Well it has been a little over a year since I began my experiment with ‘Give Freely Receive Freely’, so I thought I should post a bit of a review of the year.
I began by choosing to offer my clinic services on a GFRF basis. You can read what I first wrote about that here. I was quite nervous about this, and not really sure what to expect. But I felt good about it, so I put it out there and have stuck to it throughout the year.
Over the year I have found that on average I am probably a little busier in the clinic than I would have been previously. Payments have varied quite greatly, which is as it should be as people have greatly varying financial means, but overall I would estimate that the average payment has probably been a little higher than it would have otherwise been.
I have become more and more comfortable with this type of exchange over the year, but with each new person exposed to it there is some initial discomfort as they need to have it explained and so on. Many people, even those who really like the idea, still ask that I tell them some kind of price to begin with. This isn’t ideally in keeping with the GFRF philosophy, but my purpose is also not to make people uncomfortable either, so I generally tell them a price range to help them initially.
I have enjoyed working on this basis as it helps me to see people and their true needs more clearly and to think less about the payment I will receive for the work. It helps me to focus more on providing them with what they really need rather than on what they are willing to pay for.
After using GFRF for awhile in my clinic, I wanted to expand it out into other areas of my work as well.
The next area I tried to use GFRF in was for an online qigong course I was developing. I had previously offered this as a home study course and figured that by reformatting it and putting it online, I would not have the costs involved in printing manuals and DVDs etc, which would make it possible for me to offer it GFRF even if no-one paid me anything in return for using the course. So my first online qigong course went live in August last year. There is a blog post about it here.
The plan was always to develop a series of online courses, and I had ideas about trying different ways of setting them up to see which was most effective for receiving payment using GFRF. I wrote about this in an earlier blog post here. My plan with my next online qigong course was to set it up behind a ‘pay wall’ people could still pay whatever they like for the course, but they couldn’t have access to it without registering and entering a number – even if that was zero. This would create a strong prompt to make payment.
As the end of 2012 approached I really wanted to get the next qigong course online, but every time I thought about doing it and setting it up with a pay wall, it was like darkness filled my mind and I couldn’t bring myself to make progress. How much of that was to do with not having the technical know how to set up the paywall (this would have required research and learning new skills) and how much was due to a subconscious aversion to walling off access to the course in this way – I don’t know. But then I decided to go ahead with just putting the course up with unrestricted access and all my mental blocks just cleared away. I ended up working long hours right through what was going to be my Christmas holidays and just got the first weekly installment of the course online by New Years day. Additional work after that allowed me to keep up a weekly schedule of course updates until the whole course was online.
Since then I have put a third course online, also with completely unrestricted access. You can find all three courses here.
I feel really good about having the courses online and freely available for people to use, and I have received some really lovely feedback from people of how they have benefited from the courses, but payments have been very slow to come in. I have several more courses I would like to put online, but each one takes a significant amount of work to plan and prepare the instructional materials. Not being independently wealthy, I have to fit this in around my other work and I need to prioritize to some extent those things that will pay me because… I have to eat and pay rent and so on. For me to be able to put the time into more courses I will need to find a way to receive more for that work than I have so far.
I think a lot of it comes down to communication. People are not used to the GFRF way of exchange so they don’t go out of their way looking for a way to give for what they have received. I have some simple ideas of things I can try to encourage more people to give for the courses, and I may even need to revisit the idea of a paywall. I think there is potential for it to work, but it might require some experimentation and refinement.
Classes and Workshops
I decided to try GFRF with some of my workshops and classes as well. I did a few workshops completely GFRF, but found it was a real hassle explaining to each person who wanted to come along, and I also got the feeling that maybe more people would have come if there was just a set price, so more recently I have run my workshops with set prices and the option of GFRF – which has worked ok, but I still get the impression that some people find even that uncomfortable.
I also ran a series of qigong classes at the beach over Summer GFRF, and really enjoyed it. I have thought long and hard about expanding GFRF into the other classes that I run, but haven’t felt comfortable to do this. I think there are many reasons for this, but that would take a whole blog post by itself to explore. Instead what I have done is offered some of these classes GFRF on an underground basis – you can read about that here. A few people have taken up this offer and I have felt really good about that.
It has been an interesting year. I really like exchanging with people on a GFRF basis. I think that it helps me to look beyond some of the constructions and preconceptions that are common in society and see people more as they really are. I think it helps me to be kinder, more compassionate and patient. I think it helps me to have greater respect for people and treat everyone more as an equal.
Experimenting with GFRF has opened my mind to viewing many things in ways I would not have before. In some areas I think it has helped me to ‘see behind the curtain’ of societal conditioning – so much of which has an economic basis.
I feel like there is great potential for interacting with people in this way. I think there is potential to help me be a better person and have better relationships. I think there is potential to solve many problems in society if this were adopted broadly.
I would like to write more about both the potential of broader application of GFRF and the very personal psychological insights that have come from using it, but find it difficult as I am so busy with the rest of my work. In the end I think it is probably more important that I live it than that I write about it, but still I think there is value in the writing if I can find the time.
The biggest challenge with GFRF so far is that people are often uncomfortable with it. It is so diametrically opposed to how many of use have been brought up to view our interactions with the world that many people have a hard time interacting with it. I wrote about this here. Trying to operate GFRF in this environment has been tough in some ways, but I see enough potential in it that I want to continue with my experimentation and see if I can become better at communicating this and achieve better results with it. I will try to keep you posted 🙂