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day 30: welcome to my fuzzy web

March 3, 2011

When I wake up in the morning, I immediately say the exact same prayer of thanksgiving I have said since I was a child.  Before my brain races to solutions to the day’s impending chaos, before my muscles have a chance to feel their aches, my memory knows to say “oh, wow.  another day to be.  thank you.” This moment with God is a habit, cultivated over a lifetime, that affords me peace before I have the opportunity to panic.

Over coffee, I stare at this framed poster hanging in my kitchen:

Bought as an anniversary gift for my husband last year, the message of this poster provides me with a daily gift: “Where happy lives,” it reminds me, “so does laughter.  So does gratitude.  So does music.  So does art.”  Faced with such a pronouncement, how can I choose to be anything but happy?

On Day 30, I took a moment to reflect on where this project has taken me thus far.  I’m one third of the way through my ninety days of giving, and I can definitively say that happy lives inside my experiment.  While I’m challenged to find the words to wrap around what’s happened, here’s an attempt:

  • Perspective — Now, in addition to thanking God and choosing to live happy, I also begin my days with, “What can I give today?”  Some days, answering that question is harder than I ever imagined, but just asking the question tilts me in a hopeful direction.
  • Openness — Giving has cracked me open in a way that is simultaneously uncomfortable and thrilling.  Sharing myself, both in my gifts and in this blog, is an entirely new kind of exposure for me.  Some days I’ve walked around with a lump in my throat, fragile, a little afraid of what I’ve gotten myself into and treading on foreign soil.  The thrilling part of being cracked open is the open part.  Author Wayne Dyer writes, “Fear knocked on the door, love answered, and found no one was there.”  To approach this project with love I have to stash away my fear — of others’ reactions, of judgment, of rejection — and stay open to all that is new.
  • Connection — You know that icebreaker game you hate playing at team-building events?  The one where everyone stands uncomfortably in a circle and one person has a ball of yarn he has to toss to someone across the circle from him?  She then tosses it to someone else, who tosses it to someone else, until a giant yarn web results and everyone in the circle knows one another’s names, feels sufficiently idiotic, and waits anxiously for the facilitator to tell them to drop the damn yarn ball?  Subtract the idiotic parts of that exercise and this project feels similar.  I am enriched by the connections (and re-connections) it has afforded me.  If I hadn’t embarked on this project thirty days ago, I don’t know if I would have rekindled a friendship with an old running buddy, told my goddaughter what the day of her birth looked like through my eyes, had honest conversations about marriage equality with apolitical friends, or watched a video of my beloved niece making blue whale sounds (she does a mean dolphin, too).  Thirty days in, I am smack dab in the middle of a yarn web o’ love.

When I began this “a gift a day” project, I was mortified by the idea of appearing sanctimonious and self-aggrandizing.  While I can’t say that fear has completely dissipated, it is far less present with me than the fear that my gifts are never enough. Don’t worry, though, because I’ve got sixty more days to hammer that one out.

Oh, and on Day 30 I left a bottle of this delicious, sulfite-free red wine on my friend’s doorstep.  Her doctor told her to start drinking more red wine to raise her HDLs (lucky!), and she liked it when she had a glass at my house (they sell it at World Market, FYI).

I hope your day is brimming with gratitude, bursting with happiness, and tied up neatly in red, fuzzy yarn.  Thanks for showing up with me for the past thirty days, and I’ll raise my glass (well, coffee cup) to sixty more.

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