Gift Tribe

This idea is an outcome of a series of writings from a month ago. If you’d like to see how the idea was born, take a look at “Confessions of a broke change agent“, “Mobilizing imaginal cells” and “Money as gift versus monetizing our gifts“.

What is the Gift?

It is everything. I finally surrendered: I am not in it for the money. I am talking about life. And the work I do is not monetizable in the mainstream economic system. Yes, the one that is choking us as it heads for a steadfast crash…

Let me explain…

I always felt the urge to serve something larger than my mere existence. For a long time, I’ve been feeling that I am here for a purpose. For something more than the mainstream path of career and indulgence of material accumulation.

I tried to work in organizations. Part of me felt abused. Something wasn’t right. That uncomfortable feeling in the gut, you know what I mean. There must be another way, there must be something more, I inquired.

And there was! It wasn’t a myth or a fantasy. A different way, a magnificent shift was on its way, I began noticing about 10 years ago. I started slowly tapping and dipping into this stream of creativity, possibility and abundance that got stronger and more visible over the years. Recently, I called this new emerging consciousness “Brave New World”. I named it for myself and others in order to quicken the process of it becoming a reality, materializing before our eyes.

Over the years, the more I immersed myself into this work of ‘making the invisible visible’, lately through visual storytelling – telling the new story of Earth and Humanity -, the less commercial my work became. I tried hard to generate income flow through the work I loved and without compromising my calling in the world. It’s been a struggle and despite my heartfelt and joyful service in the world, often I felt like a failure due to financial scarcity.

Lately I had a revelation and a mind-shift. I realized that there are two ways of seeing this situation. Through the eyes of the mainstream system: I could be a financial failure. Through the eyes of the emerging one: I could be a brave visionary, pioneer, trailblazer, imaginal cell.

I now choose to embody the latter. I embody the acceptance and seeing my work for what it is and naming my experience from the new paradigm that I’ve been working to help emerge.

I announce myself an imaginal cell: a cell with the seed, resonance and the vision of a new system and the mission to help give birth to that new system while still embedded in the old system. You can refer to my “Mobilizing Imaginal Cells” piece for more.

I now see, accept and embody the sacredness of my work in the world. Which cannot have a price tag in monetary terms and especially not by the measurements of the old dying system.

What a liberation!

I just want to continue offering my gifts at this historical junction, in this sacred time of turning things around for ourselves, the next generations and all beings and Life on Earth.

This isn’t the time to hold back, to doubt, to feel limited by the old patterns of self and a dying system; it’s the time to wake up, to leap forward, to see and accept what we’re here for, to change the rules of the game!

I am changing the rules of the game. I am calling the money in alignment with the sacred work I do in the world as a gift from a Source of integrity, gratitude, reciprocity!

What I want most, what I commit my life to, is the creation of this brave new world based on radically different values, belief system and structures and continue offering gifts in that direction. I have been doing it and I will continue doing it in many different expressions: holding the intention, faith, vision and space for this emergence; witnessing and hosting collective and individual processes of transition; creating sacred space for healing, learning, co-creation; storytelling – telling the stories about the emergence of this brave new world and making the invisible visible, naming the unspoken, bringing in the resonance of the Sacred…

To give you an idea, take a look at the gifts I offered in the last 7 years.

Here are some of the wonderful initiatives I am involved with now and potentially in near future…basically this is what I am gifting to the world at this time:

Brave New World – telling the new story of Earth and humanity continues. I’ve collected over 20 hours of footage and thousands of photos to start weaving a visual narrative. I will continue documenting culture- and mind-shifting events, people and projects throughout the rest of 2012. I am also cultivating the intention of collaborating with other storytellers (of all kinds).

A documentary/book based on Brave New World journey is among my intentions.

As part of the Brave New World project, I am planning to participate in particular events which are about shifting our dominant paradigm, sourcing new values, principles and practices of the emerging paradigm of wholeness and connection – such as 13 Indigenous Grandmothers’ Gathering in Montana in July 2012, Women’s Congress for Future Generations in Utah in September 2012, Burning Man in August – to witness these seeding events at this historical time and to capture stories.

Great Transition Stories – is another developing wiki-platform to weave the narrative around the transition we are going through at this time. “The stories we tell shape our view of ourselves and the path we take through this time of collective awakening and global turning. We have the ability to consciously choose narratives that offer realistic beacons of hope to guide our way through the Great Transition.” Great Transition Stories intends to inspire us to find meaning and vision in a new narrative, offered from different perspectives. I am joining the editorial team and hope to provide content to enrich this wonderful story-hub!

Charles Eisenstein – is a visionary and a writer who inspires many people, particularly for his take on money and economics in his latest book “Sacred Economics”. There is a small group of people now supporting Charles in his day-to-day endeavors to help manage the overwhelming response to his work. I recently joined this small team to offer social media support. It’s an honor to help spread Charles’ message.

Zumbara – is the first time bank in Turkey. Founded by Ayşegül Güzel, this initiative aims to re-enliven the original gift/sharing culture in Anatolia by creating a community exchanging their gifts and skills – without money – based on time currency. I am in the wisdom circle of Zumbara, supporting Ayşegül as a young visionary change agent, providing international connections to build partnerships in gift economy, supporting visual storytelling of Zumbara’s vision and practices.

Intergenerational Gift Festival – is something we envision to host in Anatolia in 2013 as a partnership of Zumbara with our friends around the world who are working, practicing, experimenting with gift economy/culture. We would like to create a festival as a learning container to share our experiences and experiments about, practice, live and celebrate our indigenous, local gift cultures.

Permaculture network in Turkey – has been growing since 2009 in which I invested a substantial amount of time and energy. I organized permaculture workshops since 2009 and the first national permaculture convergence of Turkey in 2011; raised awareness through media and social media as well as building a national network. I continue to play the role of a vision-holder for the permaculture community to grow, mentoring initiatives of learning and community building and continuing to grow the community through social media.

Intention to apprentice to ritual/ceremony/rite of passage – I am sensing that my path is taking me towards working with creating sacred container – space for individual and collective healing & transformation through ritual, ceremony and rites of passage. This is part of the Mystery around my calling to be in US at this time. I trust I will be guided to learn these sacred practices which I will be then able to offer in Turkey when it’s right time for me to offer them.

The Invitation

“I want to invite you to practice gift economy in community”

To continue offering my gifts, my learning and growth, I need my sustenance and a little bit more, financially speaking. Going a step further than project-based crowdfunding here. So I am proposing to create a gift tribe. What is a gift tribe? It is a community of people who sees, acknowledges and invests in an imaginal cell to liberate him/her from the struggle of monetizing his/her work in the world, in order to release their full creative potential to focus on the very thing they were born to create here and now.

This is an experiment. It’s a prototype. For the next 12 months, starting June 2012, I am calling on 50 people to step into my gift tribe for 12 months.
Here is what it could look like:
10 people to gift 100$ per month,
10 people to gift 50$ per month,
10 people to gift 25$ per month,
10 people to gift 10$ per month and
10 people to gift 5$ per month.

It makes a total of 1900$ per month. Quite an abundance for a simple life, an amount that will mobilize me and allow me to offer my full creative potential without having to struggle with logistics, worries, stress about money. It will cover accommodation, food, transportation (on land where possible), work (media) equipment, healthcare, learning opportunities (books, workshops etc), some other basic needs, while I will continue practicing gift economy. That is living with the awareness and gratitude of abundance of life, offering my gifts where it serves fully and without expectation but welcoming gifts as a gesture of reciprocity. I will not accumulate money or invest in interest bearing activities within this framework.

In addition I will commit to giving a certain amount of this abundance to another imaginal cell in need of resources so the gift will be passed along. (In fact I have an idea whom I am going to support and you will surely hear about it if you join this gift tribe!)

This model is based on trust, friendship, reciprocity, relationship, abundance, generosity, gratitude, gift, love.
Not on expectations, rationale, reports, returns, measurement, calculations, numbers, quantity, reward like in money economy.

One seed intention also would be to deepen existing relationships and build new ones among the tribe. To facilitate synergistic connections even collaborations through this gift tribe (unless one would prefer to remain anonymous) as well as sharing gifts with each other.

What will happen in a year? We shall see…it’s a mystery!
The world in a year will have changed dramatically, I believe that. The values and mindset will have shifted at a massive scale. Based on the world we’ll be living in within a year, we will feel and know what’s right.

If this experiment proves functional and mutually fulfilling for all participants, the next step could be to upscale it and create a global platform for gift tribes to mobilize imaginal cells. Can you imagine the fun?!

I invite questions, feedback, suggestions. If you’d like to participate in this experiment, get in touch with me. If you think this model might work for other imaginal cells, please share this post with them. If you know people who might want to join my gift tribe, please pass this invitation to them. I would like to improve this model and make it functional, so it can go beyond sustaining myself and work but rather becomes a replicable example so a thriving gift culture would root itself once again in an emerging brave new world.

Thank you for sharing the Gift!

*This idea is an outcome of a series of writings from a month ago. If you’d like to see how the idea was born, take a look at “Confessions of a broke change agent“, “Mobilizing imaginal cells” and “Money as gift versus monetizing our gifts“.

*Second photo by Jean Pierre Hallet

4 comments


  • süper bir çalışma ve sunuş olmuş bravo.
    İki önerim var:
    1) para dışında farklı destekleri (talepleri) de kapsaman: örneğin 2 weeks accomodation in the bay area veya ayda bir masaj gibi. Böylece modelini beğenen ama para veremeyen (veya vermek istemeyenler) de olaya dahil olur.
    2) Sen tüm çabalarını yeni güzel dünya için yapıyorsun ve bu bizler için yeterli olabilir ama yine de seni destekleyene özel bir hediye de sen ver bence örneğin 2 saatlik ‘gift tribe 101′ danışmanlığı filan :) )

    May 16, 2012
    • filiz

      Begumcum, super oneriler, tesekkur ederim! Para harici hediye vermek isteyenler icin bir not dusecegim websayfama. Diger onerine gelince, ben hediye kulturu geregi, bana destek veren vermeyen herkese, verebilecegim anlamli bir hediye varsa, vermeye zaten hazirim. Onu belki daha iyi ifade etmem gerekebilir…

      May 18, 2012
  • Sevgili Filiz,

    Gene anlamlı bir yumurta bırakmışsın ortaya… Bence bu bir “cell/hücre” değil de “egg/yumurta”… çocukluğumun Istanbul sokaklarında her Paskalya bayramında çocuklara rengarenk yumurtalar dağıtan Rum teyzelerimiz vardı. O yumurtalar hangi düşlerin yataklarıydı kimbilir… Bir araya gelip konuşamadık… Ama içindeki dürtüler, sesler, bu yolculuğa çıkma telaşın simyacının arayışına benziyor sanki. Bence seni habire aramaya iten yumurtanın içindeki hazine şu anda yüreğinin içinde. Ordakileri bir deyiversen, yolculuklarda gördüklerini deyivermek yerine…

    May 19, 2012
    • filiz

      Ayla, dogru diyorsun, her insanin yureginde ne hazineler var, kesfedilmeyi ve paylasilmayi bekleyen. ve yolculuklarim bunun arayisi ama sen de yazmissin, Simyaci’daki coban da kalkti taaa Misir’a kadar gitti o hazineyi bulabilmek icin. O yuzden o yolculuklar yasanmali, hem icsel hem dissal yolculuklar, yasanmadan hazine bulunup paylasilamiyor. Bi de yolculuk telasi yok aslinda, o kadar sakin ve icten bildigim bir yol ki bu, ben sadece bu cagriya teslim olup yapmam gerekeni yapiyorum. Evren gerisini sagliyor zaten…Sahitligin icin tesekkurler!

      May 19, 2012

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Creative Commons LicenseBrave New World/Cesur Yeni Dünya by Filiz Telek is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
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