Gift culture and Place.
Two terms that have been a common thread throughout all the conversations I’ve been having with Matthew and Inma in this season, and this, the fifth and final conversation, is no exception.
Inma shares a lovely story of her grandmother always giving her this big box of chocolates on her Name Day, a day always celebrated with the entire extended family present, all the while knowing that Inma isn’t very fond of chocolates [I know. Just the idea that there are people out there who aren’t very fond of chocolate is enough of a tankespjärn to last me a day or two, that’s for sure!]. After many years of this, when Inma finally actually asked why, her grandmother’s response was: “I know that you don’t like chocolate, but because you don’t like chocolate, you are the only one who is going to open the box here and share it with everyone.”
Which is another way of pointing to what Matthew heard Dave Snowden say:
“Giving a gift is an indication that you want to be in community.”
Without a social fabric tying us all together, our world, our lives, would fall apart. Community – a weave of individual strands – forms the basis of gift culture.
“The presence of social fabric is a way to guarantee that abundance always flows into the direction of greatest need, that surplus always flows in the direction of greatest need, that people don’t hoard wealth, because that doesn’t make any sense in the gift culture.” ~Matthew
The giving of gifts.
Sitting in the garden, gifted the warm shine of the sun, the laughter of a neighbor kid down the street, the clean water in my cup next to me, birds chirping away, thrilled at the coming of spring, the jingling of the little bell on Pop the cat’s collar as he makes his way over to me for a cuddle…
All of them gifts.
None of them ostentatious, apparent, obvious.
All of them subtle, easily overlooked, but oh so precious if, and when, I acknowledge them.
Perhaps the chocolate-thing was enough tankespjärn for you, perhaps you are eager for more… if so, join us and let me/us know your thoughts, by writing a comment or reaching out to either of us. It would be a gift. In the same way we gift you this conversation-turned-podcast.
Matthew Word Bain on Medium and Instagram
Inma J Lopez, sommelier and writer on Attention
Nilofer Merchant and onlyness
The Emerald podcast, the episode with Tyson Yunkaporta on Pattern, Kinship, and Story in a World of Decontextualized Minds
Robin Wall Kimmerer and Braiding Sweetgrass
David Abram and the book The Spell of the Sensuous
Iain McGilchrist and The Master and his Emissary
C.G. Jung: Lord of the Underworld, a book by Colin Wilson
Women Who Run With the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estés
Steve Emery on Active Imagination
Benjamin Zander and one-buttock piano-playing
Rabbi Amichai Lau-Lavie on On Being
TRA is for Trance, the second Emerald podcast episode mentioned
The One-straw revolution by Masanobu Fukuokua
Stephen Harrod Buhner on Plant Intelligence and the Imaginal Realm