Feminist Mantra Monday 22: Move Your Gift
What does it mean to live in a capitalist economy? It means living in a world where our lives are valued by our productive--or for women, reproductive--abilities. It means judging ourselves and others by how much material wealth we accumulate. It means operating with a scarcity mindset rather than trusting in abundance. In a capitalist world there is never enough and we can never have enough. Everything must be ours.
Lately I've spent a lot of time thinking about what I have and what I want, the work I do and its value. How can I have enough without holding on to too much? How can I do good work, feel good about my work, and "make a living" as we call it? What on earth do I do about retirement? In the face of these questions, I've found myself holding too tightly to the things I do have, feeling like there's too little and wondering how to get more.
But in the midst of this tightening my grip and wanting more, I was also raising money for a non-profit organization that I volunteer for. As I clipped coupons and curbed generosity in my daily life, I was asking people to share money with a cause many of them had very little exposure to. And you know what? They did share. In abundance. There was plenty and more.
Now I don't mean to make this sounds like a fishes and loaves story. I'm still over here clipping coupons to buy cereal and rationing goat cheese to last three days instead of one, because it's not a miracle that's going to liberate us from capitalism. But for those of us that do have fishes or loaves in our lives, it's important to look around and realize how often there is plenty. And then we have to share. And we have to share a little more than we think we can. And trust that it will come back to us in turn.
This is what it means to move your gift. To share what you can and a little more. To trust that it will return to you. The phrase comes from a wonderful essay by Lewis Hyde called "The Gift Must Always Move." Sometime this week, take the time to read it here. Let me know where you find abundance in your life and how you find ways to share it.