The Wealth of a Community

At the recent Asset Based Community Development, we explored the gifts of hands, head, and heart to help us realize how many resources we truly have at our disposal.

Amongst the varied talents of the 40 attendants were fire dancing, gardening, cooking, dog training, accupuncture, massage, videography, video editing, energy medicine, photography, mosaics, stained glass, and hypnosis. Skill sets included community building, urban planning, alternatives to violence, trauma resolution, banking, promotion and marketing, navigating beaurocracy, sociology, history, presentation and workshop design, environmental assessments and remediation, community gardening, community management, and transit oriented development. Passions included helping people in need, getting back to nature, perpetual evolution, creating a trauma informed community, bringing the wiggle to everything we do, racial reconciliation, quality interpersonal relationships, mentoring, healthy children, care for the incarcerated, exercise, wine, community design, local food, music, meeting the needs of the disabled, and love. As I started to get to know the group, I knew that we could truly change the world simply with the people in the room.

As our trainer Dan pointed out, none of the gifts of our hand, head or heart were money. Though we are trained to think that we need money to do everything, we don’t need money to start anything. All of the tools that we need are at our disposal within us and the people around us.

Through the gifts of our hands, we are blessed with a myriad of skills that help to change the world. Although often considered insignificant by those whose attention is directed elsewhere, every service we offer plants the seed for incalculable change. Each gift of the head, these ideas and realms of knowledge we get to share with other seekers of wisdom and truth, expands the opportunities for development and resourcefulness. And each gift of the heart, the human peculiarity of passion that has allowed us to thrive amidst our challenges, inspires the next generation to realize greater expressions of community, creativity, compassion, and collaboration.

Should we be able to find ways of recognizing and cultivating these gifts, we will never find ourselves in an economic recession again. Regardless of what happens with the monetary currency, a device used to measure the finite, our appreciation and application of these other currencies of true abundance can help us open up to an economics of happiness.


Steve McAllister is the author of The Rucksack Letters and How to Survive an Estralarian Mind Meld. He posts regularly at The Unbroken Path and is currently the Director of Operational Development for the Common Wealth Time Bank in Sarasota, Florida. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

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