Hard to believe that it’s already August! I spent the end of July in Oakland, California, and came home to Portland with renewed appreciation for the creativity and generosity that humans can offer one another.
As you may or may not know, Oakland is home to a budding gift economy movement. Yep, that’s right. Gift economy. Two words you may or may not have heard beside each other in the past. The gift economy, as I understand it, is a complete paradigm shift from conventional economic thinking. It’s an abundance based system of gifts, which is different than bartering (trade), and is also different than just “free.” Instead, the gift economy is based on a pay-it-forward system, with trust in the universe to move resources toward those who need them and who have offered of themselves. You can learn about the gift economy along with me here.
Meeting and interviewing Dr. Aumatma Shah, the founding practitioner at the Karma Clinic, was one of the highlights of my trip. Dr. Shah has been practicing naturopathic medicine in the gift economy model for several years, and has been a huge source of inspiration to me since I first heard about this model in 2010, prior to beginning my studies in Chinese medicine. Needless to say, I was absolutely thrilled to meet her, and returned from my time in Oakland with renewed passion for this project. She was incredibly generous with her time and also helped connect me to the folks at Service Space, who are practicing the gift model in their daily lives and gently creating peaceful change in their community.
My questions for practitioners come from the money autobiographies that we used at Wilderness Way, and those have their root in the Church of the Savior’s Ministry of Money. At this point, I’m not asking folks for the nuts and bolts of their finances, though I will be interested in those things at some point in my journey towards practicing under the gift model. I’m asking people for their money stories, to try to understand what enables them to look at the conventional economic model around healthcare practice, and say, “thanks, but I’m going to do it differently!”
Right now I am lining up interviews with practitioners, so if you have a contact for me, please be in touch!
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