Widening The Circle

Fundraising as Community Building
Gigi Coyle, December 2016

Paiute Shoshone Children

Today I will go to a fundraiser, something I rarely do, yet it is being held by the Bishop Paiute Shoshone Tribe. They are raising funds to go to Standing Rock and join other tribes to protect the water from the building of a pipeline. That First Nation people are even having to do such, opens yet again a window of awareness and grief over my ancestral history. I will go to the tribe’s Cultural Center today to bear witness, to lure others in, to bring cash to help pay for their gas to go to Standing Rock, and to listen for what is mine to do today.

I have been blessed to be in gifting cultures many times now in my life where our gifting of each other is actually the only competition active in the community. How can I out gift you becomes the best game in town !

How did we stray so far from such a world of mutual support, care, and community?

Fundraising for me is not something we do on a given day or at given event. There  is a possibility of exchange, and sharing of resources every day.

The wisdom is real, if we open ourselves to feel that your well being and mine are interconnected. We are as healthy as the earth is, we are as free as all people are, we are as happy as any and all are able to be. When my neighbor suffers I too feel the pain, I cry when I see the tears truly …..and when joy  is experienced by one , it can be shared by all. We all experience this nature of inter-dependence if we open our hearts and minds ….

Living in and contributing to what many today are naming a paradigm  of partnership is possible, is perhaps essential, if we are to resource, regenerate, and continue as a species. Raising monies for what we care deeply about is a way to express our passion, our concern, our care. It is an opportunity to inform, share, even educate others about something we know or feel is important. More to the point, it is a way to create connection, to build community.

So I offer a few questions to consider when exploring how to be a support to the healing wanted, the a good new story in this world.

What if anything is hard for you? Asking for support, asking for something truly needed, asking for others to join you in your life, your care, your work, your project, your vision, your concern? Or is it possibly hard to receive such a gift? If so, what does that indicate? And what of being asked? Are you tired of such? Do you have difficulty saying no? Is it simply overwhelming to walk time and time again through homeless ones on the street or open letter after letter filled with the pain of our world and the need for support? Are we overwhelmed by such or does shame and guilt of the difference arise? Does the gap in well-being stop us yet again from simply responding?

Our self-worth is invested in any such exchange, and the risk of rejection as either gifter or receiver can be paralyzing. We may have been taught to be self-sufficient and our entire ego rests on our independence. Or such a way of communicating is actually a cultural taboo, rather than an expression of communion.

Yet what if it all was seen more to be about matchmaking, finding partners, finding our people, walking our songline trusting there are others there.

Exchanging money or what may be truly needed, food, touch, information is but another form of love. It seems important for everyone, whether asker or giver, what it is we each have to receive and/ or give in this life, in this moment? Is there a good flow or not? And if not, what is in the way? Saying, “no, that is not mine to do,” can be empowering to another and nudge them to meet and find another way that may be far more right.

My suggestion and prayer is that we take each opportunity of exchange as a ground for inquiry, learning, and loving. Saying yes or no, being willing to ask or to receive, is about freedom of energy. And more free flow around money, I suspect would support more well-being for all. Don’t you think?