Monday, April 07, 2008


I need to take a hiatus from The Conspiracy. Spring has sprung in my life and I just don't have the time and space to meet any more requests at this time (for those who are waiting...I will fill the ones I've already received, it's just taking some time). Not only do I work full time, care for my kids, and co-chair a local nonprofit, but now I'm also starting a new business, putting on a community event in May, and stage managing a play for a run in June. Then the Pride Festival follows in September. And I'm making all kinds of new friends locally so I'm attempting to have a little bit of a social life as well. There are only so many hours in a day and days in a week!

I believe I will return to this project when the time is right. Generosity is a calling of my heart. Thank you for participating in The Conspiracy with me!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Blessing from Oneness (and an Update)

"Our longing for the eternal kindles our imagination to bless. Regardless of how we configure the eternal, the human heart continues to dream of a state of wholeness, that place where everything comes together, where loss will be made good, where blindness will transform into vision, where damage will be made whole, where the clenched question will open in the house of surprise, where the travails of life's journey will enjoy a homecoming. To invoke a blessing is to call some of that wholeness upon a person now." - John O'Donohue, *To Bless the Space Between Us: A Book of Blessings*

I love this quote that serendipitously made its way into my email inbox today. I say serendipitously because I have been undergoing a major spiritual awakening the last few weeks and residing in the place of wholeness, Oneness more and more. I like the idea that I can call some of this Oneness/Wholeness upon other people through my blessings.

I know I haven't be a very active blogger here lately, life got very overwhelming with illnesses and winter hibernation, as well as commitments I have in my community. I'm preparing to stage manage a production of The Laramie Project in my town next month! I'm very excited. Then there's this intense evolving process that I'm going through right now that seems to take up all the space I have left within. Maybe I'll try to share some about it in the coming weeks. It's definitely applicable to this project. I will do my best to bring more regular posts about generosity, kindness, blessing and gift economy, and should be able to fill any blessing requests that come in. There haven't been many the last few months, which makes me a little sad but also kept me from being more overwhelmed, so I accept the blessing of the project being in hibernation as well. But I hope to see it flower again as Spring awakens the world.

Anyway, thanks for listening and participating in The Conspiracy in any way that you do, even if it's little acts of kindness towards yourself.

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Monday, March 10, 2008

Community Knitting Art

Check out Knitta...

"Knitta began in August 2005, when the soon-to-be-Knittas were discussing their frustration over unfinished knitting projects: half-knitted sweaters and balls of yarn gathering dust. That afternoon, they knit their first door handle. Then it dawned on them… a tag crew of knitters, bombing the inner city with vibrant, stitched works of art, wrapped around everything from beer bottles on easy nights to public monuments and utility poles on more ambitious outings. With a mix of clandestine moves and gangsta rap — Knitta was born! Today, Knitta is a group of ladies of all ages, nationalities, and… gender."

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Gift Economy Round Up

Dave Pollard's signature essay on The Gift Economy: "When we engage each other in conversations about this question, we open up possibilities, we begin to feel and realize our own power, capacity, and mastery, we recognize that generosity has nothing to do with charity, and we sense the movement and strength of collective understanding, will and passion. We realize that together, collectively, collaboratively, we know more, and know better, than leaders, presidents, executives, economists, experts, and others who exploit our passivity to tell us what we should do and believe, and engender in us feelings of helplessness, dependence, and addiction. We have more capacity and power to act than all the multinational corporations and the tyrants and the state apparatus of control and repression. "

37 Ways to Participate in the Gift Economy: "You don't have to participate in a local currency or service exchange to be part of the cooperative gift economy. Any time you do a favor for a family member, neighbor, colleague, or stranger you're part of it. Here are some ways you can spend time in the gift economy, where you'll find fun, freedom, and connection."

The Hacker Milieu as Gift Culture: "To understand the role of reputation in the open-source culture, it is helpful to move from history further into anthropology and economics, and examine the difference between exchange cultures and gift cultures."


Sunday, February 17, 2008

Generosity Received

So although I didn't get creative or productive enough to make something to give away for the One World, One Heart blogosphere give-away, I did win something!
<---I won this beautiful necklace from Art With Moxie. What a lovely blessing to receive at the end of a very hard week!
I think it's positively amazing that over 400 people participated in this give-away extravaganza. There seems to be a connection between creativity and generosity, at least in the domain of creative bloggers.

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Saturday, February 16, 2008

Just For the Love of It

Check out the Freeconomy Community.

"What is a Freeconomy?

A Freeconomy is a moneyless society in which no money changes and there is no duality between giving and receiving; here they are seen as the two sides of the same non-monetary coin.

Freeconomy is a manifestation of trust, kindness, community and love. Money and credit are a manifestation of fear, insecurity and greed. Freeconomy is the common denominator to all of its solutions; Money and credit are the common denominators of all the world's ills.

Right now freeconomies are the minority. This is unimportant. Soon they will be the overwhelming majority. Each one of us is a seed. The regenerative power of one seed cannot be underestimated. A forest can grow from the germination of a single seed, and similarly one simple act of generosity can give life to an infinite number of others."

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From The Heart

A Generosity Hero at work...

"For Toni Dukes, love isn't delivered with a sugary sweet Hallmark card or an overpriced bouquet of red roses. It's given in a Ziploc bag stuffed with a hat, gloves and a packet of Kleenex, and the words "From the Heart" written in black marker on the outside.

The 39-year-old single mom commutes to San Francisco from her home in Stockton to work the swing shift as a 911 dispatcher. Her days are spent driving 187 miles round trip to work in an understaffed department where she handles calls ranging from mentally ill people screaming at her to women going into labor alone to somebody who's just found their mother dead.

But Dukes hasn't been able to call it a day after her high-stress shifts. Her route to work takes her through the Tenderloin, and last year, she couldn't help but notice the homeless people and others down on their luck who were huddling outside in the cold.

So, using her own pocket money, she began venturing into the rough neighborhood on foot a few times a month to hand out the packets and to chat with people on the street - many of whom seemed more grateful for the conversation than the hats and gloves.

"My job is over the phone. I like to meet and greet. I like to talk to people face to face," she said. "It's amazing just for people to smile, to acknowledge them and show you know that they're there. They're not animals. They're just people without the same opportunities a lot of us have.""

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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Service Works

Evelyn over at Crossroads Dispatches is one of my favorite art and gift economy bloggers. She has some intriguing insights and always shares something interesting.

Today I learned about Service Works.

Josh Greene is a 36 year old artist and waiter. Service-Works is his foundation that is designed to bridge the gap between his art career and his service industry career. Each month he dedicates one night’s worth of tips to fund a project. The site shares several of the projects he's already funded and offers an opportunity for artists to apply for one of his grants.

What a wonderful way to be creatively generous!

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Saturday, January 26, 2008

Love Notes & Guerilla Art

I've been bloghopping this evening and found a scattering of lovely posts about sending Love Notes out into one's city...

It started with Jen Lemen, one of my favorite creativity and kindness bloggers. These are her Love Notes.

She reminded me of Keri Smith and I can't believe I've never linked to her How to be a Guerilla Artist manifesto.

Jen was inspired by her friend Krystyn, who spread some love around New York in response to watching the circus that responded to Heath Ledger's death outside her office building.

From her comments I found the Acts of Kindness blog. Yay, another sister in kindness!

I also found Titration's Guerilla Art Adventure.

Honestly, I haven't been so successful with my intentions towards daily kindness. I think I'll be doing my own version of love notes in the next few days. I was going to say "to make up for it" at the end of that sentence. But I need to be kind to myself and recognize that I tend to do things in bursts anyway...lots of activity and then big rests in between. And it's ok.

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Seeds of Compassion

I just learned about Seeds of Compassion from one of my favorite bloggers.
"Seeds of Compassion is an initiative to nurture kindness and compassion in the world starting with children and all those who touch their lives. By connecting parents, educators, and caregivers, Seeds of Compassion will inspire and empower adults and youth in the development of kinder and more compassionate local and global communities."

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One World, One Heart

Check out this creative-blogosphere-give-away happening right now. I'm hoping to participate, but don't want to commit till I have something ready. At this point I'm just sharing it with all of you.

The Gift Keeps on Giving

The LA Times just released an interview with the author of The Gift, Lewis Hyde.

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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Power of Blessing

"We bless the life around us far more than we realize. Many simple, ordinary things that we do can affect those around us in profound ways: the unexpected phone call, the brief touch, the willingness to listen generously, the warm smile or wink of recognition. We can even bless total strangers and be blessed by them. Big messages come in small packages. All it may take to restore someone's trust in life may be returning a lost earring or a dropped glove.

A woman once told me that she did not feel the need to reach out to those around her because she prayed every day. Surely, this was enough. But a prayer is about our relationship to God; a blessing is about our relationship to the spark of God in one another. God may not need our attention as badly as the person next to us on the bus or behind us on line in the supermarket. Everyone in the world matters, and so do their blessings. When we bless others, we offer them refuge from an indifferent world.

The capacity to bless life is in everybody. The power of our blessing is not diminished by illness or age. On the contrary, our blessings become even more powerful as we grow older. They have survived the buffeting of our experience. We may have traveled a long, hard road to the place where we can remember once again who we are. That we have traveled and remembered gives hope to those we bless. Perhaps in time they too can remember this place beyond competition and struggle, this place where we belong to one another... I first learned to do this from people who were dying, people who had moved into a more authentic relationship with those around them because only that which is genuine still had meaning for them. These people had let go of the ways in which they had changed themselves to win approval, and so they made it safe for others to remove their masks as well."

--Rachel Naomi Remen

Sunday, January 20, 2008

A Kindness Resolution

I haven't received any requests for over a month now, so I've participated in a few swaps instead. I also gave a spontaneous blessing package with a Transformation Doll to one of my fellow Board members because she just initiated a divorce. Amazingly, I only had one doll and it was purple. It turns out she has a very strong connection to purple. It trips me out how that happens, as if I made the doll for her intuitively before knowing it was hers.

I've also begun gestating a new creative project, which is demanding a lot of emotional energy and time for research. So I haven't been pursuing more exposure for The Conspiracy to generate requests (although I guess participating in the Every Day Kindness and Creativity campaigns may generate some participation). I'll gladly fill any requests that come in. But I'm trusting the flow of the Universe so that all of my actions remain authentic, instead of being driven by a sense of obligation. I don't want to get in over my head and lose my integrity (a kindness to myself and others!).

So I've decided to expand this blog a little into my personal life by connecting it with the Every Day Kindness project (I've added the blog roll to my sidebar), as well as sharing more of my own journey towards kindness. 2008 is my Year of Kindness.

A post from my other blog:

I just started reading Christine Kane's blog and love her advice to overthrow the whole resolution idea and instead choose a word to "be" for a year. Resolutions are all about doing, usually one specific thing, and we usually fail. Resolutions are not holistic. But choosing a word, or quality, to be for the year, to focus our conscious energy on, would be extremely difficult to fail at (we succeed even if we live it one moment) and could potentially have an effect on every aspect of our lives.

The serendipitous thing about this is that I started seeing my years as words two years ago when 2006 became the year of forgiveness. I was given the opportunity to forgive the all the biggest of of my old wounds. I was challenged to grow out of the survivor mentality, to see that I was more than what I had overcome, and I am no longer succeeding in-spite-of. I was challenged to forgive in the moment, continuing to serve others as my best self while they failed me and the community. I was inspired to forgive myself and learned how important self forgiveness is, especially as a mother.

2007 is the year of opening. I opened to my queer nature and returned home to the queer community. I opened to accepting the mantle of leadership...finally. I opened to new friendships. I opened to finding a diagnosis for my health issues after 10 years and understanding how much they have impacted my emotional life in that time. I opened myself to healing. I opened myself more to creative generosity. I opened myself to new forms of art making. I opened myself to the future, to the possible manifestations of my bliss, to the reality that I have choices and can pursue the life of my dreams (as opposed to feeling choiceless and tied down). Even this week, as 2007 ends, I opened to the idea of moving -- leaving this house I am so unhappy with (cheap landlords+old house=lots of problems) and moving away from feeling responsible for my ex. In 2007 I have released the boundaries and limitations I had artificially placed on myself and opened myself to the life of my dreams.

"Beginning today, treat everyone you meet, friend or foe, loved one or stranger, as if they were going to be dead at midnight (including yourself). Extend to each person, no matter how trivial the contact, all the care and kindness and understanding and love that you can muster, and do it with no thought of any reward. Your life will never be the same again." -Og Mandino

2008 will be the year of kindness. I have been focused on creative generosity, which allows me to keep a distance from the lives I am touching. I make it about the art and the giving, not about how I relate to each individual. I feel the urge to grow by responding to life, myself and others with kindness. Kindness is active and requires interaction of some sort. Kindness can replace my anxious social thoughts and allow me to be fully present to others. Kindness can open me to more connection. Kindness can inspire me to love myself enough to pursue good health. Kindness can carry me through each interaction with my ex until the day we no longer live together. Kindness can give me the space to accept all of myself and all of everyone else. Kindness can make me a better leader.

"Everyone is living with a pain body." Eckhart Tolle

"Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle." Philo of Alexandria

I have been carrying these two quotes in the journal in my purse for a long time. But I have not been living them and I want to.

PS Part of my inspiration for choosing kindness in 2008 is my new blog friend, Kindness Girl.

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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Kind and Creative Every Day

I recently joined two different blog community commitments for 2008 - Creative Every Day and Everyday Kindness. I find the camaraderie and support in the creative blogosphere to be uplifting and inspiring. I haven't been as intentional about these as I'd like, but I'm finding that my every day life already contains a lot of creativity and kindness. Although I've been participating in my own quiet ways, I haven't been blogging about it, so I thought I'd share what I can remember since the beginning of the year. I think it's pretty cool that I can find something creative and kind nearly every day.

1-discovering a healthier way of dealing with a long-term, in-home conflict
2-heartsharing blog post about my kids
5-important heartsharing blog post about the phase of creative evolution I'm experiencing
6-decoupaging the late holiday gifts for family
7-designing a digital newsletter for the non-profit I volunteer for
8-blessing package for a fellow Pride Board member who is in the beginning stages of divorce
9-divinatory reading for myself
10-researching/brainstorming for new art idea
11- researching/brainstorming for new art idea
12- (read a novel all day: is it creative to experience another life and world for a little while?)
13-important heartsharing blog post on the new art project I'm envisioning
14- researching/brainstorming for new art idea
15- finished art doll for a mail art swap
16- created envelope for goodies going out in mail art swap

As I reflect on the last 16 days and consider what I have done that is kind, I realize that although I have not been as intentionally kind to others as I hope to become, I am being kind to myself nearly every day. I think this is valuable because I fell prey to the typical modern woman conundrum that is career + family + community = little care for myself over the last 7 years. Being kind to my self is a significant aspect of my personal evolution right now, especially regarding my health. Every day that I choose health through my eating and activity choices is a day of great kindness to myself. Every day that I willingly sit with the discomfort that arises from not engaging in my eating addiction is a day of great kindness to myself; especially days that include small steps towards integrating my shadow. Although my inner critic tells me it's totally self-centered (in a bad way) to count up kindnesses to myself, I'm going to be open to it.

1-discovering a healthier way of dealing with a long-term, in-home conflict
2-is it a kindness to write a blog post that is on my heart? I know it is kind to myself to take the time to journal and be open to the insights that come through writing. Is it a kindness to share my story with others? If so, is it always or only when someone gains something from it (i.e. posts that are commented on by others, indicating their appreciation of a gift in the writing)?
5-giving myself two used Isabel Allende novels
6-making the heart space to give to someone who isn't easy to give to
7-tolerating my daughter's overwhelmingness without getting grumpy
8-giving a blessing package for new friend in the beginning stages of divorce
10-giving an elderly stranger my full presence to listen to his difficult circumstances even though there was nothing I could do for him
12-giving my son my full presence to listen as he processes intense experiences without bombarding him with my attempts at guidance
14-bought myself a book that could be vital to the art project emerging within; passionate prayer for a friend going through a difficult situation
15-compassion, patience and speaking the truth kindly with someone difficult to love
16-holding myself back from expressing my frustration with my work situation in order to see the gift in the struggle and take a mindful, compassionate approach to solving the issue

Monday, December 24, 2007

Secret Santa Society

This is beautiful and inspiring and I hope I have the abundance to be this kind of giver some day...

"Larry Stewart, Kansas City's original Secret Santa, anonymously wandered city streets doling out $100 bills to anyone who looked like they needed it. For about a quarter century, Stewart quietly gave out more than $1.3 million to people in laundromats, diners, and thrift stores, saying it was his way of giving back for all that he had received in his lifetime. Stewart died of cancer earlier this year, but his legacy lives on: this Christmas, an anonymous friend who told Stewart in the hospital that he would carry on for him is out on the streets, handing out $100 bills, each one stamped with "Larry Stewart, Secret Santa," giving away $75,000 in total of his 'own money. "Anyone can be a Secret Santa,' he says. 'You don't have to give away $100. You can give away kindness. Help someone.'"

And he's not the only one. He has some elves and other Secret Santas joining him this year...

Secret Santa World

Some of the heartwarming stories of those who received gifts.... CNN, CBS, The Arizona Republic, & The Kansas City Star.

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A Blessing

May the light of your soul guide you.
May the light of your soul bless the work that you do
with the secret love and warmth of your heart.
May you see in what you do the beauty of your own soul.
May the sacredness of your work bring healing, light
and renewal to those who work with you
and to those who see and receive your work.
May your work never weary you.
May it release within you wellsprings of
refreshment, inspiration and excitement.
May you be present in what you do.
May you never become lost in bland absences.
May the day never burden.
May dawn find you awake and alert,
approaching your new day with dreams, possibilities and promises.
May evening find you gracious and fulfilled.
May you go into the night blessed, sheltered and protected.
May your soul calm, console and renew you.

John O'Donoghue

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Monday, December 17, 2007

Today and Tomorrow's Blessings

Today's Blessings: I put together the staff newsletter for the agency I work for. We have just over 30 employees. Today I attached a specially designed holiday card with one of my mandalas and a Smile Card to December's newsletter. Wednesday I will hostess the staff holiday party as well and am still brainstorming ways to bring creative generosity into the mix.

Tomorrow's Blessings: I will be sending out four blessing packages. One for a fellow Zaadzster who requested a journal; two for another Zaadzster and the young woman she's lovingly opened her home to; and one for a survivor of violence.


Putting the Humanity in Philanthropy

A great article inquiring into how much we should give -- Putting the Humanity in Philanthropy.

"This time of year always gets me thinking and feeling hard about "philanthropy." What and to whom do we give? How big is the gulf between what we can give and what we do give? Who -- theorists, celebrities, family members, friends -- defines can for us? What effect does our giving, or lack thereof, have on our own well being? And finally, simply how much is enough?"

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Saturday, December 15, 2007

Women and the Gift Economy

Charity Focus introduced me this afternoon to Genevieve Vaughan, who has written Women and the Gift Economy: A Radically Different Worldview is Possible and For-Giving: A Feminist Criticism of Exchange, both of which are fully available online as part of the gift economy model.

"I believe that in discussing the gift economy we are naming something that we are already doing but which is hidden under a variety of other names (such as caretaking, mothering, etc.), and is disrespected as well as misconstrued. It is thus an important step to begin to restore its name and acknowledge its presence in many different areas of life. It is also important to re-create the connections, which have been severed, between the gift economy, women, and the economies of Indigenous peoples, and to bring forward the gift paradigm as an approach, which can help to liberate us from the worldview of the market that is destroying life on our beautiful planet. [...]

It is not because of a fatal flaw in human nature that we act so inhumanely to one another, but because of a complex tangle of gift-thread logics and strategies which become contradictory and promote adversarial behaviors. The tangle can be unraveled and understood, not within the exchange paradigm itself but by starting over, putting gift giving first as a theme for understanding the world."

"As we shift our focus towards validating the gift paradigm and seeing the defects of the exchange paradigm, many things acquire a different appearance: Patriarchal capitalism, which seemed to be the source of our good, is revealed as a parasitic system, where those above are nurtured by the free gifts of their 'hosts' below. Profit is a free gift given to the exchanger by the other participants in the market and those who nurture them. Scarcity is necessary for the functioning of the system of exchange and is not just an unfortunate result of human inadequacy and natural calamity."

"Exchange creates and requires scarcity. If everyone were giving to everyone else there would be no need to exchange. The market needs scarcity to maintain the level of prices. Exchange is adversarial, each person tries to give less and get more, an attitude which creates antagonism and distance among the players. Gift giving creates and requires abundance. In fact, in scarcity gift giving is difficult and even self sacrificial while in abundance it is satisfying and even delightful."

"World-wide, 19 billion dollars is spent on armaments every week. This would be enough to feed all the hungry on earth. Since this expenditure does not create any lifesustaining products, it acts as a drain on the nurturing economy."

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Accept the Miracle


Why wonder about the loaves and the fishes?
If you say the right words, the wine expands.
If you say them with love
and the felt ferocity of that love
and the felt necessity of that love,
the fish explode into the many.
Imagine him, speaking,
and don't worry about what is reality,
or what is plain, or what is mysterious.
If you were there, it was all those things.
If you can imagine it, it was all those things.
Eat, drink, be happy.
Accept the miracle.
Accept, too, each spoken word
spoken with love.

~ Mary Oliver ~

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Friday, December 14, 2007

Gift Economy Round Up

I've been holding on to some generosity and gift economy related web pages for several days in hopes of blogging about each of them. But since I've been too sick to write a lot I've decided to share them all at once instead. I'm watching It's A Wonderful Life tonight, which is one of my favorite generosity stories of all time, so it seemed the appropriate time to share.

These days nearly everyone has read or heard the White Envelope story about giving on behalf of a family member for Christmas (it was originally published in Woman's Day in 1982). Now there's the White Envelope Project, a totally Zaadzy kind of idea to inspire young adults into generosity and service.

Crossroads Dispatches is posting about giving a lot recently. This is one of my favorite blogs! It's a lovely combination of art, philosophy, and gift economy musings.

Running a Business in a Gift Economy Fashion (blog post The Gift): "And one of the things we've learnt is something incredibly counterintuitive to current North American culture: the more we give away, the better we do."

The Pyschology of Giving at the New York Times.

An excerpt from The Gift: Imagination and the Erotic Life of Property by Lewis Hyde.

Need a favor? Want to offer a favor to someone else? Check out FavorsUnlimited, a new forum based on a lovely gift economy idea.

Intentional Acts of Kindness: Free Pass-Along Gift Cards

Reverant Generosity at the Mythic Journeys newsletter.

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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

A Soul Sister in Creative Generosity

From a comment on an uplifting blog I read every day I was lead to Kim, whose website is full of all kinds of creative generosity and kindness. But what is especially lovely is that she makes inspiring and hopeful "magic wands" for children suffering from terminal illneses and links to several other online projects that connect anyone who is inspired to share a little kindness with ill children who could use the extra lovins.

What a great way to start the day! Blissings to you all this holiday season!

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Sunday, December 09, 2007

This Holiday I wish ...

I was just visiting Wishcasting and this week's prompt got me thinking...

This holiday season I wish to . . . open my heart and my daily consciousness to the spirit of generosity that abounds during this particular season and find reasons to celebrate. I'm not feeling particularly holiday spirited this year, nor did I last year, although several previous years I reveled in the opportunities to give from my creative stores and in the beauty of creative decorating. I love victorian and unusual Santa Clauses, the greatest archetype for generosity in the modern world. I love burgundy and gold ornaments and garland, which bring a rich sparkle to my home. I love the lights. I know it's not pc with environmental issues being what they are, but I love the lights sparkling everywhere. However I think my health issues and the state of my family have driven away the desire for celebration. It all seems energy draining. I want to find the place in me that can hold space for my family to enjoy this season, so I need generosity stories to feed my fire. Perhaps I need to spend some time at

This holiday season I wish to . . . inspire people to consider being as generous the rest of the year, not in material gifts, but in the general sense of good will. We say Happy Holidays to each other all the time, strangers and friends alike. We give a lot, often spending considerable energy in efforts to show our love in the manifest world, whether through gifting or cooking or organizing events. We open ourselves to one another's stories, good feeling stories, generosity stories, peace stories, stories of overcoming selfishness (ego) in service of the greater community. But once Christmas Day passes, we stop greeting each other with the same level of cheer, we stop being so generous, and we give our consciousness to stories of violence (action movies and video games) and competitiveness and greed (reality tv, game shows).

Much of the intent of The Conspiracy of Blessings is to inspire people to reconsider generosity and recognize its value in every day life. Why do we limit ourselves and/or store up our natural propensity for lavish generosity until we're given permission by a cultural tradition to be blissful in our giving? I started the Conspiracy in December 2005 because I had all this art around me that I had put my loving and creative energy into and I knew it didn't belong hidden in my house. It needed to find homes in the world, needed to bring some kind of good feeling into the world.

When I give, even store bought gifts, it is always with conscious love and desire to show that person I honor who they are as an individual. I buy books and music for my children that I hope will inspire good feelings, a sense of belongingness and their own creativity. I give my children and family gifts that support their bliss--like a book on Soul Collage for my sister the art therapist or a drawing tablet for my son's pc. Or I give gifts that honor their spiritual traditions and foster self reflection (both of my children have learned how to use divinatory tools to bring insight into their personal journeys).

But giving to my family in this way wasn't enough manifestation of my bliss--creative generosity. I needed some place to give more. So I started homemade gifts for my friends and co-workers. I've done homemade candles, soaps, and holiday art ornaments. One year I painted or otherwise colored images from Shiloh McCloud's Color of Woman Journals and laminated them for each of my women friends. I chose the images based on who I knew those women to be, and included poems about womanhood printed on beautiful papers and laminated them as well.

In 2005 I needed to give more. I wanted to give beyond the holidays and felt like I needed to create a reason, a permission to be so generous. The Conspiracy came to life. I had already participated in the gift economy of the altered artist communities online and learned about random-act-of-kindness art that people would leave in their communities to be found by whatever stranger happened upon them. I decided to create a long-term project and document it online, as well as provide a forum for interacting with those who found my RAK Art in the community. I left little packages with beaded snowflake ornaments and my first art/word cards in public places...on restaurant tables, in public bathrooms at the mall, in planters outside of business downtown, and in free newspaper dispensers.

I later added the component of allowing people to request blessing packages for themselves or others. I have some other ideas of how to evolve and expand the project further but do not have the abundance to do more at this time. So I patiently use the supplies I unwittingly stock piled when abundance flowed more towards the project in the past until the Universe offers an opportunity to do more.

This holiday season I wish to . . . inspire and motivate myself to find and/or plan a way to make creative generosity a full time endeavor, at least for a little while. I'd love to have a year to commit my time to creative generosity ideas and manifestations, to discover what I'm truly capable of and here on earth to give my human family. I'd love to have at least a year to develop and live a gift economy lifestyle in every possible way. I'd love to have one year of my life where I did not have to make every single decision based on my family's survival and could have the space to truly find my place in the world.

I know it will come. I know every life experience I'm having will help me to evolve to greater capabilities of service. But I'm in a phase of feeling frustrated and questioning of my faith in the evolutionary process. I want to get to the part where I can focus on what and how I'm giving through my work instead of having to choose what will support a family of four. I don't know how to make the transition yet, but I know it will happen.

This holiday season I wish to. . . replenish and nurture my spirit. It's been an intense year. I want to focus on what brings me the greatest joy but is reading, writing, and doll and journal making. Creative generosity is what feeds my spirit most deeply. I know now what my bliss is. I just need to figure out how to make it my life's work.

This holiday season I wish to . . . be the change I wish to see in the world and learn how to bring my capacity for generosity into my relationship with my ex-husband/co-parent. It's time to heal the wounds, forgive the past and move forward in friendship. It's time to be generous with my love again.

What do you wish for this holiday season?

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Thursday, December 06, 2007

Blessing Art

Here are some of the recent art blessings I've created: Butterfly Transformation dolls and Blessing Journals. I'm sharing the dolls because the pictures came out so much better than previous sharings.

The journals are a new endeavor. I decorate the outside with papers and embellishments, then include handwritten inspirational quotes and poems for women in transition throughout the book in hopes of encouraging the recipient on her journey.

If you know of a woman who may be encouraged by a doll or journal, please let me know. Remember this is a gifting project and costs nothing to you to request a blessing for yourself or someone else.

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I Serve Life Because It Is Holy

An article by Rachel Remen:

In recent years the question "how can I help?" has become meaningful to many people. But perhaps there is a deeper question we might consider. Perhaps the real question is not how can I help, but how can I serve?

Serving is different from helping. Helping is based on inequality; it is not a relationship between equals. When you help you use your own strength to help those of lesser strength. If I'm attentive to what's going on inside of me when I'm helping, I find that I'm always helping someone who's not as strong as I am, who is needier than I am. People feel this inequality. When we help we may inadvertently take away from people more than we could ever give them; we may diminish their self-esteem, their sense of worth, integrity and wholeness. When I help I am very aware of my own strength. But we don't serve with our strength, we serve with ourselves. We draw from all of our experiences. Our limitations serve, our wounds serve, even our darkness can serve. The wholeness in us serves the wholeness in others and the wholeness in life. The wholeness in you is the same as the wholeness in me. Service is a relationship between equals.

Helping incurs debt. When you help someone they owe you one. But serving, like healing, is mutual. There is no debt. I am as served as the person I am serving. When I help I have a feeling of satisfaction. When I serve I have a feeling of gratitude. These are very different things.

Serving is also different from fixing. When I fix a person I perceive them as broken, and their brokenness requires me to act. When I fix I do not see the wholeness in the other person or trust the integrity of the life in them. When I serve I see and trust that wholeness. It is what I am responding to and collaborating with.

There is distance between ourselves and whatever or whomever we are fixing. Fixing is a form of judgment. All judgment creates distance, a disconnection, an experience of difference. In fixing there is an inequality of expertise that can easily become a moral distance. We cannot serve at a distance. We can only serve that to which we are profoundly connected, that which we are willing to touch. This is Mother Teresa's basic message. We serve life not because it is broken but because it is holy.

If helping is an experience of strength, fixing is an experience of mastery and expertise. Service, on the other hand, is an experience of mystery, surrender, and awe. A fixer has the illusion of being causal. A server knows that he or she is being used and has a willingness to be used in the service of something greater, something essentially unknown. Fixing and helping are very personal; they are very particular, concrete, and specific. We fix and help many different things in our lifetimes, but when we serve we are always serving the same thing. Everyone who has ever served through the history of time serves the same thing. We are servers of the wholeness and mystery in life.

The bottom line, of course, is that we can fix without serving. And we can help without serving. And we can serve without fixing or helping. I think I would go so far as to say that fixing and helping may often be the work of the ego, and service the work of the soul. They may look similar if you're watching from the outside, but the inner experience is different. The outcome is often different, too.

Our service serves us as well as others. That which uses us strengthens us. Over time, fixing and helping are draining, depleting. Over time we burn out. Service is renewing. When we serve, our work itself will sustain us.

Service rests on the basic premise that the nature of life is sacred, that life is a holy mystery which has an unknown purpose. When we serve, we know that we belong to life and to that purpose. Fundamentally, helping, fixing, and service are ways of seeing life. When you help you see life as weak, when you fix, you see life as broken. When you serve, you see life as whole. From the perspective of service, we are all connected: All suffering is like my suffering and all joy is like my joy. The impulse to serve emerges naturally and inevitably from this way of seeing.

Lastly, fixing and helping are the basis of curing, but not of healing. In 40 years of chronic illness I have been helped by many people and fixed by a great many others who did not recognize my wholeness. All that fixing and helping left me wounded in some important and fundamental ways.

Only service heals.

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Monday, December 03, 2007

25 Days to Make a Difference

Today I came across a wonderful blog by a girl named Laura who wants to spend the 25 days leading up to Christmas making a difference in the world in small ways. She's only 10 and she's doing this project to memorialize her grandfather. She started a blog three days ago and she's already had thousands of visitors! She's also inspiring others to do the same. Go check it out!

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Thursday, November 29, 2007

Alchemy of Abundance

"The Way of Abundance is all too often misconstrued as a shallow sense of 'getting what one wants,' 'eliminating the negative,' or 'being free from pain.' Even the often-touted 'manifesting your dreams,' offers a psychological disposition that generally remains fixated around manifestation as 'the project of me.'

"But the 'project of me' can never be enough, for it does not meet 'the other,' and real living involves meeting. The touch and contact with all of life, the full freedom of non-separation, the completeness of full relationship, and the radiance of compassionate ecstasy is what we are inherently hungry for."

- Rick Jarow, *Alchemy of Abundance*

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Sunday, November 25, 2007

A Generous Heart Leads to Greater Peace

"It is worth reminding ourselves that what brings us the greatest joy and satisfaction in life are those actions we undertake out of concern for others. Indeed we can go further. For whereas the fundamental questions of human existence, such as why we are here, where we are going, and whether the universe had a beginning, have each elicited different responses in different philosophical traditions, it is self-evident that a generous heart and wholesome actions lead to greater peace."~ Dalai Lama

Friday, November 23, 2007

A Reason Why The Conspiracy Exists

First, an update: I sent out three blessing packages this Thanksgiving week, one of which is on its way to Brazil! The Conspiracy has now reached four continents!

“Be kind for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle,” said Philo of Alexandria

I happened across this quote during some blog hopping today and remembered that it is one of inspirations for The Conspiracy. I am deeply motivated by the idea that everyone is living the journey of the hero in thier own lives with epic successes and tragedies. Every human being is seeking to be loved, witnessed, and honored for their existence. Every human being could use a little kindness.

Love is the Magnificent Destination

"As we expand, we melt. Our hearts open. Our thinking changes. Our obsessions subside, our addictions quietly pass away. This is the slow, elegant, loving process through which, little by little, we let go of the old and welcome the new. We open our hearts and allow in a few more people, just a few more relationship experiences, just a few more kinds of relationships. We learn there are no mistakes, and our hearts become a circle so large that there are no more boundaries, no differences, no judgments. We know the graciousness of that great undivided familiarity, in which there are no more strangers, only friends.

We stretch, and to our amazement we don't break. Instead, we grow. Suddenly, everything becomes easier, and our hearts, which once we believed could love only one person, or were battered so badly we thought they could never love again, expand so fully that the whole world is welcome. In such a state of openness, we see that we've only forgotten how to be together, we faintly and beautifully remember that once we were all together. We remember the way we were in a universe of incredible softness where there were no edges, no walls, no mind games, no rules. In that incredible world, we were happy. We loved one another. It wasn't a feeling. It was a state of being called joy.

The future of love is this all-encompassing embrace. For when we have expanded so much, we will finally arrive at a place where the heart can open its doors to everything and everyone. Our souls have been taking us on this journey and Love is the magnificent destination to which they have been leading us. Now we can feel joy. Now, at last, we can be satisfied. Now, finally, we are home." ~ Daphne Rose Kingma

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Inspiring Kindness Kids

Check out the Ohm Dog site where two fourth graders have started their own business, contribute 10% of their profits to charity, and promote kindness and peace through Ohm Dog's designs and messages. Kids are awesome!

Thou Art My Sister

All I can say is Wow!

Thou art my sister, because we were born of the same great spirit; conceived from the same mound of earth; slept quietly together in the cradle of unknowing until He in his gentleness set us in the midst of are my sister, I love you.

You and I are destined to be companions on the highway of life; together or apart, you are my sister I love you....if the color of my skin is different from yours it mattereth not, only let the beauty of our souls be kindred.

I will honor your wisdom and understanding, as you will mine, together we shall seek the seeds of truth in the distant rooms of the Great Spirit; the reflection of inner knowledge shall wear as beauty upon our are my sister I love you.

I will be human and fall down in rough places; but thy hand is near mine, I will reach for it. I shall not be alone. I will embrace you when the rains of sorrow visit you, I will visit your soul as if it were my are my sister, I love you.

If death takes me from the lamp of life, and the veil of sleep falls across my eyes before yours, I will wait for you. I will come to lead you across the bridge of night into the meadows of the Great are my sister I love you.

Poem by Jean Humphrey Chaille

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Sunday, November 11, 2007

Creative Gift Economy Opportunities

Radiohead released their album In Rainbows earlier this month in a pay-what-you-want format, which means you don't have to pay anything if you don't want to.

Trent Reznor and hip-hop poet Saul Williams just released their collaboration Niggy Tardust. You can pay $5 or you can take it for free.

Now Paste Magazine, an up-and-coming indie culture magazine that also gives you a cd sampler with every issue, is now offering a pay-what-you-want subscription starting at $1.00.

This is pretty amazing, but it brings up a lot of thoughts for me. I am lower-middle-class mother living month-to-month as I care for my family of four. The little bit of abundance I have left over at the end of the month goes to art supplies for this project. So essentially I'm giving away the only money I have to spare.

When a band I adore like Radiohead offers their album in a pay-what-you-want format, I have to ask myself, what is the right thing for me to do? I believe their album is worth the standard price for a cd. But I rarely buy cd's (I mostly listen to Pandora when I want to hear something specific or new to me) because I can't afford to, unless I want to give up my art supplies that fuel this project. Is it wrong for me to pay less than the value the music holds for me? Or can I consider it a karmic transaction (since I give my abundance away, can I receive the abundance another shares with me without guilt)? Or can I accept their gift now and give them what value their gift holds for me later, when I can afford it (and will I remember to)? What about the value of my promotion of their work in two different blogs and with local friends? Will my sharing lead to others buying their music for what it's worth?

With a magazine I look at it a little differently. They already make most of their revenue through advertising and rack sales. If I play less than I think it's worth for the magazine, but then bring it to a lot of different potential subscribers both online and off, I think that may be a pretty fair trade. I am the kind of person who shares what I love with as many people as I can. Maybe each issue I receive I will pass on when I'm done, either to a friend, through PostSecret, or out in the community some way.

I am excited that these opportunities to explore the concept of the gift economy are coming up. It gives me much to think about both personally and in the world at large.

The Salt Monument: A Global Symbol of Humanity

Have you seen this?

I May Never Know You

I may never know you,
But I know you live somewhere,
Waking and sleeping each day,
Sustained by the great wave of breath
Breathing in and out of you
As it breathes in and out of me.

I may never know your name,
But I do not need to, to know
How your heart treasures the calling of your name
By someone who loves you.
I know this,
For I know this of me.
I may never look into your eyes,
But I know you search for meaning and hope
And answers to the why and how of life
As I do.

I may never touch your hand,
But I know you have a living body
Which needs nourishment and water,
Safety and touch,
As I do.

I may never know you,
But I know you cherish and yearn
For freedom and dignity
And the chance to make your dreams come true,
As I do.

I may never know you,
And yet I do.

The Salt Monument

From the welcome page: “Imagine if there was a place where every single person alive today, without exception, was actually represented and recognized both as a unique individual and as a member of the human family. Imagine too, if every day there was a welcome to greet each individual infant in the world on the day of their birth, and a way to say goodbye to each person in the world who died that day. When calamity or tragedy struck anywhere in the world, there would be a way to express our grief and caring together. When there were joyful victories for humanity, there would be a place to join in celebration. It would be a place where we could experience the reality of our world village.

Such a place exists. It is the Salt Monument. The Salt Monument is not just an idea or an ideal, it is an actual physical Monument and daily observance that has existed now for over ten years. In its stark simplicity, the Monument wordlessly conveys unfathomable truths about life, compassion, the inherent right to dignity of each person, our relative insignificance within the temporal and planetary context, and the present reality of our world. It is an invitation to contemplation and a plea to bring our shared humanity into vivid, penetrating focus.

The experience of the Salt Monument is inexplicable and ineffable. Some of those who have experienced it know how even a single encounter with the Monument can provoke irrevocable realizations about being human. For those who have not, there is no amount of words or description that can convey its utterly unique and unexpected impact. The Salt Monument is a place where we meet soul to soul, human to human, as one grain of salt to another in the symbolic presence of all humankind as our witness.

This website serves as a glimpse, a hint, of this unprecedented Monument.”

See also a beautiful blog post written about one's experience of the Monument.

What a beautiful concept and so full of the spirit of generosity! So happy to share with you this bright and sunny November Sunday morning.

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Thursday, November 08, 2007

More Blessings

One of the recipients of a recent blessing package sent me a beautiful gift in return, her self published book Spread Your Wings and Fly: An Origami Fold-and-Tell with a set of deep purple paper cranes. What a lovely gift!

I never anticipated people returning blessings to me when I started this project. But I am glad to practice being a joyful recipient. So much inspiring creativity abounds in this world. I am also hopeful for the future of the human race because of the tremendous positive creativity I am honored to witness nearly every day from my little corner of the world.

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Monday, November 05, 2007

A Shower of Blessings

Wow! I am in awe of the blessings that have been showered upon me recently. I received Kara's package today, full to brimming with her art cards, buttons, magnets, and a stunning book of meditative photographs. Serendipitously, I had just run out of cards I could write handwritten notes on for blessing recipients. Now I have an abundance of beautiful cards! My heart is smiling in deepest gratitude.

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Saturday, November 03, 2007

Conspiracy Collaborators

Yesterday, I received a package envelope in the mail that jangled...a lot. Kind of sounded like there was something broken inside. I didn't recognize the address, even from people I've corresponded with concerning donations to the Conspiracy. I was intrigued. I opened it up to find it overflowing with papers and ephemera for art making. Jeanette at PostcardX sent me the package. I love that I get unexpected suprises from PostcardX every couple of months. It brings a little dash of creative magic to life. I must remember during lulls in blessing requests that I have an endless source of people to bless there.

Also, as noted in a comment on a previous blog post, Kara from and the wonderful "A Peace of..." blog and collaborative art project, is sending some 1000 Faces of Mother Henna art to include in blessing packages. Very, very cool.

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Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Celebrate the Small Steps

"We live in a society where only "big success" is acknowledged. We don't care about the small steps. We don't hear about the stumbles. Yet it takes outrageous courage to be in the middle of your journey. The middle is where it's at, baby.

Maybe you're growing a new business, writing the book of your dreams, or healing from a necessary divorce. There are the times when alligators are nipping at your raw feet, the rain keeps beating down, the moon is fading, your mother is calling, and you wonder if you are going to age in poverty with hopes that never came true. Yep, these are the moments that need celebration.

These are the times we need applause and ribbons and massive hot fudge sundaes and witnesses to our magnificence. These are the time we must love ourselves through the hunger and exhaustion. These are the times when we must celebrate our courage, the power, belief, and stubborn pluck it demands to keep just lurching and wobbling forward....

You are on the path. You are on the path. You are on the path. The path begins wherever you are, when you embrace your life with honesty, patience and compassion."
Tama Kieves, Trusting the Journey Times, October 17, 2007

Transformation Dolls

I thought I'd share a couple of the Transformation Dolls going out today, as well as the description of my intent behind the dolls. Of course you can't see the beautiful detail of the fabric texture and coloring, but you get an idea anyway.

Transformation Dolls are made with the intent to be a symbolic companion to the lives of women in transition and/or healing. It takes one full day to make a doll and I hold healing and loving intentions for you during its entire construction. I hold hope that you will nurture yourself and find the beauty in your life. In heart-full agreement with Oriah Mountain Dreamer, I pray that you discover the one word you are meant to be in the great love poem of life we are writing together.

The doll filling includes lavender and chamomile to induce feelings of calm and peace.

Butterfly dolls and/or charms are meant to symbolize the process of growth and transformation that you are embarking on or journeying through.

I use beautiful, bold colors with the following meanings in mind:

Purple is an uplifting color representing spirituality, wisdom, and the crown chakra – our direct connection to the Divine. We must remember to keep ourselves open to guidance and the still, small voice within, our deepest intuitions. We must learn to release and surrender, flowing with life instead of struggling against it.

Blue is a healing color and induces feelings of calmness or serenity. It is often described as peaceful, tranquil, and secure. It is the color of the throat chakra, which represents our voices and our will. Women too often keep our thoughts and feelings quiet, usually stuffing them deep inside, internalizing life’s difficulties and wreaking havoc on our bodies. We must learn to honor our truths and vocalize them when necessary.

Gold/yellow is related to wisdom; wisdom in thoughts, words and deeds. It is the color of the solar plexus chakra and motivates us towards making positive changes in our lives. Also related with optimism, self-confidence, spontaneity, flexibility, understanding. A sense of humor, joy, and laughter are natural balanced expressions of the solar plexus.

Orange represents constructive joy. Orange is the best stimulant and help in times of depression, loneliness, and boredom. Orange is the color of the sacral chakra, the energies of which concern our personal relationships. Are we in relationships that nurture and uplift us? Or are we settling for less than we truly desire?

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Friday, October 26, 2007

Creative Generosity Hero

"You wouldn't know it by looking at the man in the t-shirt standing on the street corner, but if you listen, it's easy to tell that David Juritz is a world class musician. He's just traded in concert halls for street corners. The violinist left his London home on June 9 and has since traveled the globe as a street performer, raising money to fund music education for some of the world's poorest children. Near Stanford University, he raised $500 in an hour; in Berlin, he got $16 after 3 windy, rainy hours; and in all, he's collected over $65K. But his best moments aren't associated with large amounts of money, he adds." From CharityFocus

Learn more him and the Musequality program at his website: Round The World and Bach

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Thursday, October 25, 2007

On Beauty

Andrew Schneider: “When a being is authentically what it is, the presence of Spirit within reveals itself as Beauty which touches our heart. Whenever we experience beauty, our soul is activated and love is awakened. And whenever you are true to yourself, you are beautiful!

“When we open to Spirit, we radiate beauty. Beauty transforms, so when we radiate beauty, we empower others and give them a glimpse of their own beauty, the Spirit within themselves, which is the source of their power. The key is that we must know we are beautiful, and feel that beauty within ourselves, before we can empower others.

“Beauty is magnetic and draws our heart into loving contact and connection with it. We only love what we, in our hearts, perceive as beautiful. Deepening our contact with, and appreciation of, beauty will increase the love experienced in our lives.”

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