflected online through her own site, doulamaya.nl, and my creative movements (related to anything I want to make publically known) will be announced through my site shanto.org.
This site is currently dedicated exclusively to my work as an existential guide, within the Gift Economy. (Welcome for a cup of tea and a talk about your life – on gift basis!) But that may come to change… One thing I’m currently devoting much of my time to is the writing of a new book, about unschooling. It is being written in Swedish, but my intention is that once it is finished it will also be translated to English. In that book I will be thanking everyone who supported (financially or otherwise) the book project that was the origin of Maya’s and my whole creative movement. You know who you are, and if not, all your names are listed at childoftheearth.org/list-of-funders. Thank you.
As all of the no-longer-active websites mentioned above are still online, anyone who is curious is very welcome to visit & read. Much of what is described is still very alive in Maya and me; still unfolding in various ways in our lives. We just don’t want to devote more energy to making it publically available online. Countless hours have, over the years, gone into our creative process, as outlined here. It hasn’t paid off in money in any decent sense (very, very far from it), but it has nonetheless paid off! It has paid off in the now blossoming tree of Maya and me, and that is … quite something!
Lastly, I’d like to send a special thank you to Pema at Wild Tantra, the one who mothered the retreat where all of this became clear – as well as the retreat where Maya and I met, in November/December 2013. She has provided much of the water needed for the growth of the tree…]
[UPDATE 21 April 2017: One thing that needs to be clarified about “I Believe in GOD – An Acronym for Giving is Our Destiny”, is that it is an EXPERIMENT. You may want to look at it as a handful of mixed seeds thrown out on the earth where we walk. While they are all thrown in love, some will sprout and some will not. Our task is to nurture the ones that do sprout. Furthermore, for the sake of focus, we may have to abandon even some of the seeds that do sprout while focusing our attention on a limited number of growing plants (i.e. projects). Please, keep this in mind while browsing our site: It is a MEETING PLACE for your creativity and ours. It is us together who will be deciding where we want to put our focus. As for now, however, most of the seeds are still resting in the soil, preparing… Please, do notify us when you see that one of them is about to germinate and shoot towards the sun.]
In a world where everything based in the old, crumbling economic system is doomed, ours is the story of a family in transition. This website is our invitation for you to step aboard and journey with us into the gift culture for which our world is destined. And, to make it clear from the start, the main guide we have chosen to take with us on the journey is, Charles Eisenstein. Yes, we do dare to state that our world is destined for a gift culture. But it is also true that such a culture can only start to take root through the life choices of ordinary people, like us: My wife Maya and me. And YOU.
Maya and I don’t believe in God in any theological sense. Yet, when we talk about GOD (as an acronym for Giving is Our Destiny), we talk about what we hold most sacred: our everyday lives on Earth. We are common people, whose everyday lives are being lived in the middle of the Netherlands. Few things are fixed in our lives, but one thing is for sure: We have had enough of selling our souls for money (in the way it functions today, with interest and growth). We have decided to do only what we love to do. And to see that as our work, and our GIFTS, whether we get paid in money or not.
In our times, virtually everything has been commodified and monetized. There is not much left in the world that reminds us of OUR EXISTENCE beyond what can be sold and bought. In a darker place than the city, we may still stand silently under a starry night sky and breathe in awe. But, alas, we live in times when even the stars in the sky are for sale. Virtually everything has been taken from us, the people, so that it can be sold back to us, for money. And – most importantly – in this process, over time, natural, social, and cultural systems of all kinds have been damaged and destroyed.
We may choose to keep closing our eyes to what is going on. We may say: “If you happen to live in a place where the air is too polluted to breathe (such as Beijing, Delhi, or Mexico City), despair not. Just work a bit harder and hopefully you’ll be able to afford buying fresh air from elsewhere on the planet…” Or, alternatively, we may choose to open our eyes, and SEE: The story that a finite planet can accomodate the infinite growth that is built-in in our money system, is NOT TRUE. We need to catalyze the metamorphosis of that system into a NEW one; and watch all our views on life and all our stories about being human on Earth change along with it.
The extremily monetized world we live in, and the severe stress imposed by it, on planet and people alike, are (as Charles Eisenstein shows) but the logical consequences of our current money system being pursued to its inevitable end. This state of affairs, in our times of converging, interrelated crises, may also serve as an illustration to why my work as an existential guide is sorely needed. It seems many of us today, in our “Age of Separation“, need support to remember who we really ARE. So that we may, within ourselves, step out of separation and open to the already oncoming “Age of Reunion”. I have borrowed these two terms of human eras from Charles Eisenstein, as they serve well to illustrate the transition work I offer as an existential guide. This website, likewise – regarding life in general, and MONEY in particular – is devoted to such transition work.
- inserted note: Since recently, I offer my work on gift basis, receiving clients in my home. Alongside existential guidance, I also offer writing services. In my mother-tounge Swedish, and in English.
My wife Maya and I live and move together. We support each other’s creative processes. When the going gets tough, we encourage each other to remain in trust. Maya, with a background in office managing, is currently in the process of re-educating herself to be a childbirth doula. This is her passion and calling. Even though she is still in training, she already has a website and business cards. On the backside of her cards, my work as an existential guide is featured. And guess what is featured on the backside of my cards… 😉 That is how intimately we move together, as our work and private lives blend together.
Maya and I met in the end of 2013 and married in the end of 2014, after that I had moved from Sweden to the Netherlands earlier that year. In February 2015, our daughter Leah was born, in a birth pool in our livingroom. Leah is my best friend, and the love of my life. When we walk the dog together, we talk about existential things: The sound of an aeroplane above the clouds, the rainwater on the playground slide, why we cannot always get what we want, the sensation of sun in the face, or a ladybird crawling on the ground… The list of beautiful things to talk about is endless.
Maya has three children since before. Two of them live with their father, but one teenaged boy lives with us. Since summer 2016 we have been living largely off Maya’s unemployment money, supplemented with some additional funds. As of February 2017, however, the supplementary funds are finished. This is, in fact, one of the (secondary) reasons “I Believe in GOD – An Acronym for Giving is Our Destiny” has come about (as a way of reaching out to, and access, the fundamental abundance of the wider world around us). And specifically, it is the most urgent reason for our ongoing fundraising campaign (whose backers will all be portrayed, in the way they wish, on the page representing the heart of our site).
The MOST PRIMARY, reason for this website, however, is our deep longing to let what we love to do be the ONLY things we do. We are on our way there. We are in transition. But we feel we need to connect with more people like us, to gain momentum and mutual support. And that is what this website is ALL ABOUT: to seed and nurture a community of people increasingly Living-in-the-Gift. This website is our gift to all of us. We offer it as a platform that may come to expand into things that only YOU can imagine, and tell us about… You are welcome to read more about OUR VISION – for this website, as well as for our family – here. If you want to trace the background of the site several decades back, you can do that by reading Shanto’s Story.
Maya’s Presentation of Herself
In our family, most of the time, I am the writer. My beautiful wife Maya offers a hundred other gifts. Over time, I have been delighted to discover that she usually fully resonates with the way I see things. And, of course, some of my views have shifted, matured, or been nuanced in conversations with her – and still are, in a constantly ongoing process. Maya and I, one might say, LIVE what is being shared through this site. It wouldn’t be shared in the form it is, unless we were constantly processing it in the family life we live together. So, in that way, Maya is fully included in the “we” of the site. Nonetheless, it is also a fact that this website does not necessarily, in every detail, represent how Maya sees things. Although I often, throughout the site, write “we”/”our”/”us”, referring to her and me, please bear in mind that Maya has a unique voice of her own!
Here is Maya on Maya:
“Living in the gift, for me, is giving my love and attention; being responsible as a human being. In my calling as a doula, I give the gift that was given to me: the unassisted water homebirth of my daughter. I embody this gift in ways so that it flows out of me, vibrating with me. I am mostly unaware of what it actually consists in, but sometimes I can clearly see my contribution of living this gift. More and more mothers-to-be are approaching me to connect, and then transmission of the gift can happen.
On my website, I have indicated fixed prices for my services, but it should be seen in a wider perspective. I am well aware that the gift I am giving is in a sense priceless. As for payment in money, the prices on my site should only be taken as a starting point. There is flexibility. I am still to have my first client, and who knows what I will be learning about how my gifts best can be given. Only the future can tell.”
Maya can be contacted through her doula site. Or, e-mail her at mcox(dot)maya(at)gmail(dot)com.
Shanto can be contacted through Shanto’s Peace Corner. Or, e-mail him at shanto(at)shanto(dot)org. For contributions to the GOD blog, please get in touch with Shanto. You are welcome to write about whatever is on your heart, as long as it resonates with the topics and vibe of this site. To show our gratitude for what you contribute, and build our network of Givers, you will be featured on our gratitude page.