Wednesday, January 19, 2011

29 Gifts

I like to raid my mom's bookshelves when I am home because she always has good books that I have never heard of. I recently stole "29 Gifts: How A Month of Giving Can Change Your Life," and it really inspired me. 29 Gifts is a memoir by Cami Walker, a 32-year-old woman who, after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, found herself unable to walk, in terrible pain all the time, blind in one eye, and deeply depressed. When her friend and spiritual adviser, Mbali, gave her a "prescription" to give 29 gifts in 29 days, she thought it was a little crazy, but it ended up changing her life.

As I was reading the book, I thought to myself, "I already do a lot of this kind of stuff." The gifts that Cami gives are not grand gestures, they are not expensive, they might not even be considered "gifts" to most people. What I soon realized is that the 29 Gifts prescription is not so much about what you give, but your mindset. It is about thoughtful giving, giving out of your own need and not your excess, and deciding each and every day to give something to someone else.

As you probably guessed, I'm going to take the challenge! I think the most difficult part for me is going to be thinking about my giving and making it something I do consciously to bring someone else joy. Again, I "give" a lot throughout my day either because it's part of my job, it's something I just have to do, or it will somehow benefit me as well. This new form of giving requires stretching yourself so that the gift is purely for the benefit of another person and your only goal by giving it is to bring them happiness. I'll start my 29 days on February 1st and blog about it every day for the month. I know, I could start now, but in my quest for organization and order in my life (something that Cami suggests we try NOT to give into), I will start on the first of the month. If you want to join me, I would love to hear about it and share this journey with you--leave me a comment to tell me your gift-giving plan.

 In the meantime, check out this video of Cami on the Today Show, and READ 29 GIFTS!!!!

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