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Save the tigers with a glass of lemonade

Last Sunday, a friend and I were on our way to Lake Lagunitas to meditate in our favorite redwood grove, and decided to stop for a few minutes in a coffee shop in the little town of Fairfax.  As we walked back to the car, I noticed an A4 piece of paper taped to a lamp post.  It was written in a child’s handwriting and the headline read: “Save the tigers with a glass of lemonade.”  Each of the letters was drawn in a different color.  The rest of the sign said: “We are raising money to save the most endangered tiger species: the South China tiger. Come to 95 Dominga Avenue to help these tigers by buying a glass of lemonade. The lemonade ranges from a cost of 50 cents to any amount you would like to donate to help.  Thank you.”

I turned to my friend who knows Fairfax well, and asked him where Dominga Avenue was.  “Nearby” he answered.  “Oh, let’s go, then,” I said.  “I’d love to support these young change-makers, and buy a glass of lemonade.  Could we?”  Three minutes later, we arrived at 95 Dominga Ave and discovered two young girls chatting with each other at a folding table set up on the sidewalk.  They could not have been older than 10 year old.  As we walked toward them, they gave each other a worried look, and before we even had a chance to ask anything, they apologetically explained that they had run out of lemonade.  “Oh, that’s fabulous,” I said.  “How much did you raise then?” “10 dollars!” one of them answered proudly with a beaming smile.  And the other added, “but we are now out of lemonade.”  “That’s ok,” I said.  “I did not really come for the lemonade. I just wanted to meet you and tell you that I am inspired by what you are doing.  What moved you to do this?”  They had heard about the fate of the tigers in school and wanted to do something about it.  “This is great, I commented.  I’d like to give you another $10 to help the tigers.” They both opened big round eyes, and thanked us a dozen times, finding it hard to believe that they could receive as much money in the form of a spontaneous gift, as they had earned during the previous few hours. My friend and I walked away feeling really giddy from this sweet encounter.  I wish the South China tigers knew that two young girls on the other side of the world care about them enough to spend their Sunday selling lemonades on their behalf.


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jane, the flamingseed

Jane Brunette

Jane Brunette is a meditation teacher, writer and poet, the publisher of Flamingseed Press, a contributor to the Huffington post, as well as the founder of an international network of “free writers” called Writing from the Soul. She teaches and writes about spiritual practices for turning challenging times into opportunities to develop a more soulful and meaningful approach to life, both individually and collectively.

I first met Jane through one of her blog posts which a friend posted on facebook. It was called Blossoming through Shared Suffering, and was about inspiring acts of generosity taking place in Japan in the wake of the nuclear disaster. I was so moved by her writing that I started exploring her blog (Flamingseed) and was immediately taken by her opening words:

Some seeds only germinate in a forest fire. This is an invitation to become a flaming seed: one who uses challenging conditions to blossom rather than burn. For inspiration, I comb the streets — not to mention the forests and villages, as well as the contemplative and mystic traditions — for insights, spiritual practices and visionary ideas on cultivating a loving, generative world view regardless of circumstances. And I doggedly question cultural and spiritual assumptions so that we can open fresh to these changing times with curiosity, innocence and a sense of adventure.

I then discovered that this fellow nomad who travels through Asia, South America and the U.S. was temporarily staying in Ubud where I was living.  I started attending her Writing from the Soul circles, which gave birth to my first poems.  I came to treasure the deeply soulful way with which she supports others to access their deepest creativity.  I also recognized that, like many other bright lights out there who give the world their all, she had a deep need for rest and rejuvenation. So, when I heard about her plan to retreat in the Andes mountains of Ecuador for several months to do some deep listening and writing, I felt called to support her journey with a $1,000 gift.

Jane’s post-Ecuador report back to me came in the form of a poem, Grasshopper Guru, which is also the title of her forthcoming book:

  Grasshopper Guru

 I left the stormy city traffic
for a cabin made of dry mud
and that grasshopper guru,
who for three days spoke truth
from the kitchen wall,
left through the open window,
then came back
to make one more point
about the necessity of idleness.

 

As I started reading the book manuscript she sent along with the title poem, I was touched to discover that the acknowledgment section of the book opened with these words:

“Special thanks to Aya’s Rivers flow fund for a gift which supported my 6-month retreat in a small adobe cabin in the Andes mountains of Ecuador during the winter of 2011. A number of these poems, including the title poem, were born from the drone from the river in the valley below.”   

2013 update ~ Grasshopper Guru (the book) is now available through Amazon.  You can read more about the insights that came to Jane during her time in Ecuador in her confessions of a recovering consumer, published on her blog. I also recommend reading the beautiful articles she wrote for the Huffington Post during that time: “How Occupy Wall Street Demonstrates the Power of Meditation in Action” and “Can a Word Change Your Life?” My personal favorite piece by Jane, written a few months earlier in Bali is “Four Steps to Transform your Personal Suffering into Universal Compassion.”


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filiz telek’s brave new world

Filiz Telek

Filiz is a fellow nomad, connector, story-teller, and ambassador for the gift economy, who keeps an inspiring blog called Brave New World, while traveling around the world interviewing people who make a difference, and documenting their ideas and projects through short videos and blog posts. In her own words, she’s “telling the new story of Earth and humanity.” She is also involved in anchoring permaculture and time banking paradigms in Turkey, and is part of Charles Eisenstein’s support team in helping to disseminate the ideas in Sacred Economics. I first “met” her through The Gift, a bold letter in which she invited her community to become part of her “gift tribe” and help her to stay free from having to monetize her time and energy. It was forwarded to me by a dear friend who felt that Filiz and I were on a parallel track and should meet each other.  I felt a great deal of resonance in what Filiz discussed in her letter, and was drawn to support this fellow ‘imaginal cell” to follow her soul’s calling. In June of 2012, I gave her the last $200 left in my flow fund at the time, wishing I had a lot more to give to her. She’s one of the people who has been inspiring me to find ways to flow fund beyond my official three year assignment, by calling upon new sources of financial support to keep the experiment going

I invite you to explore Filiz’ website, read her very inspiring invitation to join her gift community, watch her video interviews, and read her beautiful poems. Some of my favorite blog posts include:

You can watch Filiz’ video interviews including interviews of Alpha Lo talking about gifting circles, Nina Simons, the founder of Bioneers, and Annie Leonard the Producer of the Story of Stuff.


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she’s making a movie about money

Katie Teague

I first heard about Katie Teague while having dinner with my friend Brock in Boulder, Colorado, back in November of 2010. I had just talked to him about my interest in monetary systems and complementary currencies, and shared that I was a big fan of currency designer Bernard Lietaer.  He commented that his friend Katie was interested in similar things. “She’s making a movie about money,” he added. I was curious to hear more. When he mentioned that she had been interviewing many visionaries and out-of-the-box thinkers, my curiosity sky-rocketed. I wondered whether she had talked with any of the people I knew in the new economy and complementary currency movements.  A few minutes later, he and I were online and taking a closer look at Katie’s website.  I was thrilled to discover what she had been doing. She had already interviewed over thirty thought leaders and practitioners, focused on the need to upgrade, diversify and democratize our crumbling monetary system, and to evolve our individual and collective relationship to money. She was making a movie to explain what needs to change if money is to free rather than freeze human creativity and generosity, and if it is to support rather than jeopardize the creation of a sustainable world. The people that were featured on her Vimeo page included several friends like Orland Bishop, Vicki Robin, Nipun Mehta, Ocean Robbins, Susan Davis, Charles Eisenstein, and lo and behold, Bernard Lietaer himself.

Read the whole story


Save the tigers with a glass of lemonade

Last Sunday, a friend and I were on our way to Lake Lagunitas to meditate in our favorite...
article post

jane, the flamingseed

Jane Brunette is a meditation teacher, writer and poet, the publisher of Flamingseed...
article post

filiz telek’s brave new world

Filiz is a fellow nomad, connector, story-teller, and ambassador for the gift economy,...
article post

she’s making a movie about money

I first heard about Katie Teague while having dinner with my friend Brock in Boulder,...
article post