The Gallery – My Weekend
My weekend, was quite dull; not a lot happened; the weather was drizzly and windy so we were stuck inside most of the time.
That is, however, until I caught up with Clare Campbell, a woman I am truly blessed to call my friend. She shared the story of her new philanthropic adventure; the Big Love Bank, here she tells of it’s inception…
“as if for an instant we had all learned how to give all our money away, watching it return without a shirt on its back…
happy and singing, telling stories and introducing us to brilliant company, walking as if we could be dangerous again, dangerous in our generosity” David Whyte
Recently I found an old diary, stumbled on a dream list for my life …..Reflecting I realised that I now had created everything on that list – except for my vision of becoming a philanthropist, running a wild fund for other people’s dreams. That felt so far away from where I now found myself.
I recognise that compared to most of the world I live in great wealth – I have a home, food to eat, fresh water etc.
But like so many people in this current climate I have been struggling to keep up with my mortgage payments and was sliding into deep debt.
My work as a social entrepreneur with people who were long-term unemployed had near enough dried up. Contracts were no longer available. I also became ill with severe panic attacks and anxiety…after a year of treading water I finally started missing my mortgage payments and felt paralysed and praying for a miracle.
Many people around me said “the golden days are over – this recession will last years – you will lose the house – etc, etc…” and although i believe in magic and possibilities and things happening for a reason I began to swallow their words and depression set in..
It was 21st June at about 2pm and I lay on my bed exhausted and feeling burnt out. I was due to speak at a Magical Solstice Evening and felt if I am honest as far from “magical” as humanly possible. I was feeling really heartbroken after a relationship breakup, frightened about my future and had absolutely no energy to spare. I contemplated cancelling and fell into a deep sleep and woke and hour or so later knowing exactly what to do….
During this time of despair and worry I had been touched by people’s kindness and generosity. Little things people did or said , tiny gestures took on new meaning and got me through the days. With this in mind I went straight to my purse . I had about £25 – £30 pounds left to last me and no sign of any other income. I took the money and got it changed into pound coins and put them in a paper bag upon which I wrote “magic possibilities” and covered the coins, in glitter…I went to the solstice celebration with excitement in my belly and a spring in my step.
People came in looking equally ground down by life as I had been earlier in the day ..two people came through the door with big tears welling in their eyes after particularly difficult days, others tired and weary.
I spoke that night at the event with honesty about my situation and how at times like these I felt moved to do something creative – “The Big Love Bank” in the bag was my way of finally fulfilling my own dream to become a financial philanthropist – even if I only had £25.
Each person there took a sparkly pound from the bag and promised to do something creative and beautiful for someone else with it and then to report back. People were saying they would buy a packet of tea bags and make cups of tea for people in the street, some would donate it to a charity, others make cards for people who were important to them. I have never felt richer in my entire life than watching people with those golden coins dreaming up beautiful ideas.
The next morning I woke up feeling amazing and went to empty the resource bags from the celebration – I opened the coin bag to find £85 in notes and pound coins … I was astonished …my £25 had grown as I gave it away – people had taken the £1 and replaced it with notes ! Most people are beautiful and generous beyond belief. I decided to use that £85 to give away more coins and keep spreading the magic. Money took on a new magical meaning – it was no longer wrapped in scarcity and worry.
I shared the story on Facebook and by 12 o’clock that night some beautiful souls had deposited £2,585 pounds in my Paypal account as a result of reading the story and told me to pay off my mortgage arrears with it – I would call that my miracle !!!
what happened next…
I went to a meeting with some PCT health workers the next morning carrying that feeling of richness – I told them about the coins and their eyes lit up – so I reached in and gave them coins too !!! They asked me would I run a session with some young women in care but they didn’t have funding yet ..I looked one of them in the eye and said you could use your £1 to buy me for an hour to work with the young women …you could fund and sponsor the session …she was delighted and agreed and handed over the £1 saying she was potential changing all these young women’s futures with her funding !….
Since then I have given out 50 more £1 coins and many others have given out their own coins too . Taxi drivers, small businesses and individuals have joined in and we have a school was want me to come and speak and give the children a sparkly coin too.
I was sitting in my favourite Cafe in Liverpool – The Quarter and I talked to the manager about what happened – he said we could do it with the staff there – so 45 staff got a sparkly pound and are going to feedback what they do with it.
By the end of the day Alan Parry had met me and agreed to make us a web site for £1. Sylvia Pearson at the Liverpool School for social entrepreneurs had asked me to tell the story at the SSE Graduation next week and to give all participants £1 to do a magic project of love with !!!!
Now people are giving me up to £60 in exchange for one sparkly coin and asking me to fill up the coins in the Big Love Bank. I see huge possibilities for this spreading and people finding the joy in money again !
The magic of tiny gestures
I refuse to live in fear and let money constrain me or my dreams….I believe magic can be created from tiny gestures and ripples of kindness and creativity can change the whole world ….so take a £1 or a dollar or whatever your currency is …and do something amazing with it for someone else then share with me and we will tell stories of magic and philanthropy and maybe we need never feel quite so poor or frightened again… it’s the magic stories that have come from this that fill me with a feeling of hope and richness and I hope to gather the stories together to share
Love Clare xxx
please feel free to pass on this story to your contacts with the hope that they will create their own magic stories from giving in some small way in their own communities and
send me a gorgeous email with what you did with your sparkly coin/note at : firstname.lastname@example.org”
This is such a simple yet amazing way to share love and magic, I’ve shared a few coins myself, one to the nursery that my wee ones go to, they are wonderful and have had lots of financial cuts this year, I gave the glittery coin to the headteacher on the last day of school & told her to make magic happen.
I also gave a glittery pound to one of the ladies that works there, one that always puts a smile on my face, however hard a day I’m having. She was so overwhelmed she almost burst into tears, then gave me a huge hug. Something worth much more than a pound in my book…
I have a few more ideas to share the magic, but please, think what you can do, it’s only a pound, but it might just be the pound that saves a life…
What will you do? The Sky’s the Limit