How free are we in our relationship with money?
Is it possible to feel rich without possessions?
Background Heidemarie Schwermer
Heidemarie Schwermer (67) worked for many years as a psychotherapist and teacher in Dortmund, Germany. Like most people around her, she spent most of her time working and earning money in order to buy the things she needed - and things she didn’t really need. As a psychotherapist she met many who were depressed and frustrated, over-worked and with very little spare time. Among the unemployed and poor she found that they often considered themselves worthless.
Heidemarie got the idea to start an exchange circle, where people without money could trade objects and favors. Through the exchange circle people came in contact with each other in a new way. They felt useful and worthy, and also appreciated the social aspect. After a while, Heidemarie decided to do an experiment. She cancelled her flat, donated all her things to friends and started a new life based on exchanging favors – without the use of money. Her goal was to create a greater awareness of the relationship to money and consumption.
At first she stayed with friends and acquaintances, took care of their houses when they were away for holiday or journeys and in return she received food and a place to live. Over the years, she has inspired the start-up of exchange circles throughout Germany. She wrote a book about her way of life, and the word about her lifestyle has spread. Today, she has lived without money for 12 years, and claims she has never felt so free. In the film ”Living Without Money,” we follow Heidemarie in her daily-life and learn about her life story and philosophy.