An (in)decent proposal
Amsterdam, Tuesday the 22nd of December 2015
Dear people at Squarespace,
I thought I was going to write you with an unusual request. But since starting this letter my request is becoming more unusual than I thought. I invite you to read my message, to listen to your heart and to do what feels right.
During a workshop three weeks ago I received a soft yet very clear inner kick up my behind. 'Surrender to what wants to happen,' the kick said. It felt true and I felt a lot of trust and space in myself as the workshop ended. The image that came up was of me, being in nature and writing. I had known this desire for a while but kept putting it into the future. Now it was here.
I spent the next day with a sense of what was about to happen, plus a lot of limiting thoughts and fears. But another morning came and I woke to the words "without money". Suddenly all limitations vanished. I knew then and there that from January 2016 I will be going on a trip, indefinitely and without money.
I have some idea what the trip is about. I think it is another step into my ongoing experiment with (economic) relationships based on sharing gifts. I think it is my way to experience, grow in wholehearted humanness. I think being in nature is going to help me to more fully experience who I am. I think it's going to give me more space to write. But mostly I have no idea. I’m just going by what feels good and right.
I'm really curious what living and traveling without money is going to bring. I'm curious what I will discover in myself and in the people I meet. And the idea of sharing my experiences, sharing what makes me and us come alive, puts a smile on my face.
But today I'm less occupied with that part. Today that part seems easy somehow, a going with the flow. What's busting my balls today is this: what am I going to do with the money I currently have?
Earlier I considered a scene in which I would buy some of the things I desire to take on my trip. But using my money to prepare for an experiment in living without money... felt a little iffy. Luckily I had an epiphany last week and instantly figured it all out. I was going to give my money to people and initiatives that touch my heart, and ask other people and initiatives to help me with my wish list. It felt shaky, but I decided to trust the epiphany.
That's when I started writing you this letter. I prepared a draft and I thought it looked rather smart. And I felt like letting it sit for a while. Saturday I sent a video message to Ted van den Bergh, director of the Triodos Foundation (part of the Triodos Bank, an ethical bank based in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Spain and the United Kingdom). I didn't know Ted yet: a mutual friend connected us after hearing my story. In the video, I asked Ted if Triodos Bank or he could help me with (parts of) my wish list. In return I could e.g. share my discoveries with or for Triodos.
Yesterday he replied with a beautiful email. Among other things he wrote this: 'If I'm very hard and honest for a moment, your question to receive money to travel without money is a question that is not yet complete.'
Bulls-eye. And ouch. And wow.
Ted also wrote: 'I hope to meet you sometime soon. Will you come and have dinner with us tonight?'
Ted, his wife and I had dinner last night. Ted asked questions that brought me closer to what this is all about. I now have even less of an idea what this is all about and feel like I have a lot to digest. We did conclude something like this: looking back we can understand and learn from our actions. But in the moment we can only go by what feels right. We can trust that and not some fixed idea of what's right. We can make room for surprises and end up with a valuable experience.
Earlier today I didn't know what to do. "Maybe it's right to give my money away, maybe giving my money away is my subconscious way of confirming that I'm not worth a dime, maybe I should use the money that was so lovingly given to me to lovingly give to myself, maybe..."
So - with a little difficulty - I did nothing for a while.
I still don't know. But this comes up: what if I drop the need to know? What if I just reach out, in all of my not-knowing, and see if I can make a connection? What if I do that before I think about if and where and what I'm going to do with(out) money before I start my trip? What if I make it less about the answer and more about the question? Ted beautifully showed me with his reply to my message and his invitation to dinner.
Which makes this whole thing a lot easier. Which in turn makes me wonder why I'm making it all so difficult. Which in turn makes me think: 'I'm not making it difficult. I'm experimenting, discovering. I'm having fun. I'm meeting beautiful people. I'm meeting myself. I'm writing with a smile on my face. This is the trip.'
I want to contribute to the more beautiful world our hearts know is possible. I'm discovering how I can best be a contribution. I want the space to share what I discover. And I want that space to be powered by Squarespace. I love your product and what it allows me to do. I champion you whenever someone asks me about building their own website. I... Oooh, am I brown nosing you? Well, I'll leave that up to you. I'm just writing how I feel.
And I'm writing you afresh. Not to ask if you want to sponsor my experiment. Well, maybe yes to ask if you want to sponsor my experiment. Anyway, my question is this: will you consider an exchange in value outside of dollars? Are you open to giving me my website and to letting me give you through my gifts? My intention for this experiment is a year. Longer if longer feels right; shorter if shorter feels right.
I have some ideas about the return favour. I could give you and your team a Qigong and Tai Chi workshop (through Skype or live if I ever make it across the ocean to your office). I could join you in a (team) session about money and value and love and life (I'm open to different topics). I could write a letter to you and you team in a year's time. I could...
I'm going to post this letter to my blog at one point. Maybe that is enough for you. Maybe you just want to support a cool idea (feel free to think this is not a cool idea). Maybe you can ask it forward: maybe there is something you (feel vulnerable about and) would like help with from someone other than me. Maybe, through asking it forward, we can ignite something beautiful.
Maybe you see things differently. Maybe you have some questions or ideas.
Whatever the case, I curiously look forward to hearing from you.
With love from the Netherlands,
P.S.: if you're curious to find out more, please find an open letter from the 6th of December, here on my website.
Bryce H. (Squarespace)
Dec 22, 8:13 PM
Thanks for chatting with me today.
Thank you for reaching out. We’re thankful that you would like to work with us in a greater capacity. I have sent your message to the appropriate team, and they will be in touch when and if interested. As a note, we receive hundreds of inquiries each week and are unable to reply to all of them.
Thanks again for your interest in working with Squarespace.