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Gift Culture

When it came to money, I remember Marshall Rosenberg saying, “Never do anything for money!” and “Find what you love doing, and ask people to support you to continue doing it.” I still feel tickled and curious about his challenge to find worth in a different place than money, and to contribute to life in a sustainable way.  

One of the communities that I belong to is the South Asian NVC certification community. I contribute as an Assessor-in-training. We met recently in India for a Mentoring and Pre-assessment event. Two of the four members of the Assessors team are from Western economies. Towards the end of the event we held a “money pile”, in which we pooled our financial resources and allocated them collectively to ensure the sustainability of the whole community. We found it deeply moving – every step was building community right in front of our eyes.  

A money pile is one step towards Gift Culture – a new paradigm that moves away from making money a measurement of worth and value, towards focusing on the sustainability as a whole of the community. In South Asia, we face profound challenges in doing this: there is a huge disparity of financial resources within India, and then another huge disparity between India and western economies. Given that we “need” such vastly different sums to be sustainable, how do we all come into one room for an event?

Gift Culture is an attempt to make the benefits of NVC accessible, in a way that is sustainable for all. Clearly, it’s not a “perfect” solution. However, it’s an attempt to tap into the joy of giving and receiving as a way of building community.

The money pile became a celebration of mutual gratitude for how we have all contributed to community. New money came into the circle as people connected with this gratitude and realised the joy of giving. I found it exciting to taste the possibility of building community in this way.

Gift Culture is one of the themes we explore in our NVC Year Training, starting in the UK in October 2019. The theme is Building Community, and also explores systems for establishing purpose, learning, fun and play, support, conflict transformation, decision-making, and access.