My heart is full as I write this email in deep appreciation for all of you.
Yesterday we finished the first official edition of the Deep U
program, a 3-day retreat of Awareness-Based Human Flourishing. I feel that the program is the "coming together" of everything I've been learning, gathering and integrating in the last 12 years (Mindfulness, Heartfulness, Theory U, Social Presencing Theatre, etc.).
After Gandhi 3.0 retreat
, it became clear that one ingredient that could be deepened in our world today: a huuuuge amount of selfless Love and giftivism! Like the one we have been experiencing and receiving through this ServiceSpace beautiful ecosystem.
But a question was present: how to give selflessly what you've been cultivating in the last decade?
The Laddership Circle
was the "catalyst" that helped us refine the design and experiment the concept in these last three days. After "digesting" all our Laddership experience and also after many dialogues with Maria and some "ladder-friends", we've found a way to integrate giftivism
into the experience in a way we believe can be sustainable, fair and that contributes to several causes at the same time.
Inspired by several projects (e.g. Bonnie, Sehr, Galia, Aslinur, Marian, and many, many others) we came up with the following design:
- people apply to be part of the event;
- the community of alumni help select the ones that seem more aligned with the purpose of the program;
- people are then officially invited to participate;
- volunteers prepare several "gifts" (e.g. heart pins, badges and many others), in a way that also involves participants of past events (in this edition Dani was a magnificent "ladder" in this, making most of the materials and even inspiring her parents to stitch some of the bags!);
- finally the participants go through the experience, which intends to be a "greenhouse (the "soil" is prepared, the "seed" is "planted" and then "watered");
- at the end they receive the "bill". It says zero.
But it also makes them conscious of the ones who contributed for their experience, the actual costs of the edition, and also how the donations will be applied in future programs. They are then invited to make a conscious pay-it-forward move if they wish.
Then the question was: how to manage the donations? Regarding the financial ones, the idea was the following. Imagine three buckets. The first one is for costs (e.g. venue, materials, etc.). When that bucket is full, the "water" starts moving to the second one. This one regards the "opportunity cost" of facilitation (I've decided to charge only 25% of what I normally do in the market in terms of fees so I can be sustainable) and also a fund for future events to cover extra costs (e.g. plane travels, accommodation, etc.). When this one fills, the "energy" then moves to the last bucket, the only one that doesn't have a limit: donations to support other projects, specially the ones related with the program "pillars". The intention is that all profits, in case they exist, are channeled to different NGO's (e.g. Presencing Institute, Heartfulness Institute, ServiceSpace). ;)
Will it work? We don't know. But me and Maria are excited to try it out and to see what ripples emerge.
Ah, and the best part. Right at the end of the program we used a "cover story" to share with them some pictures of the process. Right before the end of the program we started by sharing the experience of Gandhi 3.0 and then said "it is better to share with you some pictures and a music from Nimo, one of the volunteers". We gave them the Lyrics and everyone started watching the video. What they didn't know is that they would not only watch Gandhi 3.0's pictures, but also pictures from the volunteers, from the Laddership and from themselves! At the end we said: "Welcome to Gandhi 3.0", did a short silent sacred ceremony and gave them the "bill".
Here's this edition's video
The feedback received so far has been amazing! From people saying that this was one of their most important moments of their lives, to others saying that they were so vulnerable at the end (in a good way) that they just wanted to cry and release what was closed inside, to people offering to organize Awakin Circles and stitching heart pins :))))
We can only be grateful for this experience and looking forward for seeing the seeds growing!
As you all contributed for this, we want to give you a big thank you, from the Heart, for allowing us to be at Service.
Vasco and Dani