Posted by: sistermom1 | October 27, 2009

29 Gifts

My buddhist practice has taught me that the universe often brings you exactly what you need to hear/see.  You just need to be paying attention.  I experienced this yesterday when I heard Cami Wallace on The Today Show.  She made a huge impression on me. 

At the age of 32, one month after getting married, Cami was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis.  Initially not very problematic, the disease progressed quickly and within 2 years, she was unable to walk unassisted, and her husband had to take complete care of her – putting their marriage under great stress.  If you have read other posts on this blog (please do while you are here!), you know that my experience parallels Cami’s, so I could really relate to her. 

I believe that one unique thing about having an auto-immune disease like MS, lupus, or rheumatoid arthritis is that the treatment really forces you to be self-involved – often to the point where some might call extreme.  This is because your body is at odds with itself – unlike other conditions, there is no real “culprit” or “enemy” to point to or blame, as your immune system is supposed to be there – it just functions differently than expected and no doctor can explain why.  To put it bluntly, it just is what it is – and there is not much you can do about it.  This reality ends up making you  focus on yourself – how you feel, what is happening with you at every moment of the day.  Taken to an extreme, this can make you completely self-involved and highly negative about the reality that you face.  Not much room left for giving to other people.

Now back to Cami’s experience.  During a discussion with a spiritual advisor, she was given a prescription to perform 29 acts of giving – one every day for 29 days.  Something to take her outside of her own life and focus on other people rather than on her complaining nature [my words, not hers].  What happened as a result of this efforts was amazing.  Within 14 days, she was able to walk without using a cane!  By the end of the 29 days the doctors could not find evidence of the brain lesions typical with MS on 3 separate MRIs.  It seems that her MS was in remission, and still is.  She is on disease-modifying drugs, but the only thing that she did differently was add this challenge to her life.  Not only that, she wrote a book about the process and started a worldwide giving movement (www.29gifts.org) That site is amazing, productive and creating so much value every day – PLEASE check it out (No. I am not a compensated spokesperson, but I did join the movement yesterday, starting my 29-day giving challenge.)

I will let you know how the next 29 days goes for me.  I am on Day 2 and really loving the challenge!

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