30 Days of Giving

A New Approach to New Year's Resolutions is Here

So often, I talk to students who make resolutions and there is one common thread year after year.  We are making the same resolutions.  So why not shift the focus a bit?  

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Spend thirty days focused entirely on how you give to yourself and to others.  Perhaps at the end of this time, we will have new perspective on our resolutions, our purpose, and our intentions.

While I am introducing it at the onset of 2014, we can choose to start this any moment we wake up to what is present.  I encourage you to do this with friends, share your experiences here in the comments section, and on my Facebook page. 

You can do this all privately or do this with a friend and have an accountability partner.  Social media comments and Video blogging are welcome!  #30DaysOfGiving  #Day1  #AlexDawsonYoga

Here's how it works.

FIRST TEN DAYS:  GIVE A GIFT TO YOURSELF!  

In order to help other people, we have to be willing to help ourselves.  Put the mask on your face before trying to help someone else, just as they teach us when we fly on airplanes as a safety precaution.  If you feel overwhelmed in your life, these first ten days are crucial.  Some may have an easier time with this one.  Enjoy.  Be creative.  Giving does not always equate a financial reward and certainly doesn't suggest racking up debt.  

Think outside the box.  What can you possibly give to yourself during this time that will help you grow or create more ease in your life?  For many people, the answer has to do with time.  As a yoga teacher, one of the most common reasons I find people coming to practice is to help with chronic stress.  It seems to be a fundamental condition of life, but it doesn't have to be.  Maybe there's a "better" way to say this, but here is a simple truth:  We can't get what we don't got.  So if you're wanting more things to come to you, learn how to do it for yourself.

SECOND TEN DAYS: GIVE A GIFT TO SOMEONE ELSE!

Now we enter into the second phase of giving where our focus is on how and what we could give to others.  This can include loved ones, colleagues, people you don't like very much, people you don't know, people who won't be able to do anything for you in return.  The dynamic of giving may include 

financial contributions, but remember: there are many ways to give.  Who is that person who reached out and needed a recommendation from you?  Who can you mentor?  What can you make for someone?  Who needs a ride to the airport?  (I know the "airport ride gift" may feel like it should count for two days, but it doesn't).  What single mom or dad do you know?  I bet they'd love a night off while you play with their kid.  Who can you listen to better?    What sword do you need to put down to open your heart to healing? 

THIRD TEN DAYS:  GIVE A GIFT TO SOMEONE ELSE...ANONYMOUSLY!

During this time, it is especially important to change

gears and keep the giving anonymous.  Keep it anonymous to the person and keep it anonymous to the world.  This time is about giving without ever being acknowledged for your actions.  It is about deepening true generosity.