Re-Imaginging Money: An Invitation

money-butterflyImagine you had a voice in setting the interest rate for your loan. Imagine if your savings not only earned you interest but directly benefited nonprofit organizations working for social and environmental good in the world. Or if you could meet representatives from the companies you were invested in to hear firsthand about the projects your money was helping to fund. In an age of impersonal, disconnected finance, imagine stepping out of the conventional economic model and finding a more transparent, participatory way of using money. This is already happening at RSF Social Finance. By questioning assumptions about how money works, RSF is creating new models for engaging with finance, and for forming collaborative financial relationships with communities and organizations. RSF envisions a world in which money serves the highest intentions of the human spirit and contributes to an economy based on generosity and interconnectedness.

John Bloom, Vice President – Organizational Culture at RSF, will visit MWS on November 30, 2016 to explore how we as individuals might reach a new understanding of our economic selves. By re-imagining money, reconsidering our personal habits and cultural conditioning, we can participate in creating a new economic story for ourselves and our communities. Inquiry and dialogue are essential to transforming our relationships with money. By coming together, as investors, donors, and entrepreneurs, we can explore the role of money in achieving our shared goals and find new ways to connect more deeply with what we care most about. Each of us has a purpose in life, a journey of discovery and recognition. When we are able to serve that purpose to the benefit of others, and to recognize that we in turn benefit from others’ gifts, then money can move in a way that brings greater equity to our economy and compassionate action becomes possible.

Join us for a conversation about money, values, and the need for a new economic story. This community education event is open to all. November 30, 6:30pm ~ Admission is free. Your RSVP is appreciated to assist with planning –  please type RSF in the comments section below.

Further Resources

An article describing how Community Pricing Gatherings inform the RSF process for deciding interest rates for Social Investment Fund investors and borrowers.

A Social Lender Pursues a Radical Experiment in Financial Transparency and Participation

 

Visit the RSF Social Finance website to learn how it aims to transform the field of philanthropy. Shared Gifting Circles bring collaboration, transparency and community wisdom into the grant-making process and give distribution and allocation authority to the recipients of gift money to create mutually beneficial collaborations.

Shared Gifting Circles

 

Advent Spiral — A Community Gathering

advent_spiral_mws

We have just entered into the season of Advent.  Traditionally celebrated the four Sundays before the winter solstice, it marks a time of introspection as we all await the return of the sun and lengthening days.  This seasonal remembrance of light takes place in many cultures across the globe.  At our Waldorf school, we mark this season with weekly Advent spiral walks.

Our local community is invited to participate in this weekly moment of reflection. Please park in the visitor lot and follow the candle-lit path into the forest where you can walk the Advent spiral and place your offering along the path. You may bring something from home or pick a natural trinket from the start of the path to add to the spiral. In this way our community comes together co-creating the garden spiral.

Examples of items you might add to the spiral are:
The first light of Advent honors the mineral world.  Small shells, gems or rocks are appropriate for this week.

The second light of Advent honors the plant world. Acorns, pine cones, a dried flower or holly sprig would be wonderful additions to the path this week.

The third light of Advent honors the animal world. Perhaps you might add a small feather you have found or a piece of beeswax in the shape of a favorite animal this week.

The fourth light of Advent honors the light of man. During this final week we are in the darkest days of our year and we bring the light within ourselves to the spiral. You are invited to carry a candle through the spiral and then leave your candle along the path. In this way, we are leaving our light to illuminate the path for all of us. Candles are provided at the start of the path on this evening.

advent_spiral_dusk_mwsAfter walking the path, families often take a short time to sit together quietly. Participating in our Advent spiral is a lovely way to model a quiet reverence of nature to our little ones. Often the youngest of our visitors take many turns walking the spiral, first holding a parent’s hand and then becoming brave enough to test their independence and walk the path alone.

By marking our seasonal journey out of darkness with the quiet contemplation of Advent, we make space in this hectic time of celebration and busyness to remember our connection to the earth and each other.

Advent Spiral Dates for 2016

The local community is invited to join us in this small act of contemplation that we hold each Sunday of Advent from 4-5 pm.

November 27th (Minerals)
December 4th (Plants)
December 11th (Animals)
December 18th   (Humans)

Advent Spiral Verse

The first light of Advent is the light of the stones that sparkle through seashells, crystals and bones.
The second light of Advent is the light of the plants that reach to the sun and in the breeze dance.
The third light of Advent is the light of the beasts that swim, crawl or fly, be they great, be they least.
The fourth light of Advent is the light of man, in love and in thought, to give and understand.

Re-Imagining Money

money-butterfly

What is money? What can our relationship with money teach us? How does money connect us to what we care most about, both personally, and as a community? Join us for an evening of conversation with John Bloom to explore these and other questions.

John Bloom is Vice President, Organizational Culture at RSF Social Finance in San Francisco. In his work at RSF he addresses the intersection of money and spirit by facilitating conversations and developing programs that support personal and social transformation. As part of this work he has also helped develop awareness of issues of land and biodynamic agriculture.

Bloom is the author of The Genius of Money and writes frequently for RSF’s Reimagine Money blog. In his latest book, Inhabiting Interdependence, he explores approaches toward transforming the conventional habits of mind and practice that have led to today’s economic imbalance in our own lives, and in society as a whole. Acknowledging that money has permeated almost every aspect of daily life, including our relationships to nature and to one another, Bloom suggests we reconsider our personal and cultural conditioning, and our systems of economic exchange. He asks us to imagine how, in the next economy, we might steward our natural resources, work, and forms of capital in a framework that supports and celebrates our humanity and our capacities as individual human beings.

John Bloom will visit Rhode Island to lead a conversation about money, values, and the need for a new understanding of our economic selves. At Meadowbrook Waldorf School on Wednesday, November 30th at 6:30 pm. Open to all, admission free. Join us, and please share this invitation to help bring voices from all walks of life into the evening’s conversation.

Meadowbrook May Faire!

mayfaire

Early one morning
Before the sun had risen,
I heard a bluebird
In the fields gaily sing.       
South winds are blowing,
Green grass is growing,
We have come to herald
the merry, merry Spring.

                 English Folk Song

We will be holding our annual May Faire celebration soon. The first day of spring occurs in March, but our calendar is often at odds with what we see out of our New England windows. May Faire, arriving midway between the Spring Equinox and Summer Solstice, comes at a time when we are firmly rooted in the season of spring.

Traditionally, May Faire heralds lengthening days, fertile soil, and the promise of abundance.  It also reminds us that we have persevered through the challenging, contemplative season of winter and moved into the exuberant spring.  This exuberance is reflected at the Faire with joyous and colorful May pole dancing, flower garlands, music, games, and food.
Why do Waldorf schools continue to celebrate these ancient festivals? Many foundational principles of the Waldorf philosophy can be found in these celebrations.
Often, these festivals have an aspect of story, song, (and snack!) and in this way mimic the Waldorf classroom rhythm. It is an opportunity to surround the children, and ourselves, with beauty, truth and goodness.  These festivals foster in all of us the qualities of wonder, reverence and gratitude.
Everyone in our community works together to make these celebrations happen: children, faculty, parents and friends. We hope that the children learn through our example how to work together to make something beautiful and meaningful. By marking the rhythm of the seasons and celebrating the natural world, it reminds us of our connection with the earth and each other, and places us in the history of humankind.
May Faire Community Gathering