29-Day giving challenge. “Giving is SO HOT right now.”
As you probably guessed from the title, I am going to do the 29-day giving challenge (if you do not know about this, you were me 48 hours ago. Cami Walker started this movement after it was suggested to her as a remedy for her multiple sclerosis diagnosis. She did the challenge and has since written a book “29 Gifts How a month of giving can change your life”). This suggestion came to me clearly but I initially hesitated.
This hesitation stems from my (very old) tendency, to quote the great Melody Beattie, “to give away more than I can afford.” For many/whatever reason when I was growing up and into my 20’s I didn’t have the tools to allow me to give within my means, realistically and energetically speaking. Lots of tired days, disappointments and sad faces later I had to get over that!
In all seriousness, I had to un-learn this behavior as it was so deeply ingrained in me and it was no longer serving me. This took time and doing many things that felt uncomfortable to me (from buying new clothing to traveling for a year without a job surviving on savvy and my savings). It has taken a couple of years of turning my giving inward to build myself up a bit – okay, a lot – but I feel I am at a point where I can give freely with boundaries and without expectation. When I do that I am not left feeling exhausted and un-fullfilled (most of the time). All that said, this organized giving still makes me feel a bit hesitant.
BUT I feel that this “challenge” has come into my life as a sign that I am ready to give, without giving all I have and all of my reserves. I have had a lot of practice. For example, I am involved in a program that boasts “To keep it [the program] you have to give it away.” Now, I know it doesn’t sound like it makes any sense but it works, trust me. In fact, this philosophy is the very foundation of the program. How it works is established members who “have it” share the program with new-comers who do not yet have it. It is in this process of “giving it away” (this is done by listening, sharing experience, strength and hope, being welcoming, loving, literally showing someone literature etc.) that we in return are gifted serenity. Both parties win and it is definitely a sustainable way to practice a program. The process of giving it away also makes us feel more connected to the group/program but in a way that doesn’t make us feel like we are going to lose or miss out on anything.
I think I am perhaps touching on something here. There is no need to fear giving away because giving it away, ironically, builds us up or makes us feel more whole. OK, that sounds a bit self helpy (because it is! Fabulous!) but it successfully talked me into actually doing the challenge and eliminating my fear of not having enough. By “not having enough,” I am referring mostly to money but also to time, love, energy and food. I can discuss my past life as a child who starved to death in the Irish potato famine later…I digress, you name it I probably have feared losing it at some point. I know I am not alone in this. We are a society that BUZZES with fear of not having enough, which is why we buy and eat so much crap and drive REEEALLY BIG cars… So to expose my own fears to ya’ll I am going to record the events in my blog and probably have the occasional Facebook status outburst.
I ask and encourage any of you who have done said challenge to please share your thoughts with me. I also invite “giving” suggestions. At any rate, before this day becomes tomorrow: I am going to start this thang off with a roar. To celebrate National Cat Day (thank you, Paula Christensen!) to pay homage to my cat brothers and sisters and to counter-act the evil that is done to cats this time of year, I just gave $XX to “The Cat House” here in Lincoln. It is a no-kill cat shelter and adoption facility–> http://www.thecathouse.org/donate/
So something pretty meow-nificent (sorry) happened immediately after I made this donation. Upon further investigation of their website I came across the “Free $5 IGive.com” option. Apparently, IGive will donate $5 to the Cat House just for me registering with the site. TBA if I am bombarded with emails but at the moment I think that’s really cool. The Universe is getting on board with my giving band-wagon already.
The day after I made this donation (today) a Cat House volunteer came through my line at work. I know this because she had a “Cat House” shirt on and I commented on it…She has been volunteering there for 7 years and has 3 cats that came from the Cat House (as she put it, a “failed” foster mommy). We were discussing the very detailed screening process for adoption when it got really busy and she said goodbye…Perhaps I am more in-tune and wouldn’t have noticed it had I not been thinking about the Cat House already but I feel that I am getting signs from the Universe that I am on the right path.
Love it! And love the cats. Love ya’ll. 🙂
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