Friday, 2 April 2010

29 Gifts

Today I am beginning my 29 Day Giving Challenge. I stumbled upon this remarkable project by pure chance, although I am inclined to see it as fate playing her hand, as this challenge is just what I need right now.

The project was created by the inspiring Cami Walker after she had been suffering a particularly serious episode of multiple sclerosis. At the end of her tether, both physically and mentally, she visited her friend and healer Mbali, who gave her the challenge to give something away mindfully, each day for 29 days, in order to take the focus off Cami’s suffering and the scarcity she felt in her life and instead to turn this energy into a rich, positive force, celebrating all that was alive and kicking in Cami. By giving, Mbali believed, Cami would be inviting more abundance into her own life as well as enriching the lives of others, turning her from isolation to being a part of the greater whole. The effects of giving that Cami experienced for herself as well as the small wonders she created for others were so very wonderful. To read some of the lovely giving stories I highly recommend her book 29 Gifts. How A Month Of Giving Can Change Your Life. There were so many times when I felt myself nodding as I identified with the messages Cami learned on her journey and which she wishes to share with the world now.

At first I did ask myself whether this challenge was for me, as I consider myself by nature to be a giving person, but the idea here is to give those gifts mindfully, to experience the intention of doing something totally selfless for others. Cami writes of the types of giving to be weary of, which really opened my eyes. Giving out of obligation, out of expectation or with the intention of receiving in return doesn’t work, as it leaves you feeling burnt out and even wrestling with resentment; this is a lesson to be learned indeed! Giving, for Cami, was also a reconnection with her true self, the self which wasn’t defined by her illness and the limitations she felt this had placed on her life. I find myself on such a journey of discovering the me that I am and who I wish to be that I loved very much the idea of giving as part of my discovery. Most wonderful of all was that Cami, through the process of giving to others, not only blossomed inwardly and outwardly but learned to accept gifts given to her also. Whilst I love giving I find it much harder to receive, not necessarily physical gifts given at special times but the everyday gifts such as compliments, a friend’s insistence on paying for lunch, a dinner made by my husband... and hardest of all to accept are the offers of help when I feel depleted of energy. I often feel that if I accept these offers I am showing weakness, for I set such high expectations of myself. I have this unrealistic perception that I should always be in control, to be all singing, all dancing, all of the time! Yet by reading Cami’s story I have realised that this too is a valuable lesson and that accepting gifts is indeed a strength to be valued.

My Giving Diary arrived from the 29 Gifts website a few days ago so I am set to begin with an open heart, I wonder what will happen today...

If you are intrigued and wish to find out more here is the address:

Happy giving!