Abundance can mean many different things to different people—more money, more family time, the absence of worry, more work than you can handle by yourself, for example. However, the Global Abundance Alliance (GAA), a non-profit organization started in 2004 by a group of people who took Landmark Education’s Power and Contribution course, has defined the vision of the organization in more encompassing terms:
“Our vision is that all people live in full awareness of the interconnectedness of life, that we are the source and effect of the world we live in, a world providing for all. We will accomplish our vision by causing a new promise for the world, sourcing people and organizations committed to a world of freedom, abundance and peace.”
This past May 19, the GAA Workshop, entitled “Spinning the Wheel: A Workshop on Giving and Receiving” was held at the Mercy Center in Burlingame, California. The theme of giving and receiving was inspired by Lewis Hyde’s book, The Gift, which is optional reading for Landmark’s Partnership Explorations course. In addition, one of GAA’s board members, Frances Griffiths, created Global Giving Day as part of her promise for the world. These elements inspired the GAA to explore the notion of giving and receiving in this workshop. The intention of the workshop was for participants to experience the fact that when one comes from the space of abundance, giving is natural, normal, indeed, joyful.
The GAA was designed to identify and empower individuals who have a commitment for making a difference in the world. They seek to support the work of such visionaries, by making the world aware of their work and providing a network of similar spirits. They do that three ways, primarily: first, by supporting a member-driven wiki site, where each member can add pages regarding their promise for the world, the activities they are involved in, and products and services that they offer; second, by hosting monthly Learning Leader Calls, in which people who are actively making a difference in the world share what they are up to, how they do it, and answer questions from the callers; and third, by hosting an annual workshop on the Monday after the Conference for Global Transformation. Recent calls have included John Lazar, Executive Coach; Vickie Peck, The Eagle and the Condor; MarySue Foster, Imagine…Anything!; and Ellen Snortland, author of Beauty Bites Beast.
To do that, the organization has used several different types of experiential activities, from introspection and sharing to enacting community models of a gift economy, to giving the gift that one is to the world by using Open Space technology. They also invited Jean-François Noubel, founder of an international network of researchers, social entrepreneurs, spiritual explorers, visionaries, writers, leaders, scientists, technical and software engineers who work on Collective Intelligence, Wisdom, and Consciousness, to be the keynote speaker. In addition, Nipun Mehta, founder of charityfocus.org, a Bay Area gift-economy based nonprofit organization shared about the many wonderful projects he is doing to promote the gift economy.
Since the theme of the workshop was centered on the gift economy, an attempt was made, as much as possible, to use it. Jean-François’s airfare was “paid” using frequent flyer miles, an alternative currency. And Jean-François gave his time and expertise with the understanding that “On the social and relational field, I made the choice to live in the gift economy. I have nothing to sell but everything to offer. I see myself like a tree producing its best fruits, without any agenda. If the fruits are good, then people will enjoy them and will provide care for the tree. This is an ecology of relationship built on offering rather than dependency and fear. This creates abundance and joy.”
Participants had breakthroughs small and large. Frances Griffiths said, “The workshop reinforced for me the opportunity life offers for paying attention to what I used to think of as ‘small things,’ and the opportunity for staying present so as to receive the gifts life offers endlessly.”
The GAA activities and membership are open to anybody who wishes to connect with others who are making a big difference in the world. Members do not have to be a graduate of Landmark to participate.