My 30th birthday was less than 2 months ago and I rang in my newest year in the best way I knew how: with my family and friends! I handed Zyan over to my momma for the evening as we headed out to listen to local bands and drink tequila, dancing into the night as I sang alongside the people who bring me the most joy.
I couldn’t have been happier.
But you know me, and you probably know that wasn’t the ONLY way I celebrated. I decided about a month prior that I needed to do something BIG in order to give back. I took the month of November to create a project called #Dirty30Namaste. I asked for volunteers for my mystery birthday gifts and got 30 folks to play along. My idea was to send 30 “tasks” that folks could complete in order to help me spread the idea of paying it forward. As a thank you, everyone received some kind of gift from me and they were all asked to share their experience. I’ve heard from so many individuals and was looking for the perfect time to put it all on the blog.
This month I’m doing a sadhana on the Yamas & Niyamas and today is aparigraha. I thought it was the perfect time to present #Dirty30Namaste, a day where I’m suppose to practice greedlessness. Hopefully it’ll encourage YOU to get out and give back!!
Some of the tasks were simple: buy a cup of coffee for someone in line, pay a meter, bring used blankets to the dog shelter. Others were MUCH more intense: fill an empty purse with travel sized personal items and gift to a homeless woman, give blood! The smaller tasks were mostly given at random, whereas my bigger tasks were gifted to great friends who I knew would carry through in giving THAT much of themselves.
As the hashtag started showing up on social media and the letters and emails starting pouring through, I knew I couldn’t have asked for a better birthday gift.
The most wonderful part of the project was that some folks went ABOVE and beyond my simple task and made it a project of their own. I was so blessed to continuously receive these messages and am happy to share them with you today!
“Good evening, Jenny. Your baby boy is simply adorable. I wanted to let you know that I did get your birthday card…with the suggestion to reach out and get blankets or something for a humane society and dogs there. I have to say that I did not do that. I did something else….” – Peggy went on to explain a beautiful Christmas miracle story of a dog whose life was saved 7 years ago this Christmas. She then went on to say that she wanted to start an organization called Christmas Coal that would help others with their veterinary costs. In true “big magic” form, someone has gotten there first and created a similar GoFundMe account for a mutual friend that Peggy was hoping to fund first. The idea is milling about the universe for Peggy and in the meantime, she donated a sum to this organization instead of donating blankets! I loved this idea so very much and am happy she’s helping a family and their beloved pup.
The Gift of Life
“Just got your card with my task in the mail! You so picked the right one for me as this is something I need to do more often! I am O negative (universal donor) which means anyone can receive my blood but us o neg types can ONLY receive it, so they use it for trauma victims especially when they don’t have time to type the blood. Thank you dear Jenny! I love the way you are celebrating your new decade! Most of all thanks for trusting me with this very meaningful task.” – Connie
Jody was unable to give blood for medical reasons, so I re-tasked her the homeless woman project and was overjoyed to do so!! I asked her to find a purse and fill it with travel sized toiletry items that someone could use: toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner etc. I then told her to gift this purse full of goodies to someone she passed by who needed it. Love sweet love. She was so happy with her “new” task!
Many folks were asked to give money to meters, one of my simpler tasks and yet still meaningful.
“My amazing yogalicious friend Jenny Ravikumar gave me a pay it forward assignment. Today was the perfect opportunity to complete the assignment parking in Copley with the car parked in front of me whose meter had just ran out.
Your birthday wish was granted! xoxo” – Webly
Jennifer got there a few days later and realized she’d need to wait yet one more day! Holiday love from the meter Gods pushed her back, but have no fear – she gave the next day.
Many more were tasked with buying coffee, one of the ultimate favorites in paying it forward.
“My Facebook friend Jenny Ravikumar gave me a pay it forward assignment. I purchased a drink for the person behind me in line and it happened to be a hard working barista that had a day off! Another birthday wish was granted Jenny. xoxo” – Kimberly
And my amazing friend Karla who always gives with her whole heart, decided to go even further:
”#dirty30namaste mission accomplished! My fellow Yogi and friend Jenny Ravikumar turned 30 last month. To celebrate, she enlisted 30 friends to help share the love with random acts of kindness. She gave me a Starbucks gift card to give away. This morning I gave away 3 in honor of her 3 decades of life. I gave the recipients little thank you notes and asked them to share with the others in line if they could and to have a happy Friday!!!”
Another favorite task of mine I gave was the gift of love. Some of my friends are healers, yogis and work with all sorts of beautiful magic. I asked them to give their service to someone as a gift of gratitude. As I said, everyone got some kind of gift to keep and this story is super cool!!
“Special snail mail delivery just made my day. @jennyravikumar I can’t wait to pay it forward for your #dirty30namaste celebration. I have my sights on a special prenatal yoga sesh with a sweetie who deserves it and so much more. Oh, and I scored $4 on the lotto ticket! Whoop whoop!!!”
I am so lucky to have these kinds of friends and people in my life. I’ve truly made it a habit to keep only GREAT people in my tribe and want to send this love to Zyan. My goal in life is to give and teach love as frequently as I can, and I hope that this extends to my son as I live my life. I want him to see how wonderful the world can be. Yes we do have bad things happening around us and the world isn’t the most peaceful at the moment – but there are still OMazing people in it who we walk beside every day.
Continue to be that example of love & light for the rest of the world. Spread your own love.
Get out there – do yoga and make life sparkle!