THE 29-DAY GIVING CHALLENGE WILL MAKE YOU HAPPIER!
If you’re having mood swings and aren’t as happy every day as you think you should be, please keep on reading and participate in the 29 Day Giving Challenge because I guarantee you, it will change your life for the better and make you happier!
When my friend recommended me Jen Sincero’s book “You’re a Badass,” I did not think it would change my life; however, in it, I learned about the 29 Day Giving Challenge by Camilla Walker. Watch the video below to see how it has made me happier and how it can make you reach a level of happiness you’ve probably never even had!
And here’s more about Camilla Walker, the creator of the 29 Day Giving Challenge and the author of the corresponding book 29 Gifts: How a month of giving can change your life.
Please tell our readers about how this challenge started.
I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 2006 and my life changed forever. The autoimmune disease took away my ability to use my hands, vision in my right, and I was was having problems walking by 2008. At a very low point, I called African Medicine Woman, Mbali Creazzo, one of my spiritual mentors.
I wanted to whine and cry to Mbali, but instead she jolted me into reality by saying: I think you need to stop thinking about yourself. You are feeding the disease with all of your negative thoughts.
When I asked her what I should do differently, she said she had a prescription for me:
To give away 29 gifts in 29 days.
I wrote the suggestion down in my journal, but did not start giving right away. One sleepless night I grabbed the journal to write in it and opened right to the page that said:
Give 29 Gifts in 29 Days
I decided to try it. I remembered Mbali saying the gifts could be material in nature, simple acts of kindness, prayers or other ways of connecting.
I gave my first gift — a supportive call to a friend who also lives with MS.
In 2008, I also started a nonfiction book proposal (with author, teacher and book coach, Jen Sincero.
The 29-Giving Day Challenge stared as a simple blog at www.29gifts.org. I told a story day and within my first three giving cycles, I was getting calls from publishers. I also attended a Literary Conference called Writing for Change in San Francisco. My blogger friend Britt got me into the conference free because she was speaking.
At that event I met my agent, Rita Rosenkranz. I also met my the editor from Da Capo Press, a division of Perseus Books, the publisher for the 29 Gifts book.
What were the difficulties during this challenge?
There were days I wanted to quit, but Mbali told me I had to start over at Gift One again if I missed a day so that kept me motivated. She also told me to journal my giving stories, which I still do still today either at www.29gifts.org or on paper. I had to give one thing that was scarce in my life, which for me was money. I gave money to homeless people and $100 to my friend, Eve Wong, who was going on a teaching mission in Capetown, South Africa. Eve actually lives, lives works and studies there now and she created she helped create the 29 Gifts brand.
What was the best moment of this challenge?
There have been too many to list just one.
My first #29Gifts cycle is chronicled in detail in my book.
Two high points during cycle one:
Gift 15: Cane and Able
I was able to stop using a cane to walk short distances.
I was living in Los Angeles with my first husband, (who I divorced in 2009) and we only had one small car, so it was very freeing to even go even a few city blocks alone without a cane.
Gift 29: Miracle Mile
On day 29, I went on a one mile with Mark by my side. It was hard and painful, but I did it.
What did you learn from this challenge?
I learned that giving and receiving are two sides of the same coin.
It’s important to stay open for unexpected things to happen.
How has this challenge changed you?
The 29-Day Giving Challenge has made me more mindful, more patient and kinder.
What was the best gift you’ve ever given?
Rescuing my little therapy dog, Charlie, he is only six pounds, but he keeps me walking and taking care of him helps me a lot.
Favorite gift you’ve ever received?
Favorite gift I have received is my son Henry Zane Walker-Foster.
How often and how much would you say you gave before the challenge?
I gave but it wasn’t every day and it was not mindful.
Are you giving every day?
Yes. Yes. Yes. I never stop giving daily because it keeps me in a positive. My gift for today is taking time to type the answer these questions.
What does happiness mean to you?
Being able to turn my drama into art. I write, paint and draw. In fact, I have already made 5 painted Giving Rocks for our #29Gifts August 29th community giving event posted at www.29gifts.org. Also, I must be creating and connecting with others in a meaningful way.
Tell us one 5- and one 10-year goal you want to accomplish.
Usually I need to live in the moment, one day at a time.
In five years, I hope I am a better mother and enjoying seeing my son, Henry Zane Walker-Foster, more frequently than once a month for three days. My parents have custody of him in Kimball, Nebraska.
Where can we get your book?
Amazon.com is the most accessible place just search for “29 Gifts”. I recommend buying a new paperback because it is the most current version. It is less than $8 US Dollars. The Kindle and Audible Audio Book versions are also listed on amazon.com. The book is also available in Chinese, Korean, German, and Dutch.
Where can we find out more about you?
www.29gifts.org – There are new giving stories posted by me and others in the Great Giving Stories for Inspiration Discussion Topic on this site
And here’s some advice from 29 Gifts on how a practice of daily, mindful giving can improve the quality of your life
Nonattachment: Give your gifts with an open heart, without any expectations about what you might want to receive in return. In fact, try this: What if you were to give away something that you feel you could never part with? It could be a material thing, or perhaps a deeply held belief, behavior, or way of thinking that you feel isn’t serving you anymore. Try this at least once over your 29 Days and take notice of changes you see in your life in upcoming months.
Gratitude: If you stay in a space of giving and gratitude, you attract more of what you want in life. Note at least three things you feel grateful for each day. This may be anything from a family member, your health, shelter, or nature.
Awareness: Decide that you will go through each day being open to opportunities to give. Take action, and be mindful of what comes up for you emotionally. Does it feel hard or easy to give? Can you notice why you are having certain feelings? Is your desire to offer this gift connected to an experience that you remember from your past? Was there some resistance to taking action or resentment after the give?
Service: Try your best to approach offering each gift from an authentic desire to be of service to others. Take note of the times you go out of your way to help another person. What touched you about the person that compelled you to want to give? Are the traits that attracted you to the person somehow mirroring your own experience of life?
Curiosity: Approach this ritual with a willingness to be curious and surprised. Don’t go in
assuming that you will learn something specific, solve a problem, or have an earth-moving experience. Instead, notice what surprises you about your give each day. Did you get an unexpected reaction from the recipient of your gift? Did extending yourself to another person bring up emotions you didn’t anticipate? Did you receive something surprising in return?
Receiving: When you give, it opens space for you to receive. Plus, saying “yes” to the gifts that are offered allows you to feel the joy of giving. Each day, notice if your heart feels open or constricted when you receive an offering from another person. Can you easily accept their gift with gratitude? Do you feel deserving of the gift? Do you give yourself permission to receive with an open heart?