Imagine you are going about your day, minding your own business, doing what you normally do here, there and far away. Imagine noticing something out of the corner of your eye, a package in a brown paper bag with the words "This is a gift for YOU" written on it. Would you know that the YOU in that message was YOU? Would you dare accept a gift from a total stranger left on the windshield of your car, in your bicycle basket or on a bus bench?
This is my experiment, an exploration of gratitude, of sharing a gift in every sense of the word.
This project began on Thursday, April 9, 2009 with four books left on the UCLA campus and will continue until 100 books have been given away, left here and there from Tokyo to Washington, DC. Each book is signed, numbered and explained on the second page of the book:
"Greetings! Did you read the note on the outside of the bag?
This is a gift for you. My name is Christine and this is my creation - you are holding a dream made real. I have received many gifts along the journey of bringing this book to life, and as an expression of my gratitude, I am sending 100 copies of my book out into the world - leaving them here and there, from Tokyo to Washington, DC.
If you feel inspired, I would love to know who you are, where you found the book and anything else you'd like to share about the experience of receiving this gift. You can email me here: firstname.lastname@example.org.
No matter what, I hope you enjoy it. Blessings...Christine Mason Miller"
I was inspired to do this for many reasons, most especially a book called The Gift: How the Creative Spirit Transforms the World by Lewis Hyde. I picked up this book in Wellington, New Zealand, and by the time my plane landed back in Los Angeles, this idea was born. I will write about the ideas expressed in this book throughout the course of this project, but for now I will begin by sharing this quote: "...we come alive when we give away what has been received."
In other words, I have received a tremendous gift in the form of my creative talents, and in the pursuit and expression of these talents I have shared these gifts with the world. Throughout all of these endeavors, I have, in turn, received many gifts along the way in the form of support, encouragement and acknowledgement, and this is one way for me to continue sharing, expanding and paying forward these gifts.
It has begun...