I’m a sucker for self-help books and I found 29 Gifts very inspirational and close to my heart. Found this book by chance two weeks ago, and it got me curious about how Cami coped with her illness, overcome the odds and initiated a goodwill movement over the Internet.
Cami was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) shortly after one month of her marriage. MS is an incurable autoimmune disease in which patients’ immune system attacks myelin, a protective layer for nerve fibers in the brain and spinal cord, and causes disruption to the message transmitted along the nerve. MS upsets Cami’s life badly and she became very negative about it, constantly asking the question, “Why me?”. That’s a very common thought of newly diagnosed cancer patients and their families too!
One day, Cami met an African medicine woman Mbali who prescribed “Giving 29 gifts in 29 days” to her. Because “By giving, you are focusing on what you have to offer others, inviting more abundance into your life.”, Mbali told her. In the month-long project, Cami realized that her focus on giving had unknowingly helped her to “let go” of some sufferings and problems. Along also came many helps and pleasant surprises which she learned to accept graciously with gratitude. Cami’s life had changed for the better and eventually she had founded 29Gifts.org hoping to recruit more givers in this world.
In my family, we were always taught not to trouble others and to politely reject gifts in kind. If we were to receive any gifts, it’s only right that we return a gift of similar value. A bit of traditional Chinese culture, like the exchange of mandarin oranges during Chinese New Year. Perhaps it’s because we don’t expect to receive so it wasn’t a habit to give either. Last year when I was having my first cycle of chemotherapy treatment, LeRoy’s mother insisted on bringing healthy home-cooked vegetarian dinner to me daily. After politely dissuading her a few times, Aunty Susan told me, “I don’t have to give, but I want to.”. It wasn’t the tasty meals but her time and and sincerity that touched me deeply, as I later later found out that her late father was hospitalized at Tan Tock Seng Hospital. She could have spent the time with her father, but she made time for me just to make sure I have good nutrition to fight leukaemia. My mum, then, was unable to visit me as often as she would love to because she had to take care of my late father who was getting less mobile. Hence, we were very grateful for Aunty Susan and her family for their unconditional generosity and kindness.
Cami’s memoir reminded me of the goodwills I’ve received. It has also inspired me to start giving unconditionally and consciously, and thus, the very first project to raise funds for Hair for Hope 2012! (Please support me!!!) Since May is my birthday month, I decided to embark on this journey of 29 days of giving. I will try to update my daily givings here.
I would recommend 29 Gifts to anyone caught in a tough situation and needed a little inspiration. Let us all be reminded that there are miracles, good, humanity and abundance in this world. Experience a change of perspective in your life and pass on this goodness to others! Thank you Cami for sharing!
P.S. If you enjoy giving, you may like Katie Sokoler’s (owner of blog Color Me Katie) Love Note project and the recent Easter Egg Hunt project – leaving pleasant surprises around for people to find. That’s how fun giving can be!