As the sun set on our a lovely day, this person stood on the beach and looked as if he was standing on the edge of a pathway…we are all on a journey and people may come and join us for parts of it, maybe change our course a bit, but at the end of the day, we are on our own.

Today’s affirmation:

Today I give with love.

Today is my brother-in-law’s birthday and my sister organized a surprise beach celebration. I LOVE birthdays and I LOVE surprise birthday celebrations. Which means I hate it when people spoil a surprise. I almost ruined everything on Thursday night, forgetting he was in the car and talking about having to walk with sunblock to the beach. Anyways, my sister passed it off as something else and we were able to successfully surprise him.

I chose today’s affirmation because I knew I would be around my family and some of my closest friends and I really wanted to be present in the moment. I wanted to tap into the love I knew would be all around me today and let it flow though me. We were also celebrating my little cousin’s success at the SEA he got his first choice school: Hillview College. So very proud of him.

There were many special moments during the course of the day that were treasures and I was being mindful of giving time and attention, which for me means love. I could count the time I spent with one of my friend’s son who is under-5 and wanted to play in the water while his Dad was playing football on the beach. We spent an hour playing in the shallow and I think I was more excited seeing him experience such a simple probably overlooked pleasure, than he was. His exclamation, “Ugh, SALTY!” when some water got into his mouth and his expression were priceless.

I could count the time and effort spent organising the day itself. I could count the whole day as a gift to myself, it was such lovely day in the sun. While all those moments or gifts are special, it was during a conversation I had with my friend Lucy, punch-drunk from the sun and sea that I realised what the day’s true gift was.

I met Lucy through a friend of a friend, who I saw in person only twice. It was such an accidental meeting but it stood out because he and I had different variations of the same name and his sister and I had the same name. Vernette is a pretty unusual name in Trinidad and I like to think the world over, so when I heard there was another Vernette in Trini as well, this was obviously a meant-to-be friendship.

He told me about 3 months ago that a friend of his was coming to Trinidad for a couple of months and he wanted me to meet her and spend some time with her while she was here. A Facebook friend request, BBM pin exchange and a couple of Skype calls later, Lucy and I were hitting it off. Excitement was brewing on both sides of the world as she prepared to leave London for the Caribbean. When she arrived and we met in person…we were already friends.

Lucy and I being friends, is from a series of events that had any one thing been different it could just as easily not have happened. Our journeys on this earth are really the result of the choices we make. The choices we been making our whole lives, led us to the moment on a beach in Trinidad, brown from the sun, mellow from beer and a good curry (my Aunty really put her foot in that pot, I’m still licking my fingers) sharing about an experience we were going through unbeknown to the other.

And that was it. That was my gift. That honest, open sharing about that experience was my gift. You know that saying, “people come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime” I always think it sounds cliché but it’s true. Our paths touched at a time when we both needed to hear about each other’s story. It’s hard sometimes to just be in the moment and trust that you are right where you are supposed to be, that everything is happening just as it is supposed to and that you will be ok. But, that is exactly what it is about. Timing is everything.

    Bad things, good things, sad things, great things: Stop. Breathe. Breathe again. Bless it. Learn from it. Start again.

Today’s Affirmation:

Today I give with abundance.

I chose to stick with the same affirmation as yesterday, because giving from a place of “enough” can be sometimes hard for me. I’m also realising that my days are pretty routine and finding opportunities to give mindfully will require some creativity.

I do pretty much the same thing every week day. Work, then home. Gym fits in there as well but it all happens in my office building. Today, however, I chose to skip my lunchtime work-out and take a walk outside for lunch. Before I left however, I repeated my affirmation.

Now, I live on an island. Leaving the respite of an air-conditioned office to brave the midday heat is an effort that should be given awards I think. Anyways, I’m trying to be more present, looking for opportunities to give, hoping that this lunchtime walk will be fruitful. I said my affirmation again.

I got what I needed and had $3 dollars change left. I walked most of the way back to the office, with a girl-friend of mine. We were so engrossed in the conversation that I forgot that I was trying to be present in this walk, looking for an opportunity to give.

Just as I got to my building, there was an old guy begging. I actually passed him, because I was still yapping my head off, then I remembered the $3. I had a huge smile on my face when I walked back to him and gave him the $3.

Thank you to All things good for giving me the opportunity to give yesterday. Because the rest of the day went pretty much as it always does. Work, then home.

I started today with an affirmation:

Today I give from abundance.

I chose this affirmation to start my 29-Gifts journey because I have a seriously dysfunctional relationship with money. It pervades other areas of my life as well and even though, I know the gifts do not have to be monetary, it was the concept of enough I am trying to get comfortable with. I need to accept that I have enough of everything, right here and now, enough, to share with another.

All day, I was looking for an opportunity to give a gift, not knowing what that gift would be. I felt that I would just know it in my spirit. I truly was beginning to despair by the time I got home from work, thinking that I would have no more opportunities to give a gift. This meant I would have to start all over tomorrow, Day 1 part deux.

Got home from work and decided to fix something to eat. The menu: Stuffed Pasta Shells (I’ll post the simple recipe soon) I made enough for just two servings: dinner and lunch tomorrow. I had my dinner. Then my sister called to say she was on her way home from work and she was going to pass to drop something off. It just came to me to give her the gift of a meal.

Now I’d like to say here, that on any other day, I’d have offered dinner to my sister. But today was different. I was being mindful of the act of giving her a delicious meal because I knew she had worked late and would be hungry.

As for lunch tomorrow, I’m not going to worry about it. I’m going to trust that there is enough for me and I will have something to eat.

• Set a start date to begin
• Start each Day with a short meditation about your purpose. Be clear. If your intentions are vague or the energy is half-hearted your experience will mirror that

Consider beginning each day of your challenge with an affirmation:
• Today I give with gratitude
• Today I give with abundance
• Today I give with joy
• Today I give with love

Your gifts can be anything offered to anyone, small, intangible or big:
• spare change
• cans of soup
• your time
• kind words
• Anything you mindfully offer to another person.

Please remember:
• Don’t give from obligation guilt or resentment
• Write about your experiences daily in a journal or you can go to to create an online journal and share your experience with other givers.

The idea for my blog title came from something I wrote about my mother in her eulogy. My mother lived out loud. One of my favourite memories of her is that she loved to sing. SHE. LOVED. IT. She would sing while she worked, sometimes the song didn’t have real words, or it would be words she made up but it was a song nonetheless. She sang out loud and lustily in church so much so, sometimes it got downright embarrassing and many times I thought she was singing her troubles away.

I cant sing very well but I do want to live out loud.

Recently though, I’ve been restless. It kept coming back to me. This cannot be it. This is not the life you are meant to be leading. Over and over. Unrest, sleepless nights. I reasoned it away, thinking it’s my hormones, maybe they’re out of whack, maybe I need vitamins or I need to do more yoga. Yes I do need to take vitamins and definitely do more yoga but that was not the reason behind this overwhelming feeling that there more, that I was more than this. I am more than this job. I am more than this desk I am more than this building…this uniform. And the fact that I look at what I do every day as simply a job and nothing more…is not the way I want to live this life. As my friend put it, I was waiting for the “jump off to be sure” before I leapt. But sadly that’s not how it works. Change is always a risk, but the alternative: stagnation is unbearable. I’m going to have to leap soon…

I want to live. I don’t want to merely exist, which is how I feel between the hours of 8-4 everyday. I feel alive, when I’m doing everything else but what I currently get paid to do. Time for change.

What is it you enjoy doing? Then that’s what you should be doing. It really is that simple.

I decided to do the 29 days of giving not just to free up some energy in my life and to turn my focus outward, get out of my head and maybe out of my own way for a bit. But also as a way to commit to writing about this journey for 29 days. I’m about to embark on this adventure in giving just in time for a new year of life. My hope is that a year from now I’d look back on this “excited by possibility yet afraid of the unknown” phase as the beginning of the rest of a life truly lived.

You feel me?