Guest post by John Bell of Transition Westchester
Regardless of who wins the election today, that man will proceed forward with the knowledge that half of the voting public did not support him. Regardless of which candidate "wins," he will struggle to act with a similarly divided Congress. If there ever was a time for a book like Susan Clark's and Woden Teachout's Slow Democracy, that time is today.
Early in its pages, Clark and Teachout poke fun at their own title: who wants their democracy to be "slow"? Yet rather than snail's pace, Clark and Teachout had a very different definition in mind. Building from the energy of the Slow Food movement, they envision recapturing some of the more intangible and precious aspects of democracy -- aspects which America has abandoned in our relentless pursuit of "efficiency."
The other day I was having a conversation with some new friends at one of the great Wilkinsburg community gardens, the topic of the conversation was yield. You see... Community gardens are often plots of land with very few perennials, shrubs or trees... Recently some of the community gardens in my area have begun planting fruit trees.
Maybe you just launched your town’s first rickshaw taxi. Maybe you sell vegetable seedlings at farmers market or you’re pioneering urban goat cheese production. At any rate, you’re still going to need a few of the tools that conventional businesses use, like business plans and accounting systems. May I introduce you to The Right-Brain Business Plan by Jennifer Lee
So you’ve read plenty about The Great Turning our society is going through. And you fully understand that the old ways are fading away, and that your “job,” your career, your livelihood is going to look kind of different.
But how do you find it?
It's late summer with hints of autumn, and the mourning dove nest in the pot on my baker's rack sits empty now. My family watched as the two little chicks had their flying lessons. The young doves lingered near the nest for another two nights, and then they left for good. On occasion, I still see them foraging -- not quite fully grown, nor altogether capable, but they do all right on their own.
As initiator of Transition action in Los Angeles, I've been doing a bit of the "empty nest" syndrome myself. For successful initiators in large areas worldwide, the empty nest phenomenon is part of the natural and evolving Transition journey of building local community.
In many spiritual circles, it is popular to talk about gratitude. Gratitude encompasses much more than a quickie “thank you.” It implies a much deeper state of mind, one that practitioners realize will position you to receive even greater abundance.
Gratitude – together with all the volumes that have been written about it – is very much an ingredient of the gift economy. A very beautiful ingredient, which enriches our hearts and spirits, at the same time as it potentially invites more substantial and tangible gifts.
Some communities are beginning to set up "gift circles" -- a collection of people who want to engage in gifting practices on a regular basis. But you don't need to wait for an official gift circle. Here's how you can get gift economy concepts rolling right now.
Gifts have the function of bonding communities together. ...
If your entire life is nothing but money transactions, ... then you don't have community because you don't need anybody.
-- Charles Eisenstein, http://youtu.be/cS07gM74tww
My dad just gave me a brand-new sawzall reciprocating saw. Yesterday its maiden voyage helped to repair the rainwater harvesting tanks at the community garden. In the spirit of gifting (in Maori they call it hau), with this “second giving” the sawzall entered into the gift economy.