I was sharing with someone recently about The Year of Me and how my life had changed because of it. I hadn’t seen her in a long time and we had a lot of catching up to do. I told her of the hardships, the depression, the loss and the physical pain. I told her I just didn’t want to be unhappy any more and I made a decision to change. I almost didn’t notice her quiet question at first, “How do I begin?” When you are looking at a road ahead of you and you have no map how do you know where to go? Her question sank in and then it sank in deeply. I flashed back to my beginning. It was one thing. Desperation.
I was desperate to stop being unhappy.
Today I received an email saying that the 29 Gifts website is closing. The author, Cami Walker has MS and recently had a baby. Cami wrote this book to document her journey out of the darkness. She created a website where you could pledge to do your own 29 Gifts journey and share community with other givers as well as journal your path. The reason I share with you about 29 Gifts is because this is how I began. When you are deeply unhappy, the very best place to start is by giving. Time, money, a smile, a note, anything will do. It is the act of giving that transforms your sorry self into someone with hope, optimism and thoughtfulness. Ironically, you might be a sorry self because you give so much already and have nothing left for yourself. This is different. I promise.
I’m feeling emotional right now because I went on the website and read each of my journal entries from January of 2010. It brought me back to the heaviness of my life and I could see my struggle to stay afloat. I was hanging onto the buoy and had my eyes on the shore, even though it felt very far away. I will spoil the secret and tell you that when you consciously give, you will learn to receive. When you journal each day about the gift you gave, your return gift is often revealed. It is a kind of magic. I urge you try it.
So is this your beginning? Or maybe it is your winter time. Either way, let yourself be reminded to let go of yourself by giving to others. I recommend reading this book to get the full concept. It will inspire and enrich you to make the decision to begin your own year of me. This book was literally my first step in my Year of Me, January 1st, 2010.
So, how do I begin?
1) Make the decision to change your life. No one can save you but you. One of my favorite quotes is “If it’s to be, it’s up to me.” Let this become your mantra.
2) Find the book 29 Gifts and commit to one month of giving, receiving, journaling, reflection and gratitude.
3) Know that this is your beginning. Your first steps. Each step forward gives you the hope and confidence to take the next step. Congratulations for making the decision.
My heart goes with you as you begin your journey. Life is a cycle and we all begin our journeys anew at some point. Be gentle with yourself. Take care of yourself like you are your own sweet mother. You will be okay.
***Note: I am not an affiliate for 29 Gifts or Cami Walker and do not receive anything for my recommendation. I just wholeheartedly believe in this book because of what it did for me. Love.