Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Nurture Project

So I'm sitting at the kitchen table after dinner with my sister and brother-in-law. We're talking about so-and-so who is going through a tough time, and so-and-so who is also going through a tough time. And that's when we started talking about the Nurture Project.

Drum roll please...

The Nurture Project is when you pick a person that needs a little nurturing and you nurture them. Pretty simple stuff. There is only one rule: You can't tell them. It's a big fat secret.

If they knew they were officially being nurtured, they may feel like a charity case. Nobody wants that.

Even though you can't tell the person, you can tell your Nurture Project Circle, which happens to be my sister and my brother-in-law. It's good to have compadres along the way to get ideas on how to nurture your recipient, and better yet, brag about how well it's working and how good it feels. Because it does and it does.

There at the table, I said a name, my sister said a name and my brother-in-law said a name.

It was a holy moment. 

Three people are getting doused in our loving kindness this year, but I'm not going to tell you who because that'll just ruin it for everyone.

If doing a Nurture Project sounds like a rockin' good time to you, keep these tips in mind...

9 tips on nurturing your Nurture Project recipient:
  1. Send good vibes. In church, they'd call this prayer. In Spiritual Psychology, they call this Light. At Agape, they call it Love. Call it what you will. It's sending good vibes to your recipient.
  2. Send cards and letters. I love doing this anyway. I just do it more often. And how nice is it to get a card in the mail? Read more about the impact of handwritten notes here.
  3. Text, call, or even Like their stuff on Facebook. Just stay connected in a few of the thousand easy ways there is to do so. You can even nurture them by leaving comments on their blog. *Hint*
  4. Do it for a year. If you flood them with attention all in one month, they might think you're stalking them. Nurturing for a full year also means you can see their progress. The Universe gives feedback. Someone will secretly tell you how they secretly told them how great it feels to get your missives in the mail. Stuff like that. It's awesome.
  5. Keep their mailing address on hand. So simple, but if you send out Christmas cards, you know how monumental the task of sending a card can be if you don't have the mailing address.
  6. Replace your New Year's Resolution with a Nurture Project. It's a heck of a lot more fun. It takes me out of myself and my own ego. It makes me kinder and happier than I would be if I were just pushing myself to drop 10 pounds or some other inane punishable New Year's task. 
  7. Stay somewhat organized. Just like a New Year's Resolution, it's easy to forget about it two weeks in. I try to make note of when I've sent a letter. You'd be surprised at how much time goes by if you don't keep track. I've tried to send out a letter on the 1st of the month but I forget unless it's on my calendar.
  8. The Nurture Project is meant to be fun. If it's not fun or if you ever feel like you're doing so much for this person and not feeling positive vibes PULL OUT OF THE PROJECT and find someone you want to nurture just because it feels good.
  9. Be open to miracles. Trust me on this. 
The Nurture Project is nothing new. Church ladies have been doing it for ages but calling it Prayer Groups. The Catholic Woman's League in my hometown has a Secret Pal project. They pick a name out of a hat at the annual Christmas party with a person's name, address, birthday and anniversary. The nurturer sends cards on these special days but often throws in a few other cards and gifts throughout the year. At the Christmas party the next year, your Secret Pal is revealed. Then you pick a name for the coming year and it happens all over again.

One year, when my aunt had cancer, my other aunt secretly arranged to be her Secret Pal. What a rebel... throwing the Secret Pal election like that. But my aunt who was going through a nasty bout of chemo was showered with gifts all year long. And all of us got to hear about it and marvel at this wonderful Secret Pal who was more like a Secret Santa that decided to show up all year long.

Oh it was devilish good fun.

And I think it helped heal my aunt.

That's another thing about the Nurture Project. It has the ability to heal people. Now, I probably shouldn't take ALL the credit for healing the physical, mental and emotional wounds of my past Nurture Project recipients, but there was a definite positive shift in their happiness level by the end of the year. I'd like to think part of that was from getting a nice note in the mail once in awhile.

Try it. I double dog dare you.


  1. Getting out of one's self and ego is always a good thing, as is nurturing those in need. The things I've done in the past, and will do again, are volunteer to feed the homeless during the holidays, deliver holiday food and groceries to families in need, and visit with people in the hospital who are alone. The great thing is how good it makes you feel - come to find out that part about giving being better than receiving is dead on. You don't have to worry about keeping it secret, and you don't have to wait for miracles. You are the miracle. It's a very rewarding feeling in all the right ways.

  2. Oh my goodness. I love this more than anything I've heard about in a long time- I'm in. I haven't made New Year's resolutions for pretty much ever, because, well, they just don't do anything for me. But this is something that excites me! It seems like such a wonderful way to stay grounded- to focus. Love it.

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  4. Jeff: Though your acts are beautiful and nurturing, they aren't exactly what I mean by Nurture Project.

    Craftwhack: I just noticed the "h" in "whack." I have probably been spelling it wrong all along. Apologies.

    CPSL: You don't even hide the fact that you're spam. Shame shame double shame don't you know your mother's name?

  5. This is brilliant. I'm now combing through my people to decide who I should nurture...maybe more than one.

    Is it wrong that as I read this I was also thinking I WANT TO BE SOMEONE'S NURTURE PROJECT! :P

  6. i think I may have been a former nurture project from you Jan! Will I ever know???

    Love you like rasberry jam on toast with butter!

  7. What a beautiful thing.

  8. Hi there,
    So last night I stumbled to your blog by way of my junior high buddy's FB page (Jennifer Adair)....your blog on The Nurture Project got me thinking, and inspired my blog today...thanks you for your inspiration.

    Here's today's link: http://heartwriter.wordpress.com/2011/12/05/mondays-random-thought-ball-of-light/

    Cheers and keep writing!

  9. Yes. I'm doing this. Thank you for posting about it.

  10. Oh, I love this! Totally doing it. Thank you!

  11. Last year when my Mom died just before Xmas, someone in my circle started a "Fill Jeanne's stocking" project. Almost everyday for a month I received cards, letters and little gifts with a personalized note from Santa. I still don't know who did it, but I got things from all over the country and I knew a lot of my friends were involved somehow. It really helped me get through that tough time. Think about who you could nurture for a little while. It truly makes a difference.

  12. I love this!! What a wonderful idea. I'm totally going to do this and I have two people that could use a little extra nurturing.
    Thank you for sharing this. xo-Kristina


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