29 gifts

                  When you find yourself falling down

                 Your hopes in the sky

                But your heart like grape gum on the ground

The rare and gorgeous Jewel Kilcher wrote that, and those are lyrics in her song, Deep Water. She remains one of my most beloved and treasured word magicians. I could be wrong, but it seems like everyone in this world is searching for happyness..in lots of different ways. And here it is. The way they go about it, doesn’t often lead to true happyness. I do not judge, because I can find it in myself. I love those shoes. Man..if I had those shoes I would be the hottest mama at the soup and pie supper. I’m not convinced we really need a retirement fund anyway.

So, I’m on this true happyness mission I fondly call  DIY happyness…to come up with  all the best ways to get happy without the aid of the drugs they give you after a surgery. And much like Hermoine Granger , Harry Potter’s platonic bff,  I turn to books to fix any kind of problem I have. Some girls read Jodi Piccoult, or Danielle Steele, or the National Enquirer. I read self-help books because I cling to the idea that I can make myself a better person. I guess you could say I am in love with the idea of Do it Yourself. Except when it comes to anything needing a hot glue gun. Those darn things get hot. And are not good for those with long hair.

Last year I read a book that I’ve not quickly forgotten, called 29 Gifts How a Month of Giving Can Change Your Life by Cami Walker. This woman met the man of her dreams, had the wedding of her dreams on a beach in Mexico, and as a writer and new wife, had many hopes of a career… children….the whole shebang. Less than a month after returning from their honeymoon, Cami woke up to her hands weak and painful, and to the loss of vision in her right eye. Soon her balance was affected, and her whole body felt as if it were on fire. Doctors diagnosed her with multiple sclerosis.

Cami sought prescription drugs, doctor after doctor to relieve her physical and mental pain. Nothing helped. When she sank to the bottom and sat for a while, she felt led to reach out to her friend and spiritual mentor, Mbali Creazzo. Mbali is a medicine woman from South Africa, and she looked at Cami’s dis-ease very differently than those associated with Western medicine.

Mbali told Cami….Cami, if you spend all your time and energy focusing on your pain, you’re feeding the disease. You’re making it worse by putting all of your attention there. You are falling deeper and deeper into a black hole. I’m going to give you a tool to help you dig yourself out. I have a prescription for you. I want you to give away 29 gifts in 29 days.

I wish I could make everyone read this book, but as my one very realistic and honest friend told me once..bless her heart.. I’m too lazy to read books like that. Can you give me the highlights?

Here’s  the Cliff notes: Cami is stubborn, and doesn’t take the advice right away. Both her body and mind seem not long for this world. She finally surrenders and starts GIVING..something she didn’t think she could afford to do…and I don’t mean money-wise. I mean spiritual-wise. But she did it anyway, and most of the book is the journal she kept during that time.  As the days went on, she grew more creative in her gifting, and her pain began to subside. Within a short period of time, she was able to stop using a cane. She could sleep for longer than 2 hours. She started to feel the first rays of happyness in her life again. In the end, she didn’t stop at day 29, flabbergasted at the 360 degree change her life had just taken. All because she made it her goal, to give away 1 thing everyday. Her time, her energy,  her money, her compassion, her forgiveness,  and sometimes just her smile.

I’m thinking that if 29 days of giving can turn around someone’s life, as it did Cami’s, who has a debilitating illness, what could it do for someone who’s just feelin kind of blue? or a touch depressed because the only place that makes good sushi was  shut down due to cricket infestation? I don’t know, but I’m really tempted to try it. Wanna do it too? It would be dreamy to have others commit to it also. Because I have issues  with Do it Yourself stuff sometimes. But I promise…no hot glue guns or even chicken wire required. Only your heart.


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