By Cami Walker, Guest Blogger
The first day of my personal 29-Day Giving Challenge was preceded by a sleepless night. I was awake all night feeling angry and sorry for myself during a difficult flare up of my Multiple Sclerosis. When insomnia hits, I often go through old journals and read them. I found a note that I’d made during a phone session with one of my spiritual teachers, Mbali Creazzo, two months before. The note said, “Give away 29 gifts in 29 days.” It was 3 a.m. and I decided in that moment to take the suggestion.
And so my 29-Day Giving Challenge began that morning as I gave my first gift — a simple supportive phone call to another friend living with MS. I woke up the next day and the next day after that feeling excited about what I might give away. And I began to notice that the more I gave away, the more abundance I was experiencing for myself.
I wanted to see what would happen in my life if I really committed and focused my energy on giving mindfully for 29 days. What space would it create in my life for new and unexpected things to occur? What shifts would I see in my thinking and behavior as a result? What impact would my gifts have on others? These were just a few of the questions I was curious about in the beginning, but there’s no way I could have anticipated what unfolded for me.
By Day 29, I was astounded by the magical and miraculous shifts in my life:
- I was feeling happier, healthier, and more in awe with life.
- I found myself smiling and laughing more.
- My body got stronger and I was able to stop walking with my cane by Day 14.
- My business exploded with new, unexpected opportunities and I was able to go back to work part-time again after months of being too sick to work.
- I began connecting with a community of new friends in Los Angeles after feeling isolated in my new home for several months.
- I also reconnected with my community of friends from San Franciscio and the Midwest, where I had lived previously.
- My creativity opened up and I began writing stories regularly.
- I began experiencing a deeper intimacy in my relationship with my husband, family and friends.
The list of changes goes on and on. This is only the beginning.
When I started out, nothing was planned. I simply began the day and when I felt moved to give something, I did. Part of me initially wanted to plot out the 29 days and line up the things I was giving in my hallway so I had the illusion of knowing what to expect. But collapsing into that old, manipulative and controlling way of being would defeat the purpose of the experiment.
I documented what I gave away and any observations I made each day. I began to post my stories online at http://www.29Gifts.org. Who knows, I thought, maybe others will decide to take the 29-Day Giving Challenge and experience a similar positive impact on their lives. So I decided to invite some friends to join me and within a couple weeks of sending the first invitation over 120 people signed up and committed to the Challenge. Today there are more than 4,700 committed 29Givers in 38 countries.
Our collective goal at 29 Gifts is to create a worldwide revival of the giving spirit in the world. We want to inspire more generosity on the planet and help change lives, one gift at a time. We have set a goal to inspire 29,000 people to sign up at http://www.29Gifts.org and commit to offer their gifts to the world by 10/29/09. I hope you’ll decide to join us and spread the word to all of your friends and family by inviting them to join in our global giving spree.
My book, 29 Gifts: How a Month of Giving can Change Your Life (scheduled for public release on Oct. 9) can be pre-ordered now at a 32% savings. In the book you can read my own story of healing through the act of mindful giving, as well as stories from other members of our movement. Medicine Woman, Mbali Creazzo, also offers tips and suggestions for how you can get the most out of your own 29-Day Giving Challenge.