Gifts of Love

Share your views on the policies, philosophies, and spirit of Burning Man.

Gifts of Love

Postby fuzzoo » Sat Oct 11, 2003 9:00 am

This just happened to me the other day and I wanted to share.

My godson is 4 years old. A couple of years ago when he got old enough to want non-practical presents (toys for him rather than helpful things for mom and dad) I decided that I didn’t want to participate in feeding his consumerist mentality. I’d made the same decision many years ago with my adult friends as well. Instead I wanted to be a role model in his life for real gifting - from the heart. I give him my time – play with him, special trips with him, talking to him, and occasionally something I make for him. I want to give him the kinds of gifts that will build a connection between us and help him understand that the best gifts are not physical, edible, or playable.

Last year his parents bought him a couple of gerbils. Gerbils love to eat the cardboard toilet paper rolls and they told me they just didn’t go through enough of them by themselves. I dutifully started saving mine.

Tonight I went by their house to visit them there for the first time in a while. I brought with me a full grocery bag of toilet paper rolls (yes several months worth). Just before I left I told my godson that I “had something for him.” Immediately he wanted to know what it was…ice cream, cake, cookies, candy…nope. I had him come out to the car with me and asked him what his gerbils liked to play with. When he couldn’t remember I showed him one of the rolls and then the whole bag. As any 4 year old would be he was disappointed and wanted to know how that was a “present for him”. I reminded him that I didn’t say I had a “present” for him and that not all gifts are candy and sugar.

By the time we got back in the house he was beaming and gleefully showed the bag to his parents. A few minutes later as I was getting ready to leave he said “I have something for you too” and walked into the kitchen. When he came back he had in his hand - cheese! A few moments later when I was standing at the door he put something in my hand and said “This is a ticket for being nice.” The item was a crumpled edge of a piece of paper pulled from a spiral notebook! I promised him I would save it and gladly added it to my altar of special items when I returned home.

I know he’s not really old enough to understand this concept yet…but he’s definitely starting to get the difference!


What are your experiences with spreading the concepts you learn at Burning Man?
Angel
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Postby Chai Guy » Sat Oct 11, 2003 9:10 am

I met a girl named Free Kittens, she and I were taking a stroll, picking up Moop and sharing a lovely conversation when she offered me a gift. She pulled back her coat to reveal a utility belt- ammo pouch kind of thing and asked me to choose one pouch. I pointed to one and then she asked me to close my eyes, I did and instinctively held out my hand. "Oh no" she said, "This isn't tactile" and then proceeded to hold up to my ear a tiny music box that played the most wonderful melody. This HUGE smile engulfed my face and I was transported on the most amazing journey while listening to that simple mechanical device.


I learned that not all gifts are something you hold in your hand, sometimes the best ones aren't something you can hold at all.
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Postby Angry Butterfly » Sat Oct 11, 2003 11:50 am

that is why I carry by bunny and a fan, I would go up to people and say, "i have a present for you " and they would go "NO NO! " thinking it was a trinket, and I would say "No, it is an experience" And I would put my vibrating bunny over their heart. it is a very pleasant sensation.

One of my favoite gifts of this type was as the burn was ending, I was feeling very somber and reflective and kind of sad and lonely, when one of my friends from my camp ( and real life as well ) appears out of nowhere and puts his arm around me. How he found me in the crowd of 30,000 was beyond me, but it was exactly what I needed.
I took the road less traveled, and now I would like to go back and find the paved one.
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Postby shitmouse » Thu Oct 16, 2003 3:43 pm

on the gifting note:

yesterday i did something very rewarding.
we are just finishing up a move in san fran to another part of the city.
i got rid of all the old things that were taking up room in my life and decided to get rid of it.

i was down to a set of aluminum wheels with tires in good working condition, and didn't want to pay for the local service to take them away to the local land fill, so i packed them up in my little truck and went down to the mission to see if any of my latino brothers would want a free set of wheels for their truck.

i found the perfect person. he was in an old, beat up pick up. he was in his late 30's and looked kind of down on his luck. him and his wife were in the truck as i pulled up and asked him if he would like a free set of wheels.
his eyes opened up so wide and he looked at me and the wheel cargo in my truck. he immediately took them and without any english speaking capabilies said "god bless you" as best he could looking me right in the eyes.

i patted him on the back, and went on my way smiling. we both benefited that scenario, and i honestly didn't want to fill a land fill with that payload. this is of course loosely connected to consumerism, but i managed to twist it a little and make two people happy.... that was cool.
-b
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Postby Angry Butterfly » Thu Oct 16, 2003 10:38 pm

I love that story! Thanks!
I took the road less traveled, and now I would like to go back and find the paved one.
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Postby shitmouse » Fri Oct 17, 2003 9:46 am

ok, so upon talking to my mom through email this morning, this happened: -(note: niether one of us are religeous, just fyi). mom lives in predominantly "white" nebraska..... she wrote me this after hearing my wheel story yesterday. (sorry, didn't mean to point out the race part.).

I have a story for you...Last month I decided it was time for me to get rid of all the clothes I am not wearing....Most of them dress clothes like I wore at Wanecks. I cleaned them all up and made an appointment at a consignment shop. She has a rule that she doesn't take things over two years old, even most were of the best brand names. I had a
back seat full yet when I left there. I was first going to take them home again, then thought, no, better they go to good will and some one will de deligted to find some
nice things to weare...I was trying to think where there was a good will box, so I could put them in, when I missed the turn I wanted, i had to go around to try and get back, and there in a little shopping center, was a Good Will.

So I pulled in, was getting ready to start carring them in, when this older, but clean car pulled up.
There was a nice winter coat on top of my pile. A nice looking black lady got out. She saw the coat. Came over and asked if I was going to donate the coat. She was the same size as me...I told her yes, and she asked if she might try it. She looked great in it. Said she had a little girl and was having a tough time of it, and hat hoped to find a winter coat nice enough to ware to church. Well to make along story short,
we carried the whole back seat full of clothes to her car, and aother black man stopped to help us. She was crying so hard, it almost broke my heart. When we were done,
she come up and said, Would you mind if I would give you a hug? You are a answer to my prayers...I have prayed so hard for enough clothes nice enough to ware to
church....I touched my heart so much that even I had to shed a few tears when she hugged me. I said, No, you are wrong. You are the answer to my prayers, this is something I needed to do for a long time. As she got in her car, she smiled, wiping
the tears and said, God Bless You....I felt so good, to have helped some one.

The good feeling inside would have been enough, but since then, things have just opened up for me.

My only regret is I didnt get the ladys name, I can find more to give her, for sure, but I dont think I will ever run into her again. She said, I think this is my miracle, you were sent here for me...No, I told her, it was
me that got lost, and come by here by accident, and found a store I never even knew
was here, you pulled up right beside me, It looks to me, you were sent for me....
I have had the best light feeling inside since then, and cant wait to get rid of more.
Love Mom
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Pay it forward!

Postby fuzzoo » Fri Oct 17, 2003 9:57 am

This is so cool! Playa magic extends far beyond the playa and those who attend! Life's moments are most beautiful in that single moment were we simply stop "trying" and start "doing".

The Challenge: Find a way to give a gift of love before the end of October - report back here with your results!

The BIG Challenge: Do this once a week/month - continue to report back here with your results!!

Can we make a movement of this? Extend the thoughts and ideas of the playa into our everyday lives? Infect our community with love and gifts?

Thanks for sharing the beautiful stories! This is what life is all about.:)

Peace and light,
Angel Aaron
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Postby jbelson » Fri Oct 17, 2003 5:13 pm

I'm taking my dads time share, and the rest of his payments, off his hands. I don't really want the time share, it hasn't even been used yet, but my dad is retired and I could affoard the payments more than he can.

Does that count?
"I gotta have more cowbell"
Bruce dickenson, legendary rock producer
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Postby Flux » Fri Oct 17, 2003 5:48 pm

Check out Heroic Stories.

A brief snippet from the "About Us" page: HeroicStories are most powerful when they relate a simple incident from long ago that had life-changing impact. What makes those stories powerful is the illustration that a small gift of time, or effort, or self can have profound, long-lasting effects on others. What might have seemed "nothing" at the time might have been something very big indeed.
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