Giving is the secret of abundance.
-Swami Sivananda

"Hold an Abundance Swap in Your Town" from Spirituality and Health magazine by Jeff Golden:

On a gray Sunday afternoon in December, a couple of friends and I opened the doors of a local dance studio, loaded the CD player with holiday music, plugged in a crock pot of apple cider, and waited to see what would happen. We had emailed a few hundred invitations that said:

"Come help create a new holiday gift tradition for our community: the First Annual Ashland Abundance Swap."

And we asked people to consider that:

  • The morning after Thanksgiving, millions of Americans were lined up in the dark outside big-box chain stores to be the first to swarm over billions of dollars' worth of brand new stuff;
  • One nation accounts for 5 percent of the population and 40-50 percent of the resource consumption of the planet. Guess which;
  • Some of the good stuff we already have isn't being well used or fully enjoyed;
  • Giving gifts for the holidays is fun. Most of us want to keep doing it.

    We suggested an abundance swap:

  • Find 3-5 quality items in your home, shop, or office that someone would enjoy as a gift - fun, useful, interesting, or beautiful items in really good shape that aren't important to you anymore. If a price guideline is helpful, think of items that might have cost $5-$100. Or less. Or more.
  • Bring them to your meeting place. Don't just drop your stuff off. Stick around to visit, tell a story or two about what you brought, and find some things that you'd like to take away to give as gifts to others (a gift to yourself is okay, too). There won't be any bargaining; you just bring what you're ready to give away and take away whatever you'd like. Bring kids! Let them bring abundance to swap. Let's show our kids something different.
  • Use the gifts you take home to reduce your new gift purchases. Those were the rules.

    A Happy Abundance Day

    At 2 p.m., a small, steady flow of people started filling the studio. Each laid a blanket or towel on the floor and spread out a few nice items. Then they started moving around, kneeling or picking up an item here or there, but mostly passing without taking anything. Some asked me, If I brought three items, does that mean I should also take three? What if the person whose item I want doesn't want anything I brought? What if the value of what I brought is less than the value of what I want to take?
  • I stood on a chair in the center of the room and asked for quiet. "Some people are wondering about the rules for today. There are only two rules, really: Bring some quality things you'd like to give away - you've already done that one - and then help yourself to some things you find here that you'd like to give to someone else you know. That's all. This is the Abundance Swap, so if you feel abundant as you're gathering up gifts, you're doing it right."

    That was enough. Within minutes, the room was a swirl of bright movement and laughter. Jewel boxes and bronze sculptures were held up to the light, sweaters and capes and scarves tried on for size and color, hand tools examined for sharpness and heft.

    Three or four people asked where they could find a closet or locker to stash the items they'd chosen to free their arms to pick up more. But those were the few. Essentially, it was a room full of people more focused on giving than getting.

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