“the meaning of life is to find your gift.  The purpose of life is to give it away” Pablo Picasso

I recently read the book, “29 gifts” by Cami Walker.  This author was diagnosed with MS and was challenged by a friend to give to others as a way to “get out of  herself”.  She accepted the challenge!   This challenge meant she was to give a “gift” daily for 29 days.  The story tells of how her acts of giving helped her to look at life in a more positive way by celebrating her own “gifts” and what she could offer.   Cami was encouraged to give away what seemed the most difficult, the thing(s)  she “could not do without”.

Cami… At first.. dismissed her friend’s suggestion as ‘silly.’ ‘ didn’t understand how giving to others was going to help me,’ she says. ‘Most days, I could not get out of bed and felt I had nothing to offer the world.’ ”  (1)

After reading the book, I was curious about this practice of giving.  I challenged myself to give a gift daily for 29 days, to journal about it and to see what could happen.   For me, that “thing” that is the most difficult to give is my time.  Several of my gifts involved spending time with family of friends..  Of course, this was a gift to me as well as to them.

On day 1, I was late for work as my car battery died.  I decided to give myself the gift of acceptance that this was out of my control.  I gave away some of my cookbooks, I gave the gift of patience and heard some great stories from the cashier at  the grocers.   I gave more generously to all checkout donation requests.  One day I paid for the car in back of me at Starbucks.  I gave away my “29 gift” book.

One of my surprises from this experiment was the mindset shift I felt.  With the  focus on what I was to offer or give, I was always looking to do something for others (and sometimes for myself).  This just made me feel more positive about each day and less apt to feel that I didn’t have enough time money, patience or energy.

Research demonstrates a positive relationship between giving to others and happiness.
World of Psychology discusses this in “How Giving Makes us Happy“.  Steven Post’s book, “How Good things Happen to Good People” offers a summary of scientific data showing the positive outcomes of giving back and inspiring stories about how these acts can change a person’s life for the better.

The lesson for me is what we all know and don’t always practice.  Giving is good for the soul.  You can join or learn more abut the “29 Gifts” challenge or just give it a try on your own.  I would love to hear about your own experiences.

Thanks for reading and sharing!

“ You do not have to be rich to give generously”  author unknown

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1.  Retrieved Jan 1, 2015


  • This is so beautiful. I’m going to do this! Thanks!

    November 11, 2016
    • Ann

      Thanks for sharing this though, Jackie. It helped me a lot and I am now restarting Day 1! Please let me know your experience..

      November 11, 2016

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