The gifting concept came to my attention through my involvement in Modifyre and has had an enourmously positive impact on my life. It’s opened my heart, introduced me to people I wouldn’t ordinarily gravitate towards and improved my confidence. The notion of gifting is simple; to give without expectation of receiving.
Gifting at Modifyre
Since the first event in 2014 – Preconception – my official Modifyre gift has been Yoga. At each event, I have received gifts including food, entertainment, hugs, drinks, kindness, art, experiences, encouragement and plenty of opportunities for personal growth. I have received gifts from friends, strangers and unknown persons.
Gifting my skill in Yoga had the effect of removing any personal expectations of self. Removing money from the equation somehow made it acceptable for me to create the programs I wanted to – the program that inspired me, instead of trying to work out what I thought people needed, and guess what? Turns out people appreciated my gift, furthermore they indicated a great need for it, which in turn motivated me to continue. In this way, gifting has improved my business (despite, or maybe because of, being born out of a decommodified event).
Gifting In Society
Western societies dominant paradigm does not necessarily lend itself to gifting. Money, litigation, expectations and greed tend to get in the way. None-the-less I found the gifting principle managed to filter it’s way through for me. Outside of the Modifyre event I have been gifted overnight and extended accommodation, meals, information, stimulating conversations too numerous to mention and a repaired set of doors. I’ve found a way to be OK with apparently incongruous gift exchanges (you know, that Christmas you received socks and gave theatre tickets for example, or vice versa). Take a moment to remember the feelings associated with that exchange. Where they positive? In my experience such instances have been stressful and I don’t believe that was the original intention.
Gift exchanges for me are no longer about “what will they get me? What should I get them? Will they get me anything? They have everthing they need, but I can’t get them nothing, can I? I wonder how much they’ve spent on me this year?” etc. The conversation in my head now goes more along the lines of “Who is in need and what is is my capacity to give right now?” I’m also less likely to link my gifting with a commercial reason like Christmas or Valentine’s Day. Neither do I value gifts received or given, based purely on money (which is a bit handy, given I don’t have an abundance of that – yet). This shift has been good for my self worth (what a gift that has been!). It’s made me feel better about myself that despite living in a society that values money so highly, I still have a lot to give. A well timed hug, ear or shoulder to cry on beats an elaboate annual act offered out of obligation and costs nothing.
Over the years I have developed my own set of rules around the way I gift. Firstly, I always gift from my surplus. Granted, I’ve reduced my actual needs to a discrete set of core requirements but I still remain mindful of my capacity to gift – be it physical, emotional, time or resources. In doing so, I avoid gifting fatigue and ensure my personal and extended families needs are prioritised where necessary. Of course, the beauty of gifting is that you always get back more that you could ever expect or hope for, so sometimes it is a good idea to give away your last.., whatever… (but the trick is in having no expectations and truly let go of whatever you gift). Which brings me to receiving – this was the most difficult part of gifting for me to come to terms with.
Giving feels great, it certainly felt natural to me, but I found that receiving was perverted with subsequent feelings of ‘owing’, using people or taking advantage. I’ve pondered these states of mind deeply and realised that these feelings were sourced in my tendency to over-gift – to give at the expense of my personal wellbeing, so I don’t do that any more. I gift only from my surplus so when I say no, know I’m not saying no to you, I’m saying no to the circumstances Know that when I am capable of gifting, I will do so unreservedly with no expectations. Also know that I will respect your right not to gift and if you do I will be grateful, knowing that you do so because you can and you want to – and I can’t think of better circumstances in which to gift.
In the Modifyre community gifting is balanced by ‘radical self-reliance’. Gifts are not expected or relied upon and I feel this is the crux of the magic. Having no expectations allows gratefulness to enter. Spending time each day finding something to be grateful about contributes to positive wellbeing.
Expect nothing, be grateful for what you receive.