Gratitude – together with all the volumes that have been written about it – is very much an ingredient of the gift economy. A very beautiful ingredient, which enriches our hearts and spirits, at the same time as it potentially invites more substantial and tangible gifts.
Some communities are beginning to set up “gift circles” — a collection of people who want to engage in gifting practices on a regular basis. But you don’t need to wait for an official gift circle. Here’s how you can get gift economy concepts rolling right now.
In cultivating the gift economy, one of the simplest, baseline starting points is appreciation. Letting people know you noticed. Thanking them, yes, but even moreso, giving them credit, and helping build their reputation as a giver within the community-at-large. “John designed the community garden.” “Karen arranged for the contribution of native plants.” “Deno very generously gives us discounts.” We’re not talking about brass plaques here, those capitalist markers of bragging rights and Mine. Rather, we’re talking about verbal and emotional appreciation – social credit. It doesn’t cost you anything to give people credit. In fact it makes your heart feel good. And it builds a whole lot in community goodwill.