Books, Everyday

29 Gifts

29 Gifts:  How a Month of Giving can Change your Life by Cami Walker

  • Self help/Memoir
  • © 2009
  • 226 pages
  • Personal rating 4/5 stars
  • Website for 29 gifts challenge

Cami Walker’s book will make you want to get up and find someone to share a gift with.  This was the feeling I got when I was only on day 4 of the 29 days of giving.  I literally had tears in my eyes and my heart opened up to the idea of joining this wonderful challenge myself.

Cami starts off the book in a rather desperate state of mind.  Only in her mid-30s, she has been battling with MS for some time now and it has taken a turn for the worst.  She is in pain all the time.  She depends on her newly married husband for almost everything and is depressed that she doesn’t feel like a part of society any longer because she doesn’t have the strength to work like she used to.  But all that starts to change when she has a meeting with her spiritual guide Mbali Creazzo.  Mbali is originally from South Africa, moved to England when she was a child and now resides in Oakland, CA and works as a spiritual healer.  She was Cami’s next-door neighbor and wound up being her lifesaver.  When Mbali prescribed the 29 Gifts challenge (an African ritual) to Cami a whole new way of life opened up before her.

The 29 Gifts challenge was simply giving a gift, selflessly and effortlessly, for a 29 day span.  If you forgot a day or if you had to put too much thought into what to give or to whom, you had to start over at day 1.  The gifts did not have to be physical objects but did have to come from a place of love and kindness.  Also in order to deepen the connection, the giver is to journal about each day’s gifts and experiences.

Each chapter in the book covers a new day.  As more days of giving go by, Cami starts to understand why such a challenge was presented to her.  Things begin to change in her life.  Her health, her relationship with others and just her overall wellbeing begins to transform.

I really enjoyed this book and immediately wanted to learn more about the challenge through Cami’s website.  It’s contents make you look at life and the people you share everyday with (strangers or loved ones) in a different light.  And it goes a little deeper into the idea that the universe with provide for you if you open up to it and embrace it selflessly.  I highly recommend it to everyone and anyone.  Of course a person facing a difficult time in their life would seem like the ideal reader but honestly we all could learn something from simple, random acts of kindness.

 

 

 

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Books, Everyday

You are a Badass

You are a Badass:  How to stop doubting your greatness and start living an awesome life by Jen Sincero

  • Self help
  • © 2013
  • 254 pages
  • Personal rating 3.5/5 stars

To be honest I can’t remember where or how I found this book.  It might have been suggested to me based off of other books I had purchased or it may have been cited in another book I read.  I have read a lot of self-help books over the years.  Not because I am a hot mess, but let’s face it, we could all use a little help when it comes to growing into the best known version of ourselves.  Many of us walk around with fear and self-doubt, day in and day out.  Plus I have always been fascinated with the mind and psychology in general.

I think the thing that did grab me most about the book was the title itself.  It made me think, “well this Jen Sincero person talks like someone I could relate to”.  And Jen does a great job of being just that all throughout the book.  She takes the psychology out of self-help and talks to the reader at a level that they will respect, understand and sometimes laugh out loud at.  She refers to the Ego as the “Big Snooze or BS” and spirituality as the “Source Energy”.  Jen does refer to the “Universe” in away that reminds me of the book The Secret by Rhonda Byrne but in a rough around the edges sort of way.

Basically we are all in control of our own lives and our own destinies but it is also up to us to get off our asses and get ahold of our subconscious mind because it’s what truly runs the show called our life.  She reminds the reader that we are all human and that as humans we all want to strive to be the best we can be and that what we have learned in our childhoods may not be who we really want to be.  Not that your parents and peers meant you any harm, but that they too were raised and experienced life with unrealistic thoughts full of fear, self-centeredness, and BS.

Jen has the book broken down into 5 parts and each one goes over very important roles and steps that need to take place in order to reach our full, badass, potential.  She explains how we became the way we currently are and how to deal with and defeat fear and self loathing thoughts and actions.  At the beginning of each chapter she has a line or two from a famous person, leader, or guru and she lists what they are known for and how she, herself, perceives them.

Jen provides steps and exercises to learn and practice in everyday life.  She also highlights some of the key ideas to grasp from each chapter.  Here is an example of one of the exercises I found assuming and very easy to grasp:

“Right now, look around wherever you are and count the number of things you see that are red.  Take about a minute and count them all.  Now stop, look back at this page without taking your eyes off of it, and try to think of everything around you that’s yellow.  There’s probably a ton of yellow, but you didn’t see it because you were looking for red.” page 136-137

Jen also reminds the reader, that above anything else that you could read or learn from her book is, to always love yourself.  She closes almost every chapter with that reminder and a little passage that relates back to the chapter you just finished.

I gave the book 3.5 stars because it was one of the better self-help books I have read, but it did go over a lot of the things that I have already read.  I would recommend it to a first time, self-help reader as oppose to someone who has taken any classes, been to any seminars or read a good deal about it before.  It would also be a good read for someone looking for guidance but not in a “fluffy bunny, it’s going to be a bright sunny day” way.

 

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