Gifting Our Way Forward
I was given a copy of Robin Kimmerer's beautiful book entitled "Braiding Sweetgrass". As I read through her poetic and soulful teachings I was deeply moved by her stories of indigenous practices of reciprocity and gifting culture. The book highlights the destruction that a strictly commodity based culture has not only on our natural world but on the intricate web of relationships we have with each other. I was particularly struck by her point that indigenous cultures saw the earth's resources as a gift and in receiving the gifts of the earth they understood that they had a responsibility to care for the land. She goes on to say that in a culture of private property our "rights" become our focus and we rarely think about our "responsibilities" in relationship to what we receive.
She writes thirteen guidelines for the "Honourable Harvest" one of which is "take only what is given" . I named this painting after that guideline and hung it on a post by the park today. It is a much smaller piece than the bulk of the paintings I have been gifting but I was happy to offer it as part of my community gift-away. I feel encouraged by the notion of whole cultures operating on economies of balance rather than unchecked growth and greed. I hope that our commodity based culture becomes infiltrated by a gifting culture that helps us to break free and imagine what it might be like for all of us to have what is sufficient- not only to our needs but to developing and offering our gifts.