by Linda Scholten
A few years ago I heard about a book called 29 Days of Giving: How a month of Giving Can Change Your Life by Cami Walker.
At age 33, Walker was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, and her life changed forever. She was in and out of emergency rooms, lost the use of her hands, the vision in one eye, and was barely able to walk. She became depressed and addicted to her pain meds. She described herself as having a pity party.
Walker turned to an African medicine woman named Mbali Creazzo, who said: 'Stop thinking about yourself.' She gave Walker a prescription: Give something away every day for 29 days.
“By giving,” Creazzo told her, “you are focusing on what you have to offer others, inviting more abundance into your life.” The gifts, she said, could be anything, but their giving had to be both authentic and mindful. The gifts did not have to be material; they could be simple acts of kindness. At least one gift needed to be something she felt was scarce in her life.
Walker was amazed by what unfolded, and wrote a book about it. She started a global 29 day giving challenge – even Oprah got in on it, back in 2009. Two years ago when I heard about it, I did my own 29 days of giving challenge, and am going to do it again now. I thought it would be super-easy – shouldn’t we be giving every day anyway? But some days it can be tougher to create an opportunity. Now I am throwing down the gauntlet – issuing a challenge to you – to do the same. The next 29 days cover the span between Thanksgiving (in the U.S.) and Christmas and beyond. I think the timing fits. Conscious, mindful giving, not just on Christmas, but during the busy, sometimes stressful days before, and beyond. If you want to feel gratitude and appreciation, GIVE!!
George Addair, my greatest teacher, once said to me, when I was complaining about something, “You sound like a person who has stopped giving”. That man could say a lot in a few words! That sentence stopped me in my tracks and I have never forgotten it.
Scientific studies have shown that giving literally makes you healthier by increasing antibodies, lowers your risk for heart disease, decreases pain and depression, you catch fewer colds, wounds heal faster, as well as lowering anxiety and the stress hormone cortisol.
I feel like I’m starting to sell you on the benefits of giving, you so I’m going to stop talking. I tend to go on when I get excited about something!
I’ll leave you with a few bits of advice from Cami Walker: remember that the gifts don’t have to be material. “The most important thing is that the gift is offered. Find an opportunity with open heart and don't expect anything in return.” ”Instead of planning out your month of giving… go through each day looking for opportunities to present themselves”.
I will report back to you after my 29 days of giving and would love to hear from any of you who take up the challenge, via email, to email@example.com.
Here’s to, not just giving thanks, but giving!