Wednesday, August 20, 2008Giving and Receiving
Live to give instead of to get. As you concentrate on the giving, you discover that just as you cannot receive without giving, so neither can you give without receiving -- even the most wonderful things like health and happiness and inner peace. --Peace Pilgrim
Charityfocus.org comes up with the most amazing stuff, each day, that demonstrates the goodness of people and the miracle of being human. Earlier this week they came up with this:
Feeling desperate and hopeless after spending eight days in the hospital related to multiple sclerosis, 35-year-old Cami Walker, decided to take an odd "prescription" from an African medicine woman. The remedy? Give away one thing each day for 29 days. "I thought the suggestion was crazy at first, but decided it wasn't going to hurt me to try it. Things couldn't get much worse," said Walker. "I was shocked by how quickly things turned around for me. By day 14, I was able to walk without my cane and many of my MS symptoms subsided. I was able to start working part-time again by day 29." Now, several months and many daily gifts later, Walker says she is still improving. Walker was so inspired by the changes in her health and other areas of her life that she decided to turn the 29-Day Giving Challenge into a worldwide giving movement.
Here are the guidelines for giving (from www.29Gifts.org):
Your 29 gifts can be anything... money, food, old sweaters, smiles, your time, kind words or thoughts.
You can start your own personal 29-Day Giving Challenge at any time—there’s no official begin or end date.
To complete the Challenge, share a story about the impact it made on your life to focus on giving for 29 days. Your story can be told with written word, short film, recorded spoken word, song or visual art.
The Challenge is intended to be a sacred ritual—it is your opportunity to cultivate a mindful practice of stepping outside your own story for a few seconds each day by serving others.
Don’t quit. If you have a day that you feel unmotivated to give, it’s ok. Just go for the simple give. Call a friend and give some kind words. Write someone a nice note. Or exchange smiles with a stranger. Every give doesn't need to be monumental. You might even notice that the “simple gives” feel more powerful than the grand gestures.
If you forget your give one day, be gentle with yourself. This ritual is about progress, not perfection. Sit down and quietly reflect on your day. Review the entire day mindfully and find the times you unconsciously gave so you can bring it into your consciousness.
Don’t forget that there is never a day that you don't give. There are only days that you don't acknowledge and remember you did.
Enjoy your 29 days. And remember to stay open to receiving. Giving can't happen without the receptors of our gifts. Good giving to you today.
This sure inspired me. If you give the 29 day giving plan a try, please report back and let us know what your experience was.
Tuesday, August 5, 2008The Power in Giving
I had to share this piece with you that came to me today on my daily email from charityfocus.org. They got it from NPR's site This I Believe.
It's from the bestselling author Isabel Allende. I find it fresh and new each time I read it, and what a perfect piece to convey the power of giving.
In Giving I Connect With Others, Isabel Allende
I have lived with passion and in a hurry, trying to accomplish too many things. I never had time to think about my beliefs until my 28-year-old daughter Paula fell ill. She was in a coma for a year and I took care of her at home, until she died in my arms in December of 1992.
Paralyzed and silent in her bed, my daughter Paula taught me a lesson that is now my mantra: You only have what you give. It's by spending yourself that you become rich.
Paula led a life of service. She worked as a volunteer helping women and children, eight hours a day, six days a week. She never had any money, but she needed very little. When she died she had nothing and she needed nothing. During her illness I had to let go of everything: her laughter, her voice, her grace, her beauty, her company and finally her spirit. When she died I thought I had lost everything. But then I realized I still had the love I had given her. I don't even know if she was able to receive that love. She could not respond in any way, her eyes were somber pools that reflected no light. But I was full of love and that love keeps growing and multiplying and giving fruit.
The pain of losing my child was a cleansing experience. I had to throw overboard all excess baggage and keep only what is essential. Because of Paula, I don't cling to anything anymore. Now I like to give much more than to receive. I am happier when I love than when I am loved. I adore my husband, my son, my grandchildren, my mother, my dog, and frankly I don't know if they even like me. But who cares? Loving them is my joy.
Give, give, give -- what is the point of having experience, knowledge or talent if I don't give it away? Of having stories if I don't tell them to others? Of having wealth if I don't share it? I don't intend to be cremated with any of it! It is in giving that I connect with others, with the world and with the divine.
It is in giving that I feel the spirit of my daughter inside me, like a soft presence.
- Isabel Allende on "This I Believe"