I've always found great wisdom in the counsel that you can't control what happens to you, but you can control how you respond to what happens to you. In development circles, they call this response-able, able to respond with grace and ease. In the mainstream media these are usually heroes--people who respond in ways that are heroic.
The great mainstream example of responding with grace and ease these days is Randy Pausch, Carnegie Mellon professor, Imagineer beyond the Disney sense, and the man who has given us the Last Lecture. He has inspired millions with the video, his book, and his continued show of courage in the face of pancreatic cancer. Though I'm inspired and moved by Randy's Pausch, I also believe there are millions of untold stories of equally inspirational people who respond to difficulty in equally powerful ways that we don't get to see on the front page or in prime time.
Lately the person I'm most amazed about is Cami Walker. In March, during "dark days" Cami took out an old journal and read what Mbali Creazzo, spiritual guide and leader of her women's circle, had suggested months back: "Give something away for 29 days." Cami decided right then that 29 days of giving, focusing on others, might be just the thing to help shift the weight of her problems. I'd tell her story here, but I'd really like you to visit her 29 Gifts site and read it yourself--it's inspiring.
Thus began a journey that she has turned into a movement in a few short months. When I signed up on June 1 as part of HumanKind Challenge #4, I was #340-something. At last count today, the giving community (the ones who have signed up to be counted) is at 486 and growing. I haven't counted the countries but I know there are some 29-day givers from the UK, Canada, Japan and the US. Though the majority of members up until now are mostly women, Cami knows men to be very giving and she's looking for more to join the challenge.
I talked to Cami last week the day before she completed her third round of the 29 Days. You can see the photojournal of her latest "29th Day" here. She said that though the Challenge was not her first experience with giving (her mother is a philantrhopist at heart), it has been the most dramatic. She is amazed at what she has received, tangible and intangible, as a result of something so simple.
I'm guessing there's no question that you already give every day. The 29-Day Challenge just invites you to check out what happens when you do a giving "project" for 29-days, where you've shifted your intention to search out new opportunities, and when you do it as part of a world-wide giving community.
I hope you'll watch Cami's video and read her story. If you haven't joined her 29-Day Giving Challenge yet, click here now. It's never too late to start your own 29-Day challenge. You can read stories from the giving community where people have submitted the mundane and the miraculous for inspiration and new ways to think about generosity. And, after you've joined the 29-day challenge, add yourself to our HumanKind Group if you'd like.
If you like imagining a world where giving is the default shared intention everywhere, pass this along (to the guys, too). I don't think Cami will have trouble getting to her goal of 2,000. Her response to her life's challenges was to give a gift that I and others are now receiving--a reminder to hold generosity in our hearts and minds when we wake every day. If I could have my wish, she would get to 20,000,000+ in the next year or two, changing the world one small gift at a time.