“Gift Circles” – are a unique process of sharing and bonding with people who may well become part of your tribe. This form of gathering may give you an easy way to start.
HOW TO DO A GIFT CIRCLE: In Ashland we have been holding monthly Gift Circles for five years. We always begin with some social time, then we circle up around the table, hold hands (important physical connection) as everyone checks-in very briefly around the theme of the month. We also share briefly the special dish we brought to share for the pot-luck meal, a delightful part of the check-in over the years. Finally eating together is time for more connection and camaraderie. Eventually we circle up and begin the process. Going around the circle one at a time, each says what he or she needs. It always ignites a wonderful abundance of exchange. The riches of time and services offered range from window washing to book editing, from singing lessons to bereavement counseling. Someone acts as a scribe to record the wants and gifts, usually posting it later via e-mail. Our friend Jack, has held point guiding the process by keeping the mailing list, finding the place and sending out notices. New people may come in with the permission of Jack and two others.
The gift circle is a brilliant way to introduce concepts of gift culture without the constraints of commitments. One reason it works to bond people is that they get together to actually do something outside of the group meetings. These gift circles also offer a comfortable way to become familiar with people we are considering for your tribe. Our gift circle is becoming so popular that a larger venue may soon be needed. We have also discovered that, for many of us, gifting is easier than receiving. So, it’s a great place to practice receiving.