We are all here to contribute our gifts toward something greater than ourselves, and will never be content unless we are.
~ Charles Eisenstein, in The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know Is Possible
- Our Work
- Our Work for this Website (and the r-LOVE-ution)
- Our Vision for this Website
- Our Vision for Our Family
[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.]
[UPDATE 28 March 2017, re Our Vision for this Website: In line with the sixth point in the 6-point list describing our vision for the site (further down on this page), we have started the Money-for-the-Good project.]
[UPDATE 21 March 2017, re Our Vision for this Website: In conversation with Amanda Verdery Young, we came up with a nice metaphor for what we envision this site to be: an edible forest. Everyone on the gratitude page, the heart of our site, are sowing their seeds into the forest. The seeds are sprouting and growing, at “the speed of the Internet”, into a great diversity of fruit-bearing plants. As people come by, the singing of birds, the buzzing of bees, and the sweet smells of all the flowers and fruits call them into the forest. They pick and eat of the abundance, and then – with full bellies, in delighted gratitude – they more often than not feel inspired to share their stories. In so doing, the fruit-loving forest strollers are, in their turn, brought to the gratitude page – for new seeds to be sown, into our ever-growing, ever-fragrant edible forest…]
1. Our Work
As mentioned on the about & contact page, we see everything we love to do as our work. Everything we do because we feel deeply called to do it, is our work. Let’s take an example: From August to December 2016, I spent most of my work time doing carpentry. I constructed an attic room for my stepson. I loved every minute of that work. And now my stepson loves his room.
Needless to say, I didn’t earn one cent on that work. I did recycle some wood that I got from a neighbour, as well as a couple of sawed-up pieces of IKEA furniture. But despite that, I had to put the project on hold more than once for financial reasons. The room was finished just in time for Christmas, and so was our money.
Well, carpentry is still something that people would recognize as work. But let’s take another example: My wife, my daughter, and I went to see a friend at a hospice. We can call her Anna. When we entered her room, she was but skin and bones, yet shining brightly from within, with a great smile on her face. Another visitor was there too: an energy healer, whom we had never met before. While I was mostly busy taking care of my daughter’s needs, my wife interacted intensely with Anna and the healer. As we left, my daughter dared for the first time to really connect with Anna, and waved her goodbye. My wife, on her part, was deeply touched by her meeting with the healer. At the end of that day, without addressing it as such, we both knew that important work had taken place. Work that felt sacred. It had certainly cost us a bit of gas money, but it had made us much richer. All of us.
This is how we live. We do what we feel called to do, and work happens – whether it involves money or not. We cook almost all our meals at home. We enjoy gardening, nature, and all kinds of creative activities, from ceramics and woodcarving, via design and painting, to photography and writing. Plus a hundred other things. I wouldn’t say that we work when we eat or sleep or make love, but on the other hand I feel no need to divide our time into categories. In fact, I don’t see much of a reason to use the term work at all. Why not think of our days and nights simply as the flow of LIFE; isn’t that what it is?
Okay, you might think, but what about your deepest gifts? What did you come here for? Well, we feel that is a relevant question. The deepest answer would be to say that we came here to give of ourselves; to love. As for what we offer to others in terms of specialized work, Maya and I are both in transition. We feel that our sites, Doula Maya and Shanto’s Peace Corner, do represent some of our deepest passions; just like this website does. Shanto’s story about his lifelong quest for “right livelihood”, which you can read here, adds some more nuances to the picture.
It should be noted that both our professional paths (in their present form, as represented online by the aforementioned websites) are the fruits of us starting a creative process together three years ago, shortly after we had met. What started as a book project, evolved into an open-ended creative family movement embracing all that we hold dear. Whereas its former online home was here, the open-ended movement seems now to be crystallizing into the form of THIS new website. (Yes, you got it right, the word “this” is not intended to be linked elsewhere.)
And with all of that said, we need to add a word on our present life situation as a family. It has to be stated that currently we have a really hard time making ends meet. Moneywise. That is why we humbly ask you, if you feel en-riched by “I Believe in GOD – An Acronym for Giving is Our Destiny”, and believe in our work and vision, to consider backing our fundraising campaign. (IF you have the means AND feel JOYFUL about it, that is. Otherwise, please don’t! 😉 )
Whether or not supporting us in riding out our difficult-to-finance-daily-life period brings you joy, you are MOST WELCOME to give towards the growth and development of this website in some other way. All givers, of all sorts of gifts, are being featured on our growing gratitude page, the very HEART of our site. And in the blood ciculating from that heart, the separation between you and us is dissolving, by the beat…
2. Our Work for this Website (and the r-LOVE-ution)
This website is rooted in a place in the human heart shared by EVERYONE; an undivided place of peace, love, and abundant creativity. Our work is motivated by our seeing that the outer expressions of this heart place have increasingly, over the last period of time on Earth, been forced to retreat from public visibility in society at large. We consider this an extremely tragic fact. For the place we are talking about, is the place of Natural Giving. And the reason its expressions have been disappearing more and more from our human communities globally, is the way our money system works (and the consciousness inherent in it).
Our money system is interest-driven, hence perpetuating growth through mechanisms innate to its functioning. The resulting infinite growth is utterly incompatible with our living on a finite planet. We feel that this should be made compellingly clear to anyone who opens their mind and heart to Charles Eisenstein‘s work (and most specifically Sacred Economics). In fact, we would never have had the guts to make this radical (and taboo?) statement publically visible, and even set up an entire website based in it, if it were not for Charles Eisenstein.
What he shows more clearly and convincingly than anyone else is how the growth imperative of the money system is the essential culprit not only in the ecological devastation, but also in the multitude of converging crises of society at large; of our entire civilisation.
Ultimately, what is being captivated, starved, and denied expression in the crisis of our civilisation, is that undivided place of the heart that we all share; the place from where we give, out of a feeling of abundance. Thus, it is also FROM THERE the r-LOVE-ution springs – in the spirit of what Charles Eisenstein calls “the more beautiful world our hearts know is possible“.
Now, the good news is that by YOU (meaning any “I” on the planet) saying YES to that which lies at the foundation of this website, everything needed for the r-LOVE-ution to keep happening, is already accomplished! For by saying yes, you say yes precisely to THAT which has so long been forced to retreat from public visibility by the ruthless growth imperative of our economic system. You say yes to the UNDIVIDED place that is shared by every human heart (whether we are conscious of it or not). And when you say yes to that, you automatically start to move… in a r-LOVE-utionary direction. Whatever that practically implies in your UNIQUE life situation.
We are MANY today who are moving in this direction (as exemplified, for instance, by the many beautiful initiatives portrayed here, here, here, here, here, and here). What unites us all, is the deep knowing that the reason we were born onto Earth was NOT to participate in a civilisation destroying the living tapestry of the planet. Rather, the reason we came here was to GIVE & RECEIVE of our unique gifts in between each other; and to form human communities based on such a NATURAL way of life. As we return to that natural knowing in our hearts, we come to see that the current crisis of our global human society comes with an amazingly beautiful potential of making our lives r-LOVE-utionary and… DEEPLY MEANINGFUL.
Our work for this website, hence… is simply about being part of this r-LOVE-utionary movement, while we keep sharing our personal experiences, discoveries, and creations with YOU. We don’t feel that we have much to add on the analytical level, where Charles Eisenstein and many others, do invaluable, masterful work in service of the r-LOVE-ution. Maya’s and mine contribution is all about PRACTICALLY exploring how we, AS A FAMILY, can start to live, and work, more and more in THE GIFT. And this we are doing inspired by all of YOU. It is YOU who make our community come alive.
One final, important word about our work: Maya and I are, like everybody else on this planet (whether consciously or unconsciously), IN TRANSITION. We know very well that Rome was not built in a day. Neither was it built on pristine ground. Likewise, the grassroots r-LOVE-ution of our times does not emerge out of nowhere. It emerges out of the old, crumbling human civilisation. The new world will inevitably be built on the ground where the old one once stood strong. All the debris of the crumbling institutions of the old, will therefore be looked at. Anything found to be of value in the transition, will be reused. The r-LOVE-ution is not about throwing anything, or anyone, out. It is an ORGANIC METAMORPHOSIS. Thus, there is no need to look for idealistic perfection. Not in our lives, in your life, on this website, or anywhere else. Maya and I still use money, of the old, planet-destroying sort. Our lives are still deeply interwoven with the institutionalized systems of the old. We cannot move out of all of that faster than it naturally crumbles. All we can do is to keep GIVING, of what we truly LOVE to give – such as all of what we share with YOU through this site – and keep RECEIVING of what YOU share with us.
3. Our Vision for this Website
The vision for this website is that it will be the nexus for a growing community of people who share the heart-rooted intention of Living-in-the-Gift. People who, just like us, are in transition towards a life in “The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know Is Possible” – knowing, like we do, that this world is created only by us taking active, practical steps towards it in our day-to-day lives.
We envision that these people (hereafter, on this page, referred to as “YOU”), just like us, will be living increasingly outside the old, outdated “normal” in general, and increasingly outside the old, outdated money economy in particular. (Even though we realize that moving out of “the old” is quite a task, and we understand it may often have to happen with baby steps.) We envision, hence, that YOU will be our co-creators. We envision that this website will grow & develop thanks to YOUr GIFTS.
As the nature and content of these gifts cannot be known before they are given, we cannot tell exactly how this website will develop, in form nor in content. Yet, we DO, from the outset, have a concrete vision for it (as mentioned in “Shanto’s Story” told on the page Right Livelihood); namely that this website will grow & develop into a SOCIAL MEDIA NETWORK for the NEW GIFT CULTURE.
Perhaps this will indeed happen through this actual website metamorhphosing into a social media platform in itself, with the same domain name and all. But it seems more likely to us that “I Believe in GOD – An Acronym for Giving is Our Destiny” will be a place for our vision to mature into a formula (for a social media network) that WE, as a community, feel good about, and that this formula then will be applied to another website, on another domain. We know very little about the various aspects involved in establishing a new social media platform, so this is one area where YOUr GIFTS of know-how, ideas, and experience are extra welcome. If YOU have relevant skills (in web-technical, juridical, marketing, or other aspects of starting a social network), and/or if this vision sets your creativity aflame, YOU are more than welcome to share your ideas with OUR community through the GOD blog.
And then for the financial plan…
Haha! THIS is where we go wrong! Habitually. We are so conditioned to think in terms of money as soon as we want to do something in life! But starting to live in the GIFT is all about stepping out of this kind of conditioning, isn’t it!?
Okay, sure: it will cost money to start a social media platform for people Living-in-the-Gift. There is no way of avoiding that. Even a simple website like this one, where YOU are now reading this sentence, costs money. (Domain, web hotel, etc.) But – and this is the big BUT – living and working in the GIFT demands another consciousness; another mentality; another psychology than the one we have lived and worked within as long as we have been living and embodying the Story of Separation on this planet. It demands, in simple words, something really radical: that we FORGET about money as we know it. That we leave it out of the equation, and simply start GIVING. This won’t erase the monetary costs involved, but it WILL render them irrelevant. For where money may be scarce, our giving, as human beings, is potentially LIMITLESS; and thus inclusive of any monetary needs involved. In other words, whereas the old money-conditioned consciousness may stop the creative flow, the new gift-based consciousness won’t.
Do YOU believe in that? Or does it sound too naïve, too irresponsible, too New-Agey, too… you-name-it? Well, what it all comes down to is: are YOU ready to look at the world, and EXISTENCE itself, from beyond millennia of conditioning; from beyond the Story of Separation? Are you ready, at least, to take a peak? Or, in other words, do YOU believe in GOD; are you ready to start walking towards GOD, the acronym for Giving is Our Destiny?
In any case, here is our current thinking about the envisioned SOCIAL MEDIA NETWORK for the NEW GIFT CULTURE. We envision that among the main functions of the platform, will be the following six:
- People will be encouraged to tell what they want to give. This can be literally ANYthing. It can certainly be the part of the apple harvest they can’t eat themselves or the baby clothes they no longer need. But above all, the gifts asked for will be the gifts people feel, from deep within, are the ones they were BORN TO give. The ones they are BURNING to give; whether that is their knitwork, their skills in repairing bicycles, or their services in communicating with animals. Indeed, it could be ANYthing. But the more burning desire-to-give inherent in any one offered gift, the more vitality will be added to the network.
- The platform will allow people to search for specific gifts. Among the search parameters, one of the most important will be geographical location. Some gifts will be possible to give and receive over great geographical distances, whereas many others will require that giver and receiver meet in person. In any case, measures will be taken to inspire, encourage, and support users of the platform to actually meet in person. We envision that the online platform will be stimulating the formation of local gift circles/communities where people do MEET IN PERSON; and that such initiatives, in their turn, will be stimulating the growth of the online platform.
- Once a gift that fulfills the specific need behind any one gift-search is found, the platform will provide an option for the gift-seeking person to send a REQUEST to the giver. The giver will, of course, first have to decided if it is appropriate to give their gift in any one particular case; and if it is, practical arrangements can be made directly between giver and receiver.
- All gifts given will be RECORDED, and in some way DISPLAYED towards the users of the platform.
- People will be encouraged to share their stories about living and working in the GIFT with one another. Such stories could be shared in writing, photos, videos, or other ways. Perhaps through something like an online noticeboard with different theme sections.
- The platform will have a special section where money can be given (or, alternatively, lended without interest). Here, investors and entrepreneurs will be meeting. People with MONEY will be asked to specify to which purpose they would like to give/lend it, and people with IDEAS will be asked to specify what they need money for. In other words, the platform will let Right Livelihood meet Right Investment. All in the spirit of what Charles Eisenstein has called “using money to destroy money” (Sacred Economics, pdf version, page 268).
Now, it should be noted that all six of these main functions are already, to some extent, in place on this current version of “I Believe in GOD – An Acronym for Giving is Our Destiny”. That’s right; HERE where you are now reading this sentence! Because:
- Here YOU are most welcome to express what YOU want to give. Either through a story for the GOD blog, or in direct communication with us.
- Here, on this site, there are already gifts on offer, and more will come…
- YOU are, of course, welcome to request the gifts on offer. Or to ask for a specification as to their nature.
- All gifts given through the nexus of this current website, are being recorded on our gratitude page. Whereas this primarily concerns gifts given from YOU to us, this site, on the whole, is a living record of what we give to YOU; as well as what is given in between YOU. In any case, as in every true gift community, the YOU-and-us distinction will – we envision – over time, come to drown in the “always-greater-than-us US” that represent the true soul force behind our enterprise.
- Here, through this website, YOU are most welcome to share your story about any aspect of living and working in the Gift, in the GOD blog.
- If YOU are at either end of the Right Livelihood meets Right Investment scenario, YOU are likewise most welcome to express YOUr specific intentions, wishes, and requirements through a contribution to the GOD blog.
Observing that all the envisioned main functions are already in play HERE, it seems it is just a matter of keeping moving in the same direction, for that which we envision to come more and more true… Yet, that will only be happening thanks to YOUr contributions of time, ideas, suggestions, visions, skills, money, feedback, energy, enthusiasm, experience, desire, love, commitment, and any number of other qualities and resources – given in gratitude.
4. Our Vision for Our Family
Even though Maya and I currently don’t even know if we will have money to go to Sweden on holidays the coming summer, so that our daughter will get to meet her grandmother and other Swedish relatives, we feel RICHER than ever. “How rich we are!” I hear those words, or similar, from Maya almost daily. And nothing warms my heart quite like hearing her talk like that. For it mirrors exactly how I feel, but barely dare to expect HER to feel. I feel it asks a lot of a woman to trust her husband as he goes off in a direction where most people seem to see only obstacles, such as dense jungles and barren tundras. I feel it asks a lot of Maya to trust me when I tell her of the beautiful sunrise over a flowering meadow that I see. Yet, she does.
And not only that, she actually joins in. She comes along. She is a woman ready to reevaluate everything in her life, it seems. She is someone who is ready to go anywhere, as long as it feels true. The new direction she has taken since our daughter was born, fully represents her passion, I feel. The gifts she is now starting to give, are her REAL gifts. Even though she is still in training, she IS already a childbirth doula – from the inside, and more and more out.
Maya and I have been on a journey of open exploration ever since we first met, in the very last days of November 2013. Just as our marriage was sealed in a tantric ritual long before we got married under Dutch law, in our being together, EXISTENTIAL matters have always taken precedence over those to do with a registered life in a modern constitutional state. For us, as I have come to see more and more clearly, somehow the doing of things comes BEFORE asking whether they are possible or not.
One example would be when we got a mortgage for our new house without either of us having an employment. (Yes, we too are presently chained to the old, dying money system.) Another example would be when Maya gave birth to our daughter in our fourth floor apartment, despite the midwife having told us upfront in the morning of that day that we lived too high up for homebirth to be allowed. A third example would be that despite not having a cent to set aside for a holiday trip to Sweden the coming summer, we already know that nothing can keep us from going.
This doing-before-asking-whether-possible, is a new quality that has entered my life since I met Maya. And I believe it is new also in Maya’s life since she met me. It is a quality seemingly emerging out of some mysterious alchemic process going on in our being together. And we like it! So, as for the VISION for our family, all we can say is that we will keep going in the way we’re going…
Two particular things deserve to be mentioned though. The first is that, in due time, we intend to phase ourselves out from the center of what will be created according to the vision for this website as outlined above. If and when this website metamorphoses into, or buds off, an actual social media platform, we don’t intend to stay at the center of its management. Rather, as far as we can see, it seems appropriate that some form of nonprofit organization would be founded to be at its organizational and operational center. But, let’s stay open and see.
The other thing we want to mention, in particular, is that we intend to unschool our daughter. Here in the Netherlands, such an endeavour may just barely be fit in within the law. But, true to our way of doing before asking what is possible, Maya and I don’t intend to let any life-denying law come in the way of what moves us from within. This is not to say that we are planning to break any law. We will just keep going in the direction we are going, in trust. If need be, we will be moving to another country. Perhaps, somewhere a bit warmer… 🙂
Just to give YOU a taste of the direction we’re looking in as a family, we want to present you with this beautiful trailer for a movie called… Given: