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This is how I am eating today – through the Nourishment of Friends. My actual food. For me it is a symbol of the change I am evolving towards and highlights the different in perspective and focus in “earning money” in order to “live”.

Take at a look at the beauty of my breakfast today; loaded with grains, nuts, dried fruit and seeds, as well as fruit.   It is GOOD food. It is nourishing, it has a load of health benefits, it looks pretty and colourful and that makes me feel good, and it brings a nouishment of soul for more reasons than just the nutritional content of the food. You see this week I ran some group chats to share my thoughts about minimalism and travel and life, and rather than arrange a “paid for” event, I asked people, the friendship of others, on an honesty system, to just bring me food.  This is just one of the meals from that bountiful harvest.  For morning tea I had some DELICIOUS healthy home-made chocolate balls, that I know were made with love. I then had some eggs for lunch, left for me by my pet-sitting hosts, along with lovely ripe avocado from another “event” donation.  Later today I will be making up a big batch of nutritious, warming pumpkin soup, using the pumpkin left for me by my previous host, along with a plethora of vegetables donated over the past week. I have fresh home-grown oranges to make my much-loved spinach and orange smoothies. With the addition of a little meat and yoghurt which I will buy for myself, I know I can make delicious meals for the week.

I was also given a beautiful scented candle for contributing to a speaking event. Not something a global nomad, minimalist can easily use herself.  But it IS a beautiful gift that I value and it will provide great purpose to me. You see, there are a range of circumstances I encounter, when I would like to be able to give a gift of thanks & I will pass it on. Not because I did not like or value the gift – quite the opposite, because I thought it was lovely and would like to pass that on to someone I think can genuinely get USE from it. And I gained the “gift” of not having to go shopping for a gift (which is not my personal idea of fun) and spending money which I need for other things necessary to me. So now this gift to me has quadrupled – it was honoured by the heartfeltedness associated with being given and received as a gift in the first place; I get the pleasure of now being able to give someone else a gift; they get the pleasure of receiving it; and I can now spend the TIME I would otherwise had to spend earning the cash to buy a gift, as well as shopping to buy the gift, on being with someone or doing something worthwhile. Far better than me sitting on a gift I can not personally use; or not being given or receiving one in the first place. “Regifting” can be a way to add value to the gift in a multitude of ways, rather than providing the ultimate insult (IMO) to being given a gift, of not doing something valuable with it and allowing it to add to a burden of “stuff”.

So this is the thing….. I contributed something to others, which I hope will provide some benefit, via sharing knowledge, dreams, ideas and by pet-sitting. In return I receieved a NUMBER of things. Great interactions with good people. Discussions and ideas and dreams going in both directions. A hope that something I said may trigger a butterfly effect in other people, which will provide benefit to them, and into the world.  I received Nourishment to my soul and I hope I gave some in return. In addition, I received Nourishment in the form of food to sustain me, as “payment” for my part in that.

Now, of course, the last thing is effectively what we do by going to work and earning and being rewarded with “money”, which we then use to buy our food.  But can I ask you to consider this – how does the feeling of getting that money and using it to buy food, compare with the feeling I get in DIRECTLY receiving that food from others, and when I use it to make meals?  Personally, when I work for money and shop for food, it is a pretty mechanical process. I take the money I earn (which I have always been very thankful for getting from work I often enjoyed, for sure); but I can’t say that many warm and fuzzy feelings go with that. Especially when it is popped directly into a bank account. Take a moment to consider, when you last looked into your account to check a payment was there – you were probably relieved and somewhat happy and grateful to have it, sure. Now compare that to how you feel when someone gives you a gift you want and need? And even more so when it is in response to/thanks for something you have done for them, even if just being in their life?  For me, seeing $5 appear in my bank account does not have the same feel as someone handing me something they think I would like or need. I also gain some time because now I don’t have to withdraw money/deal with credit cards to the use that money, as well as go shopping for that food.  When I prepare and eat the food, I am thinking about the person who gave it to me.

I have had lots of discussions in the past months about the need to earn money, and how we can never get away from that. And I partly agree (how much – only time will tell).  But just because we don’t want to make a wholesale jump away from employment/business into a community bartering lifestyle, does not mean we can’t consider some ways we can incorporate exchanging value in different ways, other than just time for money; which is later used for “stuff”.  Maybe we can consider what we truly need and find other ways to “earn” that directly, so that we can cut back on the hours we are working for money. Maybe there are savings in the way we do things, so that we can cut back further; things like how we take holidays (stay tuned for a later post), cutting back on accumulating possessions that we simply don’t need and I hope you can suggest a million others. Because when you work a few less hours in the week, you can have more time to Simply LIVE and do more of the activities and interactions that NOURISH you, and those around you, in whatever form that takes for you.