Play it Forward: A Giving Game

I had a rather magical experience the last time I took myself on an overnight retreat to a wonderful one-room cabin that’s my go-to getaway. It was as if Life had planned a scavenger hunt of joy for me – a play-along game!

I wrote about that experience last month here on our beloved Kind Over Matter website. If you haven’t yet read that piece, I hope you will pop over and do so now! But here’s a quick summary: At the cabin, I kept finding gifts that I had previously left for other people. I felt the giddy joy of receiving, as well as having given. I was profoundly moved by the simplicity of creating happiness in this way – for myself first, then for others.

At the end of the article I invited you to join me in this game of “Playing it Forward” and to leave a comment about what you did and how it felt. I know it was the holiday season and a busy time for most people. Also, some folks weren’t quite sure how to play or what to do.

I decided to delve a bit deeper in this month’s article and to re-encourage you to play along! It’s the new year, after all, and January can be kind of ho-hum. Some play is definitely called for!

So, here’s what I know: This Giving Game is a surefire path to feeling greater energy, joy and connection. It is simple and inexpensive. It is life affirming, healthy and is a direct line to the sweetness of life.

Here’s what else I know: Most of us forget all about how easy and joyful the Giving Game is. We think we’re too busy. We forget that it really does work. We shrug our collective shoulders and think, “Been there; done that.” when this is a game we can play every day in brand new ways. We let ourselves get talked out of this game because we forget that Monkey Mind is not on our side; it doesn’t like joy or connection.

My challenge to you is this: Set the intention to spend just 15 minutes right now on playing it forward with the Giving Game. Don’t let yourself put it off or get talked out of it. Choose what you are going to do, do it right away or schedule it on your calendar for some time in the next 12 hours, then DO IT.

Don’t wait. This is important. I promise you, 100%, that this game will bring you greater joy. AND…when you post what you played it will inspire other people and make them feel good. I know that for sure.

Here are a few easy ideas for playing this Giving Game:

  • Send a note to someone in your life and tell them one thing you truly appreciate/love about them. Encourage them to play it forward by sending a note to someone they love and doing the same thing.
  • Find and print an old photo of yourself with a group of high school or college buddies. Send the photo via snail mail in a greeting card to one of the friends in the photo. Ask them to enjoy the photo and then mail it to someone else in the photo. (Alternatively, you could print out as many copies of the photo as there are people in the photo and send all of them to the first person, who then sends all but one to the next person, and so on.)
  • Buy an inspirational book that you love. Put a sticky note inside the book on a page that deeply moves you. Write a sentence or two about how it affected you. Then send that book to someone and ask them to read it, also put a sticky note on a part they love and then pass it on.
  • Make some art and hide it in a public place for people to find and enjoy. Include a note with your art inviting the finder to hide their own art for someone to discover.
  • Send $10 or $20 to someone. Invite them to use that money to donate to a charity that is important to them. Invite them to send a note to someone else and to include money for that person to donate. Include a big sheet of paper that can be passed along with each note telling about the charities you each have donated to.
  • Purchase three $5 gift cards at your local coffee shop or muffin shop. Ask the store owner if she would be willing to give those cards to a random customer, inviting that person to treat themselves with one of the gift cards and then to pass the others on to someone else, with the invitation to that person to use one and pass one along.

I hope you’ll join in the Giving Game by trying any of these ideas or coming up with your own. Then post your comments here!

At the end of January I’ll put the names of anyone who participated in a hat (literally!) and draw one person to win a prize. That way I can keep the game in play! (You’ll see what I mean when you read the piece!)

Winning the prize is not the real prize, though. Playing is.

See you in the game!!!

Sherry’s mission is helping people find creative, intentional and impactful ways to celebrate life and to express love for family and friends. Visit her website or email her to say hello at Sherry@simplycelebrate.net. Sherry’s book, “Say it Now; 33 Creative Ways to Say I Love You to the Most Important People in Your Life,” is now available on Amazon.

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