Lara Simmons
From the Members

29 Gifts

Lara Simmons on September 8th, 2011 1 Comment

“Giving of any kind is taking a positive action that begins the process of change. It will shift your energy for life. —Mbali Creazzo from the book 29 Gifts: How a Month of Giving Can Change Your Life by Cami Walker

A couple of weeks ago I picked up a book that had been languishing on a shelf since a friend gave it to me for my birthday last year. It was one of those cases where the book looked really good, but when I read the first couple of pages it just didn’t grab me immediately, so I put it down and didn’t pick it up again.

When I picked it up this time, however, I read it straight through in two days. I was fascinated by Cami Walker’s story of living with MS and how a month of giving not only helped her feel better emotionally, it helped her feel better physically. Her condition actually improved as she shifted her focus from her illness to giving to others. What an amazing discovery!

As soon as I finished the book I immediately logged onto the 29 Gifts website and signed up to take the 29-Day Giving Challenge. Today is day 17 and although I don’t have any miraculous healings to report (yet!) the experience has been significant.

What I noticed first was a shift in how I felt about giving. I realized that although I am pretty good at giving generally, as I began to give consciously AND daily, my giving seemed to have more positive energy surrounding it. I can’t explain it, I only know that I felt a profound shift in how it FELT to give consciously.

The second thing that changed was how I view money. I grew up in a family whose attitude toward money could best be described as “conservative” (not that there’s anything wrong with that). Money is to be saved not spent (except when absolutely necessary) and once money goes into a savings account, it doesn’t come out. That is all very fine and good – and probably ideal for long-term goals like retirement and college – but I have trouble (and feel a bit nauseous) when I take money out of my vacation savings account TO GO ON VACATION. That’s just not right!

I have heard it said that money is just energy made tangible and this has started to make sense to me as I have worked on the giving project. As I give and put energy out there into the Universe, energy (money) comes back to me more easily and effortlessly. I have begun to think of money as more like waves on the ocean than a reservoir to be conserved and fenced in. Money ebbs and flows throughout our lives. Sometimes we are in a time of ebb and sometimes in a time of flow. It is absolutely necessary to be aware of which time you are in and to adjust your spending accordingly (and, of course, to save for times of severe ebb), but it is also necessary to flow sometimes – and to enjoy that vacation you have worked so hard to save for.

The third shift I have noticed is that I feel more generous in general as I go about my life. I do not balk when my husband asks for a bite of my salad and then proceeds to take six or seven more. I do not feel as disappointed when one of my kids wakes up early and comes into the living room to read with me during “my time” in the early morning. I do not feel burdened when someone hogs the conversational space. I am able to sit and listen with generous ears and wait for my turn to speak. I know that although in that moment I am in a space of salad, time and conversational “ebb”, the time to flow will certainly come. I trust in that now more than I did seventeen days ago.

I encourage you to read the book and to see for yourself! You can learn more at, where you can also read my giving blog. If you decide to do the challenge and are looking for your first gift, come into any Verity branch this month and make a donation to CU4KIDS. I’m heading out to the Wallingford Branch to make my gift later today!

Lara Simmons

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One Response

  1. Sasha says:

    What an inspirational person you are, Lara! How wonderful to put a focus on giving – and how lovely that you can recognize the positive energy that comes with it. Thank you, as well, for linking to my post about giving to CU4Kids and Children’s Miracle Network. They are angels among us. (Much like you!) 🙂

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