Heart currency fosters generosity and abundance, alleviates poverty, builds community and is good for the environment. This was how Dawn Pilatowicz explained the Cape Town Talent Exchange on the documentary ‘Talents Accepted Here.’ All these characteristics are lacking so often in the world of greed currency, otherwise known in South Africa as Rands and cents.
My experience of the Talent Exchange is just that. I joined almost ten years ago. Since then, through the Talent Exchange, I have bought a hi-fi, gone on lots of holidays, sold my car, got a website, had our EcoDoc Africa logo designed and made lots of friends. I have also given people lots of presents, which I normally couldn’t have afforded – ranging from a counseling course, to healing treatments, to holidays in Stilbaai. The nature of the system is that it helps one to be generous.
My talent it seemed was to hold markets – where I organized the venue, sent out the invitations, invited stall holders, made sure there were a variety of stalls including food and beverages, and then packed up afterwards. For my endeavours I would be paid in talents. I was also paid T2000 for making the documentary ‘Talents accepted here’ at a rate of 100 talents per hour.
Lessons, massages or painting
If I was in Cape Town I could use my talents to pay for lessons in playing guitar or violin, learning how to give massages or cook macrobiotic food or learn new paint techniques. Alternatively, I could get my computer fixed, have a flotation session or go on holiday to Muizenberg, Khayalitsha or stay in a TiPi outside Montagu. Or I could buy the many versions of stuff that others are selling – meals, books, children’s toys to name just a few.
Staying on the other side of the country means that I can’t use many of Cape Town’s offerings. So together with some like-minded locals we are going to start a new branch of the Community Exchange System. We are considering calling it the Lowveld Exchange. We are not sure yet what our currency will be – a talent, a value or an eco. ‘Eco’ is appropriate because according to Dawn it is also an ‘earth currency’ as it fosters recycling and care for the earth.
Many of the services offered promote organic gardening or working with vermiculture (i.e. composting with red wriggling worms). For me it was a wonderful way of de-cluttering my home. All those old clothes I didn’t wear anymore, books I would never read again, ornaments whose origin I had forgotten, the kitchen bric-a-brac that cluttered the cupboards, the music I no longer liked. All of it I just took to the Talent Market. Off they went with proud new owners, leaving me feeling clearer and lighter.
Clearing out stagnant energy
Decluttering is like a fresh breeze clearing out stagnant energy. It aligns with the spiritual concept that only by getting rid of the old can you make space for the new. Old and new in this sense is not about materialism and wanting only new things. It helps us to construct our lives in a way that allows your soul to sing. All the heaviness of unwanted possessions, relationships, thoughts, etc. stop your soul from finding its song.
In our world we are bombarded from many different directions, and wealth in terms of money cannot be relied upon. A stronger wealth comes in the form of social capital, from living in community and building resilience at a community level. The community exchange system is a powerful way of building just that.
We follow the transition movement slogan of ‘think global, act local’ by having lots of local exchanges all around the world capable of trading with each other.
By Liane Greeff, coordinator: EcoDoc Africa