To give freely and generously from a place of gratitude for all that I have been given is to continue Nature’s cycle of reciprocity in defiance of the straight line of taking and consuming that Western society expects of us.
This earth – her plants, animals, water, soil – they give so much. Accept. Be grateful. Pay it forwards.
(With thanks here to Robin Wall Kimmerer, and her explorations and explanations of this in Braiding Sweetgrass – a book I think you should definitely read, by the way)
I’m leaning into this in business too – reciprocity and collaboration is so much more enjoyable than competition and chasing every dollar. I keep my business open to pro bono work, as I love the opportunity to offer the gift of coaching to someone who would really benefit but cannot financially afford it right now. It’s not just ‘giving out free stuff because I don’t value my time’, quite the opposite. By keeping aside some time each month for gifted sessions I am in control of my work and my finances. It is precisely because I know the value of coaching that I want to be able to do this. I frequently gift single sessions, but also hold space to offer ongoing coaching (only one client at a time) for as long as people need it. Through this my coaching has been able to support a homesteader in Vancouver, a writer in Wales, a make-up artist in Manchester and a therapist in Yorkshire. I love to see who they go on to support in their turn. Pay it forward. Pay it forward.
I’m currently collaborating with another coach, Rowena Gerrett, to facilitate a not-book club (we’re listening to the BBC podcast ‘Witch’, and discussing and exploring themes together), which also means teaming up with a local independent bookshop (Juno Books Sheffield, big up!). I’m talking to and learning from many amazing people involved in coaching, queer wellbeing, nature retreats, psychotherapy, business networking, storytelling and more, and it’s filling my soul in ways “just running a business to pay bills” never could.
I am unashamedly fascinated by the people around me, and I absolutely know my own worth too. I have been lifted up by others without expectation of financial payment, and I will continue that cycle no matter how loudly Capitalism says I shouldn’t. I accept. I am grateful. I pay it forwards.