In May 2014 I had the pleasure to present at the 2014 10-Year Forecast Retreat organized by the Institute for the Future.

Not only Kumu is a Gift Economy organization from its inception, but we also have two Gift Economy projects currently in our Incubator: The Gift Economy Collaborative (a prototype) and, more notably, The Social Coin, a social impact business already with with revenue and significant traction.)

Explaining the fundamentals about The Social Coin was the cornerstone of my presentation, which I wrapped up with this poem. The inspiration to write and read this poem came to me only two days before my talk, as I thought of ways to speak my mind and my heart about the Gift Economy without losing my audience, composed mostly of executives from large corporations. I deeply feel that everything that we experience in our lives has its origin in a gift, starting with life itself. In addition I strongly believe -and try to practice in my daily life- that giving and receiving love is our highest life purpose. So the poem emerged as a way to let art convey these beliefs without taking away from the more factual part of my talk.

 

The Gift of Gifts

I received
a treasure of gifts
and then I found
the gift of gift giving

A free flow of winds…
the day when I took
my first taste of air
in a cradle of arms
feeling her breath
caressing my temples

A free flow of names…
my name, her name,
his name,
your name!
names made for giving
-and wisps of ink
with hidden meanings-
a g and an i and an f
and a t
to spell
gift

A free flow of waters…
running, rushing
bursting,
and feeding my cells
and spilling from heaven
Drops that run down my cheek
when my hand meets
such a simple
gift

I received
a treasure of gifts
and then I found
the gift of gift giving

The free flow of life!
the fractal nature
of nature
where nothing is taken
without being given
gently speaks
of a free flow of gifts
from atom to atom
from cell to cell
hand to hand
heart to heart
eye to eye

what if the big bang
was just
a big crush?

I received
a treasure of gifts
and then I found
the gift of gift giving

When fear arrived
to the shores of mankind
on the bridge of a frigate
some took to the wild
and buried a chest
with a treasure of gifts
meant to be given

Cast your fear to the wind
burn the ships of control
dig deep in your heart
for a treasure of courage
take example of birds
who never go hungry
and flowers who dress
in silks of abundance

Take the gift of this life
and pay it forward
with a free flow of…
…love

Maybe then you will honor
this great treasure of gifts
and discover inside…
the gift of gift giving.

-Manuel Maqueda

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