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

29 Gifts: How a Month of Giving Can Change Your Life
Cami Walker
Da Capo Lifelong Books
256 pages
October 2010
rated 4 of 5 possible stars

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的知 going to end up in a wheelchair. I値l never be able to walk normally again. I値l never find a way to earn a living again. I値l never be able to write again. My friends and family will abandon me. My husband will get tired of taking care of me and leave me locked up alone in a nursing home before I知 40, where I値l be ignored day after day and die before I知 45 from infected bed sores.

的値l never get to be a mother.

展hy have I been cursed with this horrible disease? Why can稚 the doctors cure multiple sclerosis . . . or at least give me some drugs that actually help? My life sucks. My life is over.

的 want to die.
Author Cami Walker was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) one month after her wedding. Soon she was in and out of emergency rooms as the stresses of a recent move to Los Angeles, a job change, newlywed life and the diagnosis of her disease exacerbated the symptoms she壇 been having for some time. Having watched family members and friends succumb to various stages of debilitation as a result of serious autoimmune diseases including MS, Walker found herself thinking more and more about ending up in a wheelchair, being left by her husband and not achieving still-outstanding goals she had set for herself.

And then a friend prescribed a 29-day treatment for Walker.

Mbali Creazzo, whom Walker describes as an African medicine woman and one of her spiritual teachers, suggested that she give away one gift a day for 29 days in order to focus on what she could offer others. Taking her eyes off of herself and her fears would allow her to experience more abundance while giving away whatever she perceived another person needed in the moment, Creazzo told her. The gifts could be anything預 physical object, an affirmation, a favor such as a car ride傭ut Walker had to give with intention, focusing on the act of giving. Additionally, one gift had to be some time that Walker perceived as being in short supply in her own life.

Little did Cami Walker guess the extent to which 29 small acts would change her life, let alone start a worldwide movement that is going strong four years later.

Walker had already overcome huge obstacles before her diagnosis, including drug addiction, and she was very much a scrapper when it came to fighting for herself. But MS knocked her off her feet, at times literally, and she often had barely enough energy to get out of bed. She was in nearly constant pain, depressed, disoriented by a mix of prescription drugs. In short, she felt as though she no longer had anything to contribute to the world. It was in these circumstances that she began her 29 days of giving. Her first gift was a call to a friend who had been dealing with MS since the 1970s. After a rejuvenating one-hour conversation, which revealed that her friend was feeling lonely because her husband was out of town, Walker herself received a phone call - an unexpected contact from a potential client for her marketing consultancy business. Jazzed by how quickly her gift seemed to have been reciprocated, she undertook her gift-giving seriously from there on out.

Her gifts varied over the next month: change for someone痴 parking meter, money to a stranger on the street, letting her husband choose the movie one evening, free consulting services and so on. Although she tried not to expect a gift in return each time, Walker found herself feeling more attuned to the abundance already in her life葉o the kindness of others, to her husband痴 good qualities, her mother痴 tender care, the physical abilities she herself still enjoyed. Throughout the month, she experienced physical and emotional setbacks, but she continued her giving plan. Eventually, she decided to share it with a few friends and then to start a website where people could journal about their own giving. At the end of the 29 days, she saw so many improvements in numerous areas of her life (including her physical ailments) that she determined to start the giving cycle all over.

Walker references many spiritual disciplines in her writing. She has written her book in such a way that readers from just about any faith path should be able to take away something of value. We all give, most of us every day (and, as Mbali Creazzo is quoted as saying, 敵iving of any kind is taking a positive action that begins the process of change), but the book suggests that giving with intention溶ot as an incidental act擁s crucial to experiencing the benefits of this giving plan. She includes a letter from Creazzo that gives some background on the 29-day plan (which originated in an African ritual), suggests nine lessons Creazzo took away from completing the plan herself the first time, and offers several topics for reflection during the giving plan.

Walker is brutally honest about the physical, psychological and emotional impacts of MS in her life. She does not candy-coat her symptoms or the challenges they present. Yet her book offers hope容specially for people trapped in a mindset of scarcity. For the author, a month of giving did, indeed, change her life.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at www.curledup.com. ゥ Erica Jeffrey, 2010

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