29 Gifts Book Launch Party


Saturday was my friend Cami Walker‘s book launch party for her New York Times bestseller 29 Gifts: How a Month of Giving Can Change Your Life.  At the event, her spiritual guide Mbali Creazzo, who gave her the 29 gifts prescription, shared some words of wisdom and her mediation teacher Angel Stork led us in a visualization.  Then Cami read us one of her favorite chapters about the gift she gave to her grandmother.


The 29 Gifts Boutique launched at the party, too.  The booth was brimming with so many inspiring goodies including this mandala print by Eileen Bradley of Sacred Circle Art.  The online store will be up soon, so check the 29gifts site for more info.


Here’s my sweet friend Kate Prentiss who designed many of the darling gifts in the boutique including the handmade ceramic birds and a gorgeous giving journal where you can document your daily gives.


It was so great to see Cami and catch up with good friends.  And most of all, it was very uplifting to see the amazing, positive impact of this worldwide giving movement that has now reached 38 countries and nearly 7,000 givers!

P.S. – You can see more of my photos from the event here.

29 Gifts – Join the Giving Challenge

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This morning my friend Cami Walker, author of the new book 29 Gifts, was interviewed on the Today Show.  Her story about how a month of giving changed her life is super inspiring, as is her fabulous book which I finished reading last week.

I participated in her 29-Day Giving Challenge last spring and got a lot out of it.  It was fun to find creative ways to give gifts of all kinds (from flowers to feedback) and more importantly to be part of this positive movement.  If you haven’t joined yet, why not give it a try?  It could be a great challenge/structure for doing NaBloPoMo, which starts in November.

For those of you in San Francisco, Cami is hosting a book launch party on Saturday, November 14th. Hope to see you there!

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

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October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a cause that has hit close to home.   I’ve lost an aunt to this disease while my mom, another aunt, one of my cousins and my sister-in-law are all survivors.  Fortunately, these strong ladies are all doing well.

I was excited to find out that the 29 Gifts cause of the month is to support breast cancer survivor Elysia Skye. Elysia was diagnosed with stage III breast cancer soon after her 24th birthday.   Throughout this ordeal, Elysia shows her strength and humor.  One of her mantras is “Die From Laughing. Not From Cancer,” which she has emblazoned on t-shirts for sale to benefit her cause.

She needs to raise a total of $30,000 for a necessary surgery.  Please join me in donating to Elysia’s surgery fund at elysiaskye.org. Checks can also be mailed to: Elysia Skye Breast Cancer Organization * PO Box 4573 * Valley Village, CA 91617.

Thank you to Cami and 29 Gifts for letting us know about Elysia’s story.  If you haven’t started the 29 Day Giving Challenge yet, please consider doing so.  With the tough times we’re facing in our world right now, it’s movements like this that can help sustain and promote hope and goodwill.  Also, Cami recently landed a book deal and is looking for story submissions.  What a great opportunity to spread the giving love.

Below, I’ve posted a few photos from the three Breast Cancer 3-Day walks I’ve done over the years.

During the very first Avon Breast Cancer 3-Day Walk in 1998, I walked 60-miles from Santa Barbara to Malibu with USC Annenberg grad school friends Shanti, Karen and Toni.

The 2000 San Jose to San Francisco 3-Day Breast Cancer Walk with friends Heather and Deb.

Brian and I walked together in honor of my mom in 2002.  Each walk was truly an amazing and inspiring experience.  If you’d like to take steps in the fight against breast cancer, check out the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer or the Breast Cancer 3-Day benefiting Susan G. Komen for the Cure to find a fundraising walk near you.

What causes are close to your heart?  How do you show your support?  I’d love to hear your story.

Fresh Start


This week was all about starting anew. My schedule had been off kilter ever since getting back from my London trip. My parents came for a nice visit the weekend following and then my dear friend Brighid from Chicago came to stay after that. And then I got a not-so-fun-visit from the stomach flu bug. Yuck! Even though being sick sucked, I eventually allowed myself to enjoy simply lounging around and doing nothing. Well, nothing except sleeping, reading, catching up on my Martha’s and Oprah’s on TiVo and munching on the occasional saltine cracker.

There was something surprisingly refreshing about canceling my appointments for the week and just focusing on rest and relaxation. I rarely allow myself to indulge in a big chunk of “me-time” like that except for when I’m officially on a vacation. Once I regained my health, I felt energized and ready to reclaim my time and space. My take-away: schedule in an “unofficial week-long home vacation” every now and then. They cost nothing and the rewards are priceless!

This week, I ritualized my fresh start by:

  • Doing tons of laundry – gotta love the feeling of fresh new sheets and towels (especially after having been cooped up in bed for most of last week!)
  • Obsessively cleaning my desk, my bedroom and the kitchen
  • Putting the inflatable bed away to transform the guestroom back into the sacred space of my meditation/yoga/coaching room
  • Finally catching up on my bookkeeping – yay!!! (had been many months behind with reconciling and was feeling blocked financially)
  • Practicing yoga in my backyard on Monday
  • Whipping out a brand new toothbrush and switching the flavor of my toothpaste (ahh, the simple pleasures)
  • Taking a hike in the redwood trails near my house with my friend Kate and my dog Emmett
  • Creating a visual timeline for my creative endeavors (see picture above)
  • Updating my quarterly business goals
  • Finally posting about my last week of the 29-Day Giving Challenge
  • Returning to my blog!

Whew, I feel back in the land of the living again and it feels great! I’m motivated to work on my creative projects while also giving myself time throughout the week to have mini-vacations.

How do you reclaim your time and space? What would a fresh start give you?

More Giving!

I’ve been so behind with posting about my 29-day giving challenge. There’s been lots of stuff going on – mostly good and some bad/frustrating. I noticed that after getting in my car accident on lucky number Day 13 (see below), I was feeling a little stuck with the giving. I think that I’m in a better place now and I believe being committed to keep on giving even in the smallest of ways that has helped me move on.

Here’s a recap of the past week:

  • Day 13: Gave emotional support to a woman I got in a fender bender with in the city. I got rear ended and she was sandwiched between me and the third car that hit her. No one was injured, so that was good. Her car was totaled, though, and she was very distraught. We’ve exchanged a few e-mails since then and she was very grateful for the concern and help I provided her. We’ve since found out the the driver who caused the accident (and the car’s owner are both not insured, so it’s been a bit frustrating dealing with the extra hassle). I’ve had to also practice not going into blame mode and instead to try to forgive and show compassion. This “crash course” in giving has definitely been one of the more powerful gives so far!
  • Day 14: Gave resources/book recommendations to a wedding photographer friend of Brian’s who just moved to the area.
  • Day 15: A client from the city came over for an in-person Right-Brain Business Plan session and since she doesn’t own a car, I picked her up and took her back to the BART station.
  • Day 16: Brian’s neck was bothering him so I heated up my neck wrap and lent it to him.
  • Day 17: Walked with Sonja, Sandy and the crew of dogs. She thanked me for the cookies from last week and said she very much enjoyed them.
  • Day 18: Invited my friend Anne to join me as a guest at our Oakland Ladies Who Launch member meeting and drove her to and from.
  • Day 19: Called my cousin Karen to wish her happy birthday, had a wonderful conversation with my friend Katie and brainstormed ideas for a possible business concept she has (very exciting!) and donated several bags of stuff to Goodwill.
  • Day 20: Wrote thank you cards to Laura for lending her Creative Action Center space for our Ladies Who Launch meeting and to Reese for being our fantastic guest speaker on Thursday.
  • Day 21: Spent half the day with the SF Coaches Board visioning what we want our organization to be this year and beyond. Was fun to dream up big ideas for the impact we want to make on the profession and in the world at large! I also brought my iPod and some speakers so we could have some lively and inspiring music on our breaks. That’s us below!


The Giving Continues…


I’ve been posting about my daily gives directly on my page on the 29-Day Giving Challenge site. More of my insights are included there. If haven’t joined the challenge yet, I recommend giving it a try. It’s fun and doesn’t have to be a big to do. And yet, there’s so much power in the act of simply giving.

Anyway, here’s a quick recap of what I’ve given over the past week or so.

  • Day 6: Picked up my friend Fiona from her training, drove us to the city for some shopping and then saw her off at the airport.
  • Day 7: Baked some cookies and left them in my neighbor’s mailbox. She’s always giving doggie treats (she calls them cookies) to Emmett, so I thought it would be nice to give her some cookies, too.
  • Day 8: Gave a client an extra copy I had of the book Money Magic.
  • Day 9: Lent money on kiva.org to a Cambodian family so they could buy supplies for their art business.
  • Day 10: Put a surprise gift in a package of business materials that I had to send to a friend.
  • Day 11: Signed up for a widget that helps to track and offset my online carbon footprint on my site. My small way of giving back to the environment.
  • Day 12: Picked cala lilies from my garden and gave them to my friend along with an inspirational book.

Give a Little Bit

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Cami Walker of Creative Urge recently kicked off a new and meaningful challenge – the 29-Day Giving Challenge. Cami is uber-talented and also highly spiritual and intuitive. And her own story is really inspiring. Find out what spurred her to create and share this challenge. I began the challenge on 3/31. Here’s a recap of my first five days of the giving challenge:

  • Day One: Gifted one of my handmade Wish Boxes to Kate Prentiss for doing such an awesome job on my soon-to-be-ready brochure!
  • Day Two: My friend Fiona from London is in town. I picked her up from the airport and she crashed at my place before going to a training session in the morning. (So excited that I get to hang out with her Saturday afternoon when she’s done! And in London in a few weeks when I go to visit her!)
  • Day Three: Did a volunteer coaching call with Yessica, a client from C.E.O. Women.
  • Day Four: Volunteered my voice for Aurora Medina’s Plenty of Money meditation.
  • Day Five: Donated to Alison Ekizian’s AIDS Ride campaign.

In my work I feel like I naturally give a lot – a lot of support, encouragement, intense listening, resources, etc. I also love giving gifts, especially handmade ones. And I volunteer my time and money to causes that are important to me. This challenge, though, is helping me to expand what it means to give. And I hate to admit it but I’m noticing where I have resistance to giving (usually when it’s “inconvenient” for me or if I’m feeling strapped financially – see last post). What I love about the message from Cami and this challenge is that truly giving helps us get out of our own “stuff” and shifts the energy outward. Yes, there are times when it’s good to give to ourselves (I took a self-care day for myself today) AND that doesn’t mean we still can’t give to others. It’s not an either/or. I’m realizing I make it an either/or when I’ve pushed myself to the limit and I don’t have reserves left. So, my challenge to myself is to continue giving in some form even when I feel like I need to retreat. As Cami suggests, you can give anything – a material object, time, money, a kind word, a smile or even just positive energy. The key is to do it with intention. I look forward to discovering more insights during this challenge. And I’m excited to get creative about how else I can give.

Cami’s goal is to inspire at least 2,000 people to commit to the 29-Day Giving Challenge by 9/29/08. Won’t you join us? Spreading the word is one way to give!

P.S. – here’s a theme song to get you on your way… “Give a Little Bit” by the Goo Goo Dolls.