29 GIFTS

How a Month of Giving Can Change Your Life

Cami Walker

 One month after her wedding day, thirty-three-year-old Cami Walker was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, and the life she knew changed forever. Cami was soon in and out of LA’s emergency rooms with alarming frequency as she battled the neurological condition that left her barely able to walk and put enormous stress on her marriage. Each day brought new negative thoughts: I’m going to end up in a wheelchair. Mark’s probably going to leave me. My life is over. Why did this have to happen to me?

Then, as a remedy for her condition,

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 One month after her wedding day, thirty-three-year-old Cami Walker was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, and the life she knew changed forever. Cami was soon in and out of LA’s emergency rooms with alarming frequency as she battled the neurological condition that left her barely able to walk and put enormous stress on her marriage. Each day brought new negative thoughts: I’m going to end up in a wheelchair. Mark’s probably going to leave me. My life is over. Why did this have to happen to me?

Then, as a remedy for her condition, Cami received an uncommon prescription from a friend, an African medicine woman named Mbali Creazzo; Give away 29 gifts in 29 days.

“By giving,” Mbali told her, “you are focusing on what you have to offer others, inviting more abundance into your life.” The gifts, she said, could be anything, but their giving had to be both authentic and mindful. At least one gift needed to be something she felt was scarce in her life.

Cami was amazed by what unfolded during her month-long journey.

29 Gifts is Cami’s poignant and unforgettable story of embracing the natural process of giving and receiving. Many of her gifts were simple—a phone call, spare change, even a Kleenex. Yet the acts of kindness were transformative. By Day 29, not only had her health and happiness turned around, but she had also embarked on creating a worldwide giving movement.

Including personal essays from members of the 29 Gifts.org online community whose lives changed for the better after taking the Challenge, 29 Gifts shows just how a simple, daily practice of altruism can dramatically alter your outlook on the world.

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  • Da Capo Lifelong Books
  • Hardcover
  • October 2009
  • 256 Pages
  • 9780738213569

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$19.95

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About Cami Walker

 Cami Walker was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2006 and created the online 29-Day Giving Challenge in April 2008. She has continued her own giving cycle every month since. Walker lives in Hollywood, California, with her husband, Mark.

Discussion Questions

What is your first impression of Cami when we meet her in the prologue? Does it change by the end of the book, and if so, how?

Do you think that Mbali’s admonition to Cami to “stop thinking about yourself” is fair, considering Cami’s condition?

Is Mbali’s suggestion to lift Cami out of her “black hole” by giving away 29 gifts in 29 days one that you think would work in your own life if you were confronted with similar circumstances?

Is there someone in your life like Dr. Kim who has changed your perception of the world and your place in it? In what ways?

Mbali tells Cami, “When you are overgiving, you are not living in abundance, but in scarcity. . . . When you give from a place of service, honesty, and fullness, you are left feeling revitalized.” Do you agree with Mbali, and if so, why?

What role does meditation play in Cami’s life, and in what ways does it help her address feelings of distress in her life?

Cami writes, “One of the profound changes I’ve seen for myself since I began giving is that I now feel comfortable counting every gift I mindfully offer to another person. I no longer feel pressure to make a grand gesture for it to count.” Do you feel you’re always mindful of your intention in giving someone a gift?

Of all the gifts that Cami gives in her first 29 days, is there one that resonates more for you than another? Which one and why?

Is there a story from the 29 Gifts community at the conclusion of the book that touches you more than another?

If you were to start the 29 Gifts program today, who would be the first person on your list to receive a gift, and why? What would you like to give that person?