12.07.2009

Book Review: 29 Gifts

29 Gifts: How a Month of Giving Can Change Your Life by Cami Walker

I was interested in reading this book after reading a short article in a magazine about Cami and her "gift movement".

I found myself completely enchanted by this memoir-cum-directive for action.

At the age of 35, and only a month after getting married, Cami is diagnosed with MS (multiple sclerosis) and finds herself spiraling into depression, pain, and a toxic mix of medicines and antidepressants.

Enter her friend Mbali, who gives her an unusual prescription: give 29 gifts in 29 days, and keep a journal of what you give.

Mbali stresses that these don't have to be material or monetary gifts, so with slight trepidation, Cami sets out on her journey, giving everything from 72 cents to a homeless man to a phone call to a friend to doing the dishes for her beleaguered husband. As she embraces the giving prescription, her life takes a turn for the better - less pain, an uptick in work, and a more solid relationship with her husband Mark.

Cami's writing is honest and at times raw, but the truth and joy shines through every page, and I found myself reading late into the night to see what her next "gift" would be, and have found myself much more "mindful" since I began the book of what I can do to give - a dollar I dug out of the bottom of my purse for the food bank, the gift of my own patience when it is being tried, or even a smile for a harried looking shopper.

I haven't yet fully committed to my first "29 days cycle", but I've spent a lot of time on Cami's website, 29gifts.org, and find myself impressed and inspired by all the giving ideas and positive energy that seems to flow from it. I think I'll be starting my journey soon enough, as I keep revisiting the site, and thinking about what positivity this book and this movement projects.

Great read, great boost of positivity, great message, great thing that I want to be part of! :-)

Addition: Ten minutes after I posted this blog entry, this happened. It must be a sign.



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