The Circle: Moving Forward by Giving Back

Please welcome Sally Peters, the founder of Speak Art Loud and  this week’s Summer of Small Voices guest blogger.  Thanks for sharing your passion with us, Sally!

It is an honor to be included in Low Hanging Fruit’s summer series showcasing small voices. I follow Maureen on Twitter and read her blog; I have always found her work to be helpful.

Lately I have been thinking a lot about the gift economy. The gift economy is a social system where you give goods and services with no expectation of receiving anything in return, finding pride in your contribution to others rather than pride in your possessions.

My thinking about the gift economy has been inspired, in part, by the book I am currently reading, The Gift: Creativity and the Artist in the Modern World by Lewis Hyde and, even more so, by the support I have recently experienced.

You see, I am in midst of establishing a non-profit organization, SpeakArtLoud
Starting anything new has its challenges. I also have a day-job, home and family obligations, and a social life – all those things that keep us busy. To be
honest, it is not always easy to come home from work and spend the evening laboring on SpeakArtLoud tasks.

But there is something that helps keep me going.

Small acts of kindness and support have made a big difference. Simple things like:

  • An email out-of-the blue from a stranger that states, “I just wanted to pop in and say you are an inspiration to me! I read some of your blog, and love what you are doing”
  • a connection on Twitter who shared their love of our mission
  • someone willing to volunteer their time
  • A small donation to help with legal filing fee costs.

Each time this happens I feel recharged and inspired to continue my labor.

And this brings me back to the gift economy.

This experience has helped me understand how positive actions have a ripple effect greater that you may imagine. I have been motivated to reach out and offer support more often in hopes that I can give back just a bit of the inspiration I have received.

In social media, where it is easy to communicate, I’d encourage you to not only share your message but to also help raise the voice of those who are doing good work. Give back as much as you receive.

I think this summer series is a perfect example of the gift economy.

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