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"I was struggling with the idea of making exchanges and thought they had to be extravagant, or at least somehow they needed to be more worthy of posting on the software than what I could think of. Most of the things I needed done in my house I could do by myself, and I wasn't in the habit of asking for help when I didn't feel like I really needed it. I knew I could handle re-arranging my closet, pulling my weeds or sorting out my sewing room all by myself, why should I ask for help? I learned through the timebank meetings that I went to and talking to other members in timebanks around the U.S. that one of the ideas of timebanking was more about creating community than just getting help, so I began to think of how I could do that in my own life. I looked around my home, and then posted a request for someone to help me sort out my embroidery threads. I had been given about a hundred of spools of colored embroidery thread that I thought would be fun to organize by color with another timebank member. What happened was far more than organizing embroidery threads. Carol and I spent an hour or so at the kitchen table getting to know one another over a cup of coffee while putting small spools of threads in boxes of matching colors. That was two years ago. We've done multiple exchanges since then, and a true friendship has been built over the past year. I couldn't imagine my life without Carol in it. None of this would have been possible without realizing that I can ask for help even when I don't need it. Now, when it comes to either giving, or receiving, I think TimeBanking first." - BJ Andryusky @ Tampa Bay Time, Florida http://ow.ly/FePa309LlID . #timebankingis #community #50storiesin50days #timebanks #story #timeasmoney #embroidery

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Reflection by Edgar Cahn

From childhood on, we are taught: Do it yourself.

We define “Growing up” as a trajectory to self-sufficiency. We are told: “Pull yourself up by your own bootstraps.” Reliance on others is characterized as a kind of character defect. Dependency is regarded as pathological.

Given that premise, how can TimeBankers praise, promote, and practice “asking for help when you don’t need it?”  

Because often it’s the relationship, not the transaction that matters. In TimeBanking, it is the asking that turns strangers into potential friends and potential friends into real ones. In a world where more and more families are headed by a single adult who has no time for parenting, where fifty percent of marriages end up in separation and divorce, where forty percent of seniors live alone, we need ways to reweave connectedness.  Maybe we could do everything by ourselves. But what are the consequences of isolation?

Two observations might just be relevant:

(1) solitary confinement in prison is viewed as the severest penalty authorities can impose and recent human rights organizations have condemned the practice as a form of torture that violates fundamental human rights.

(2) as a species, we have evolved from primates who gained a Darwinian advantage because, when the male partner was killed, other females helped look after the survivor’s children so that the survivor could leave the offspring to continue foraging for food.

Our species survived because of empathy and connectedness and interdependence. We are hard wired to reach out to each other.

TimeBanking simply uses technology to create circuits of trust and support.

“Asking when we don’t need it” sustains and renews those circuits for when we will need them. But it does something more: creating and activating those circuits becomes part of who we are and provides a self-renewing answer to the eternal question: Why are we here?