MONDAY, NOVEMBER 23, 2009
The Gift of Giving
I recently read “The Giving Cure” by Cami Walker in the November 2009 issue of Body & Soul magazine. The article is adapted from her newly released book, 29 Gifts: How a Month of Giving Can Change Your Life.
Walker’s book is a memoir of that month: The month she gave something to someone every day for 29 days as suggested by her spiritual advisor, Mbali. Walker tells about the steps she took and about her powerful experience of “getting over herself” by caring for others.
It’s not a unique story. In fact, a reviewer from Publisher’s Weekly notes that Walker’s book is an “admirable retelling” of The Secret by Rhonda Byrne. But, that doesn’t matter. What matters is how Walker, inspired by Mbali, has framed and packaged the sometimes daunting process of giving.
Lending a helping hand can be hard work. Although I really want to assist those in need, volunteerism often seems like drudgery and a major time investment. For years I’ve been making uneasy and vague promises to myself and the universe: “Someday soon I’ll volunteer at the soup kitchen,
In contrast, the concept of 29 gifts in 29 days makes giving doable. It’s specific and time-
The gifts don’t need to be material things: They can be a kind word, a sincere compliment, time spent listening, or time spent helping someone with a simple task. In fact, small gifts are often more meaningful and appreciated than extravagance. One day, for instance, Walker gave a teary friend a tissue.
So, today is the first day of my 29 days of giving. To make it formal, I signed up at Walker’s 29-
This is going to be fun—as it should be.