Deep in The Heart of Texas

LoveATX Parade

This past Sunday we had the opportunity to present Acts of Sharing to a community of sharers who truly represent the heart and soul of the sharing movement. LoveATX Fest, located deep in the heart of Texas, was hugely successful, due to the many individuals who care about others even moreso than themselves. We encountered musicians, businessmen and businesswomen, artists, engineers and even scientists, who all shared a common purpose. Each had a heart for both the Earth and its inhabitants: one of the fundamental pillars of the Acts of Sharing community.

One woman, Teri Sperry, works with Alt-Ed Austin and envisioned Acts of Sharing as a way for alternative schools to share costly supplies, such as microscopes and projectors. In this way, each child would be given the opportunity to have a more enriching education, while allowing the schools to work together and allocate money efficiently. Through sharing we can improve the quality of life by having more money to invest into the things we truly love.

For those of you who haven’t heard, Austin Time Exchange Network is another spectacular organization to look into! We met Ms. Laila Sadat-sharifi, who is strongly invested in the success of ATEN. Headed to Iowa in the Fall to continue her college degree, Laila plans on spreading the sustainability movement to the Midwest! Austin Time Exchange Network is a platform which allows users to post their vocations and skills online and trade their time with other users. In many ways, the concept of sharing is being utilized in many various facets, each exciting to see prosper!

Ms. Laila Sadat-sharifi of ATEN

We would also like to issue a special thanks to Jenna Jasso for spearheading this spectacular event and continuing to exemplify the ideals of sustainable lifestyles and living in community. Jenna is an extraordinary individual with such a unique story, which I would most definitely recommend checking out on her website.  Graduating from the University of Texas with a Mechanical Engineering degree, she has set out to make an impact on this world through promoting the ideals of loving the community and living in harmony with the environment around us.

Events such as LoveATX Fest and many other local events are great opportunities to meet some extremely diverse and forward-thinking individuals who bring with them the ideas of the future. Collaborative consumption and sharing in community only represent a few of these items which are so vital to the success of our future generations, and Acts of Sharing is dedicated to further promoting the ideals of this sharing movement. I would strongly encourage each of you to look into these various communities aforementioned and consider becoming a part of one! Progress never occurs by the hands of those who sit idle. Rather, it is those who engage in the topics they are passionate about and invest in their communities who foster the advancement of society.

AOS Working with Community Leaders

Posted below are some links to the various organizations referenced above!

Alt-Ed Austin: http://www.altedaustin.com/

Austin Time Exchange Network: http://www.austintimeexchange.org/

Jenna Jasso: http://jennajasso.com/

AOS Team at Work!

 

The Community

Hello fellow Sharers!

It is my complete pleasure to introduce to you IAmDavid, a fellow Austinite who is fully invested in living through sharing and living in community. IAmDavid is one of the most genuine, honest individuals I know, and I would strongly advise you pay attention to the great insights he brings to the table! If you’d like to hear more, either check out www.iamdavid.org or come meet him in person at LoveATX fest (see blog/photo for more details)!

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The history of man began as a family, a clan, a tribe.
Everyone had a place in the community. Everyone brought value in product, service.

We have strayed from that plan. We have closed ourselves off from the people around us.

In community, we share what we have, what we do, and what we are.
Together we all have more, and therefore, we are more.

Most of my things are in storage. A 10X10 room that is not half-full. In 56 years of working, buying, and collecting, this is what is left. I share what I have, do, and am.

As a group of creatures, we are not happy with what we have. We always want more.

The Sharing Way is ‘Old’ and ‘New’.

We are finding that more is not always better. Some of the things in my storage have not seen the sunlight in 9 months. These things cost me almost $200 per month just to store them.

What if a group of Sharing People could find a way to list what they are willing to share and to list what they are seeking to use? This would answer and solve many questions.

I am glad to say that I recently discovered this group. It is www.ActsOfSharing.com . My community meets on Mondays at 8pm, at Whole Foods. We are on the second floor, outside near the playscape, and anyone reading this is invited. For more details visit www.meetup.com/AOSATX . We’d love to share with you!

There are so many Sharing Groups in Austin. This Sunday, July 1,2012 we will join LoveATX Fest at Soma Vida, a place I visit often. Visit www.SomaVida.net for more details. I promise you will love LoveATX as well as the many events that they host.

It is not too late to save our world and help our fellow brothers and sisters. We are promising to do our part. Will you? Thank you very much for helping us share this message.

iamDavid.org
512-650-7171

Motivation through Righteousness

Hello fellow sharers! It is my pleasure to introduce to you guest blog writer, Danish Momin, a member of our business development team! He has some great insights to share with you regarding his perception of the collaborative consumption initiative and the sharing movement!

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In today’s society, we tend to forget the fundamental principles of duty while carrying out our daily lives. As stated by John F. Kennedy, “Efforts and courage are not enough without purpose and direction.” Individuals often undermine their value systems and ethics on the road to achieving “success,” and as a result, these individuals fail to gain a full sense of purpose. However, today’s society also consists of individuals who are motivated by righteousness.

Acts of Sharing is an excellent example of a community that is fueled by conviction and not by the objective of gaining material wealth. It is for this reason that I decided to intern with Acts of Sharing. I strongly believe that the successes and goals that Acts of Sharing has accomplished are attributed to its purpose of assisting the community. Accordingly, the beauty of working with Acts of Sharing lies in observing the sharing community grow and develop. Working alongside individuals who share the passion to help our community continues to motivate me to perform at my best. Since joining Acts of Sharing, I have learned that ‘You get back what you put in,’ meaning that results are an indication of efforts. I look forward to having a very productive summer and hope to be able to help Acts of Sharing grow!

Danish Momin

Encouraging Sharing Through Encouragement

The beautiful thing about sharing is that we can share with others through a multitude of outlets. As children, we are led to believe that sharing is only of materials. But as we grow, we realize that there are other items that are of value to us. Our time becomes more valuable as we learn to manage it, our hearts become valuable as we learn to love. Our materials continue to be valued possessions, but they are accompanied by these other methods of sharing.

When reflecting upon those possessions, I realized that I’ve become very proficient in sharing my possessions and time, but my heart was something that I was afraid to share with others. When I refer to sharing my heart, I’m not speaking as a romantic, but rather a Christ-follower.  “Love your neighbor as yourself” has always resonated with me strongly, but I’ve been hesitant to act upon it. For me, sharing words of encouragement with others and verbally expressing the blessings that each and every individual helps bring into my life are ways that I have found to share my heart.

Recently, I was blessed with the opportunity to speak with an old friend who had been struggling with drug-related issues among a multitude of other challenges since arriving at college. Upon contacting her, I knew that the best way I could help her was to share my time with her and listen to what she had to tell me. And more importantly, I knew that I wanted to share my heart with her. I wanted to use the opportunity to share all the amazing accomplishments that she had, and let her know about the significant impact that she had made on both myself and others in the past. I was able to take the time to fill her heart with hope and optimism, and erase any doubts that she may have about the future. Encouragement to change, encouragement to move forward. Encouragement to share her heart with others. This encouragement is one of the greatest gifts that any of us can share. And the best part about sharing encouragement is that it is mutual. Just as I built her up and warmed her heart that afternoon, she came back a few months later and shared that encouragement with me when I needed it most. It’s amazing how simple of an action sharing can really be, and a shame that people do not do so more often.

As a result of this encounter, I have made it my goal to continue encouraging others each and every moment that I can. In fact, I unintentionally bury some of my friends in words of encouragement, but in my opinion, there are far worse problems that one can encounter. The lack of sustainability is one of the largest problems that the world faces. Unsustainable living, spending, growth and consumption are all urgent issues that can be alleviated through the sharing of materials in this new sharing economy that has begun with these current generations of individuals. However, sustainability of the heart is another urgent concern that is not considered nearly as much as it should be. Societal boundaries could be broken through simple encouragement and bringing out the positives in people instead of becoming irritated over the negatives. Unity between generations, races and countries could be better achieved through breaking the societal norms of reserving encouragement and positive feedback instead of only making efforts to bring out those things that we dislike and want to see changed. Sharing, in all its forms, is an extremely valuable solution to many problems currently endured, and one that will be implemented through the perseverance, passion, and motivation of forward-thinking individuals who are the current and future leaders of society.

Shared Memories

I was pumped. I got in the car to make the slightly-longer-than-an-hour drive from Cypress to College Station to visit a friend attending the rival school (Hook ‘Em) and swap out life stories at our favorite coffee shop (shout out to MugWalls and all the Aggies reading this).

It was going to be wonderful. I had all the essentials for a good road trip, including the life-changing book I planned to share with my friend - The Four Loves by C. S. Lewis. Looking at the cover triggered memories of the three cities and 9 bookstores I raided to hunt down the book with less than a quarter of a tank of gas, of lamp-lit nights I cherished while sprawled out on the floor with a notebook and a glass of milk nearby and of relationships enhanced by the lessons found within the pages.

Each memory sparked another, and I realized the book was worth so much more to me than its monetary value. And as I drove, the excitement I initially held slowly started to morph into something else.

Tiny insecurities bubbled up in the corner of my mind and accumulated till I began doubting she would enjoy the book, assuming she would be irritated at the notes I scribbled in the margins and dreading she might accidentally misplace the book. Each new worry rose in its degree of intensity and began to plague my mind, causing me to doubt whether I should share the book with her.

Then it hit me.

I was worried my friend wouldn’t respond the same way I did to my book. That worry made me hesitant to share it. If she did not share the same interest in the book, a representation of my intimate memories, could that mean she did not share interest in other things I valued closely? Would that have a negative effect on our friendship?

I parked in front of her house still uncertain of what to do, and as I moved my backpack from the passenger seat my friend opened the door and saw my book still lying on the seat. She immediately said, “Good! You brought it! I can’t wait to read it.”

Those few words dissolved all the worries that had been boiling up within me.

Friendship is one of Lewis’ four loves, and of it he wrote,“In this kind of love, as Emerson said, ‘Do you love me?’ means ‘Do you see the same truth?’ – Or at least, ‘Do you care about the same truth?’ The man who agrees with us that some question, little regarded by others, is of great importance can be our Friend. He need not agree with us about the answer.”

Because I focused on the degree of influence the book would have on my friend’s life, I forgot the importance of simply sharing interest in Lewis’ thoughts on love. That shared interest created opportunity for a deeper bond and new memories to form between the two of us. It made me wonder how often I let my worries inhibit opportunities of growing friendships and adding new, life-enhancing memories bound to my belongings.

The Many Forms of Sharing

The great thing about sharing is that it goes far beyond the physical condition. While we can share those materials with much meaning to us, those which have less meaning, and labors and services, we sometimes neglect the value of sharing good news with others! I come today to share with you the great news that my good friend and business development coordinator at Acts of Sharing, Alex Judd, was recently selected as the drum major of The University of Texas Longhorn Band!
If anything, earning this extremely high honor is a testament to the value of hard work, determination, and continual motivation that an individual can possess. Positions like this are not given, but earned through months and months of genuine care, fortitude and unrelenting passion. Knowing Alex for the past year has been truly a blessing and an inspiration, and it’s one of my favorite things to be able to share that with others! It’s really cool that he now has the opportunity to share so much of the joy and optimism that he has with so many spectacular people. This idea of sharing the God-given talents each one of us possesses with others is of critical importance, and if anything can be even further enhanced through the community of Acts of Sharing! Even further-so, this community of Acts of Sharing now consists of a large diversity of sharers, ranging from drum majors of prestigious organizations to church leaders of spectacular programs to the most humble and genuine people that one will ever meet. How cool is it to have the opportunity to be part of such a great community? Being blessed by the presence of each and every one of these individuals is truly a joy, and something that I hope everyone can experience and share.
To this point, I want to emphasize again that sharing can be presented in many forms. Physical sharing is much of what Acts of Sharing is currently known for, but sharing friendships, great news, and amazing communities are things that Acts of Sharing can foster if allowed the chance to grow. It’s the start of a cultural revolution – an opportunity to participate in something that is so much greater than oneself. This cultural revolution is one which emphasizes personal relationships with each individual, and fabricates an inexpressible joy through opportunities to share the things we love with others, whether that be a book, a computer, or just great news!

(Alex is the tall guy on the right!)

What We Share, When We Share

I’m blessed to be able to introduce Carol Jennings, friend, writer and fellow sharer here this week!

I think it’s entirely too easy to get caught up in the act of sharing concrete objects, things you can hold in your hands and see without having to look deeply. But if you ask me, the best shareable things in life can’t be held in anyone’s hands, and they aren’t visible in plain sight. The funny thing is, when we share physical objects we can’t help but also share many other things, things that are perhaps less concrete but definitely more powerful.

Sharing something tangible usually begins with an exchange of smiles. The power of such an exchange is often underestimated, as smiles have been shown to change stubborn minds, to ignite everlasting friendships, and to brighten days. Often, sharing then encourages us to disclose a story, maybe one describing the meaning behind the item that is so important to us. The movie I’m handing you may be the one my mother bought me on my sixteenth birthday, the last birthday she ever spent with me. Naturally, we soon reach a point in the sharing process that involves disclosure of emotions. By telling you the reason behind my love for that movie, I’ve revealed my grief and my sentimentality. These are two feelings that you can relate to, and suddenly we’ve shared something much more powerful than a DVD.

By lending someone an object, a sharer has probably saved her friend some money and a trip to the store. These things are clear. But it’s also important to remember that an act of sharing has likely done something much greater than this. An act of sharing highlights the beauty in sharing a smile, the pure goodness of sharing stories, and the healing power of sharing emotions.

 

The Share Necessity

Kindergarten was the first time I remember hearing, “You need to share.”

When I was young, there were dire consequences if I didn’t conform to the rules of sharing. I kissed goodbye every hope I had for even touching the precious toy I refused to share and sat in shame when my mom banished me to the corner.

But that was nearly 20 years ago. Why is sharing still important?

The best answer I can come up with is fishing trips.

A few of my friends and I decided to go on an overnight trip this weekend to Galveston to soak up the sun, sleep on the seawall and fish till we turned red (sunburn is a killer). The group was so diverse that we each brought something to help out someone else. Those who had extra sleeping bags could swap one out for a fishing pole or extra water bottles or a ride to the beach (RideShare anyone?). It was an atmosphere in which each of us was looking out for another and belongings could be borrowed or given.

For the longest time I thought the epitome of sharing was giving to someone who is in need, whether that need was as simple as sharing water bottles or as life-changing as sharing the hope Christ gives. In any of those cases, I was doing something that I saw as enriching someone else’s life. But recently I’ve realized sharing isn’t just to bless someone else, there’s something that happens in my own heart.

Part of the beauty of following Christ is the gift of hope, salvation and love from God. And if that’s true, then becoming more like God would be to give to others in return. Sharing changes who you are. It takes away selfishness and pride (“I need this more than he does”) to replace it with selflessness and humility (“I want him to have this because he could use it”).

However, sharing isn’t always as easy as lending out fishing poles. At its best, selfless sharing becomes closest in appearance to giving. It requires trust and it challenges who you are. It pushes you past your comfort zones. Isn’t that what sharing in kindergarten was all about? You gave up something you wanted most to someone else.

But learning how to share has to grow to that point – from building blocks, to fishing poles, to God’s love. As it grows, it changes our priorities, our point-of-view, and who we are. So go ahead, make your kindergarten teacher proud. Share.

Sharing the View

I wanted to welcome you to our blog, where we’ll be sharing stories of … well sharing, actually. As Acts of Sharing continues grows we want this to be a place to connect with and hear from those who are growing the movement in their cities, campuses and communities. A movement of sharing means we share the movement together. And that means we want you to be represented here. We also want to inform you of the latest ideas and happenings with Acts of Sharing. We’re excited to cast vision and dream together with you, so treat this like a front porch.  Sit down, get refreshed and connect with those living to love their neighbors as themselves.