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what would you give?

February 1, 2011

Day one of my experiment in giving begins…  now.

So, here is the deal:  every day for the next three months I will give at least one thing of value away.  It is tempting for me to construct 48 different rules for myself around this project, to allow my insatiable perfectionism to get in the way of its completion, to set myself up for imminent and disastrous failure, but I am resisting.  The only thing I need to do is give something meaningful away and to write about it.  Done.

I can already hear your first question: “Um, why?”  It is a reasonable question, so I will try not to give you an unreasonably obtuse answer.

So, first of all, I don’t need to look far for reasons to give.  Every religious tradition of which I am aware commands or demands giving as a price for some form of salvation — heaven, enlightenment, freedom, whatever.  Every guru from Buddha to Mahatma to Oprah has whispered or shouted, “Give it away.”  The Chili Peppers sang about it.  Self-help author Wayne Dyer says that if we stay focused on giving, our purpose will find us.


Just so you know, though, I am not adrift.  With two small children, a brilliantly kind husband, and a fulfilling career, I feel anything but purposeless.  I wake up early, truly happy most days, and grateful for the gifts that have been heaped into my undeserving lap.  I have a purpose already — I am not looking for that.

Say what you will about JFK, but his paraphrasing of Luke 12:48, “To those whom much is given, much is required” has always rung true to me.  I refuse to feel guilty for my blessings as I think guilt is a lousy motivator and an utterly worthless emotion, but I must acknowledge that what I’ve been given has little to do with my inherent worth as a human being.  I was born at the right place, to the right people, in the right time, so I’ve always had a roof over my head and the freedom to choose.  As a result of the gifts I have been given, I now choose to give back.

I am aiming for simplicity at first.  Don’t expect miracles here, people, but expect me to show up.  That is my promise.  One line or twenty, I will show up every day for at least 90 in a row to let you know how I am doing and whether giving really can change my world.

Oh, and I will try to keep my sense of humor while I do it.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. Melissa Hawley permalink
    February 1, 2011 9:41 am

    So happy to have the treat of reading your delightful and insightful writing once again!

  2. Christina permalink
    February 1, 2011 12:47 pm

    Work your magic girl! Great start. I am thrilled you are on board again.

  3. Meg permalink
    February 1, 2011 4:58 pm

    What an inspired adventure this will be! Looking forward to living vicariously. xx.

  4. tierd permalink
    February 2, 2011 11:29 am

    You inspire me. I’m excited to follow your journey!

  5. February 3, 2011 6:36 am

    thanks so much for the encouragement, ladies — i really appreciate your support.


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