Welcome if you are new to http://www.29gifts.org. Welcome back if you are a seasoned #29Gifts member. When Medicine Woman Mbali Creazzo originally gave me the #29Gifts Prescription in 2008 I did not start giving right away. I wrote down her suggestion to #Give29Giftsin29Days in my journal, but closed the book and put it away on a high shelf and out of my mind. I had no intention of following through on the idea because I didn’t believe I had anything left to offer the world. I was bankrupt on every level.
I was preparing for a seven-day inpatient psychiatric hospital stay. My new marriage was under serious stress and my freshly diagnosed Multiple Sclerosis (MS) was flaring. I was blind in my right eye, my hands stopped working so I couldn’t write, and I was having problems walking. My mental state was worse than my physical state. I was so unstable that I was suicidal. When I got out of the hospital I went through months of rehab, doing physical and occupational therapy and intensive psychiatric treatment.
Things improved between me and my then husband, Mark, but I still struggled with depression, anxiety, insomnia, and crippling chronic pain. One night I was up at 3 a.m. (again) struggling to put my mind at rest when I reached for my purple handmade journal and opened it right to the page that said, “Give away 29 Gifts in 29 Days.” I recalled my conversation with Mbali and decided to try giving my first gift that morning: a simple phone call to my friend Laurie, who was also living with MS.
BACK TO BASICS: Some advice from Mbali and #29Gifts on how a practice of daily, mindful giving can improve the quality of your life.
Nonattachment: Give your gifts with an open heart, without any expectations about what you might want to receive in return. In fact, try this: What if you were to give away something that you feel you could never part with? It could be a material thing, or perhaps a deeply held belief, behavior, or way of thinking that you feel isn’t serving you anymore. Try this at least once over your 29 Days and take notice of changes you see in your life in upcoming months.
Gratitude: If you stay in a space of giving and gratitude, you attract more of what you want in life. Note at least three things you feel grateful for each day. This may be anything from a family member, your health, shelter, or nature.
Awareness: Decide that you will go through each day being open to opportunities to give. Take action, and be mindful of what comes up for you emotionally. Does it feel hard or easy to give? Can you notice why you are having certain feelings? Is your desire to offer this gift connected to an experience that you remember from your past? Was there some resistance to taking action or resentment after the give?
Service: Try your best to approach offering each gift from an authentic desire to be of service to others. Take note of the times you go out of your way to help another person. What touched you about the person that compelled you to want to give? Are the traits that attracted you to the person somehow mirroring your own experience of life?
Curiosity: Approach this ritual with a willingness to be curious and surprised. Don’t go in assuming that you will learn something specific, solve a problem, or have an earth-moving experience. Instead, notice what surprises you about your give each day. Did you get an unexpected reaction from the recipient of your gift? Did extending yourself to another person bring up emotions you didn’t anticipate? Did you receive something surprising in return?
Receiving: When you give, it opens space for you to receive. Plus, saying “yes” to the gifts that are offered allows you to feel the joy of giving. Each day, notice if your heart feels open or constricted when you receive an offering from another person. Can you easily accept their gift with gratitude? Do you feel deserving of the gift? Do you give yourself permission to receive with an open heart?
WHAT IF I MISS A DAY OF GIVING? Simply renew your commitment and start over with Gift 1. Starting over is the suggestion of Mbali Creazzo. Don't stress and don't quit. Starting over does not mean you failed; it is a way release the energy from your giving ritual and allow it to rebuild. I also suggest you sit down with your giving journal and reflect on your day. Was there a moment you offered a gift unconsciously or opportunities you didn't act on? Do you have other questions for me? Post them in the comments and I will reply. Learn more about Mbali at https://ourdivinemedicine.wordpress.com.
BE GENEROUS WITH YOURSELF Remember this October, I encourage you to start each day with gratitude and try giving a gift to yourself. Giving to yourself not only “counts” as part of your #29Gifts–it serves as a reminder that you are worthy of receiving. It increases your sense of abundance and rejuvenates your spirit. Try giving gifts of self care like warm baths, reading, writing a poem or other stress relievers. What kind of gifts will fill your well? Comment to add your own ideas.
SEEKING STORIES - DEADLINE OCTOBER 29, 2018 Write a 2,000-word personal essay submission for my second book. 29 Life Lessons: Reflections On Living and Giving is the much anticipated sequel to Cami Walker’s New York Times Bestselling self-help memoir, 29 Gifts: How A Month of Giving Can Change Your Life. 29 Life Lessons includes personal stories from Walker and members of the 29 Gifts global community, self-help prompts, and creative giving tips. Get submission guidelines and read three stories from Cami at this link. http://follr.com/Communities/29Gifts/ViewPost/74108
TROOPER TRAINING AND TOOTH FAIRY FUND Are you looking for a simple gift idea? Give a little (or big) financial gift to help Trooper (my rescue dog) train to be a Therapy and Service Dog. I still need help getting to my $2,300 goal for private dog training costs and for additional dental work for me. Please give if you can and share this link in the spirit of community! https://www.gofundme.com/help-cami-break-free-from-ptsd-ms
GIVEAWAYS WANTED Are you an artist, author, healer or entrepreneur who wants to share a product or service with the #29Gifts community? Sponsor a Great Giveaway. Direct Message me or leave a comment if you are interested.
HELP WANTED AT 29GIFTS.ORG Join our 29 Gifts Community Team. Help welcome new members and start conversations www.29gifts.org. Direct Message me if interested. You can also organize group gives in your local area. When I was traveling and speaking about 29 Gifts, I organized Flower Power Gives in each city I visited. Read about my first Flower Power Give in 2008. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/get-your-give/200908/flower-power-give