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Beyond “manifesting” is mutuality…How are you exchanging resources?

Updated: 6 days ago

By Taina Lyons

It can be hard to imagine how to function outside the realm of monetary commerce. Money is the medium for many of our modern basic needs for housing, transportation, food, power, entertainment - pretty much everything we interact with.  Where I live in a fairly rural community, people are thinking creatively about ways to be more resourceful. Some grow food. People trade in addition to exchanging money. I see people practicing simple acts of generosity and mutual aid in community.  Everyone finds the best clothes and magical knickknacks at the local thrift store.

These are all great strategies for building a web of deeper community care and interdependence.  There’s also a trust we can cultivate in the spirit of exchange that arises from mutuality with others. This mutuality is expressed through connection and sharing energy and communication.  There’s fundamental power in mutual exchange, the experience of having-and-giving, needing-and-receiving.  It’s an expression of balance.  

I recently got a message from a woman I’m in community with who had moved abroad. We had mostly connected through local dance events. She was interested in starting up a dance class in her new community and since I teach dance, she wanted to talk to me about ideas around how to do this. We planned a time to talk on the phone.  Before our scheduled call that day, I was working on a piece of writing, a short story with an environmental theme. I was writing about water pollution, a subject I’m interested in, but don’t know much about scientifically.  As my friend and I talked, I learned that she had worked with the Environmental Protection Agency doing work around water quality testing.  She educated me and gave me exactly the information I needed in that moment for my story.  

This experience for me illustrates mutuality and synchronicity, the spirit of anti-capitalist exchange. While we weren’t exchanging anything needed for basic survival in that moment, the principle is the same. The idea that each of us is rich with resources that meet a need for someone we are connected to.  It can be helpful to see this principle functioning in our lives in lower-stakes areas such as information, to build trust that it can work with needs connected to our sense of survival.

In order to practice this, there are a few practical rules of thumb. 

  1. If a certain person place or activity is drawing your attention, pay attention. Reach out, send a text or a communication and let someone know you’re thinking of them for a particular reason or just that you would like to connect. The simple act of connection is beneficial or you may discover something in your exchange- a resource, information etc.

  2. Communicate what you need. The practice of being insular with what we need blocks others’ capacity to meet our needs.  

  3. Make generosity a regular practice. This re-patterns habitual hoarding of resources and being overly self-sufficient, as many of us have been conditioned to do.  

  4. Connect with a sense of wonder, especially in nature.  Nature is functioning in harmony with the principle of exchange.  We can join in, and learn by being in relationship with our living surroundings.  

  5. Get comfortable with the unknown, as we collectively bridge from a capitalist system that promises comfort, but needs to evolve.

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