There are two meanings of the word. One is a noun – as in “count your blessings.” The other is a verb – the act of blessing, of wishing one well, of bestowing blessings upon someone.
It most certainly benefits us to be aware of all the blessings in our lives. The more we are aware of goodness and beauty and grace in our lives, the more goodness, beauty, and grace we will have. The very act of being conscious of Good in our lives tends to make us happy.
If you want, try this experiment. Take a minute and think of all that is wrong in your life or all that is wrong in this world. Just let yourself wallow in misery for a minute. Think of your aches and pains, of your money woes, of someone who is ill. Think of violence and pollution, crime and corruption. Isn’t it awful? Don’t you feel Bad? Ugh! Now take a deep breath and give yourself a minute to focus on all that is Good. Think of all the people who have been kind to you. Think of all that you have materially – a house, a car, a kitchen, indoor plumbing, a body which walks and talks and breathes. Think of your family, your friends, the stranger who smiled at you. Think of your pets and how your dog is so happy to see you at the end of the day. Think of all the beauty of the Earth. Think of the trees, the streams, the beautiful sky, the hummingbirds, the songbirds, a beautiful sunset. Don’t you feel better? Isn’t it infinitely better to focus on your blessings?
Now, let’s focus on the act of blessing. Generally we tend to think of this as something a clergyperson does. Or maybe a fairy godmother. Or, if you’re very lucky, someone like my Aunt Ruth, who wasn’t an aunt at all but a dear old lady who lived downstairs from my grandmother. She was plump with snow white hair gathered at the nape of her neck in a bun. She was the quintessential sweet old lady. When we, as a young family, would go to visit her, she would say to each of us children with a smile on her face, “Bless your little heart.” What a sweet thing to say.
We can all learn to bestow blessings. The world may not be ready for us to do this out loud. But we can certainly do it silently.
Last night, I was infinitely blessed to hear a woman named Terra channel some high angelic energies. At one point, we were encouraged to imagine ourselves as angels in human form. (I believe there are many angels walking on this Earth disguised as humans. I also believe that many of us, though primarily human, will, at specific times, step into a situation and act in angelic fashion.) The benevolent beings who were speaking through Terra encouraged us to bless others, silently, as part of our glorious angelic “duties.” I found myself imagining person after person in my life and me bestowing a kiss upon their forehead, not unlike Glenda the Good Witch in the Wizard of Oz. Or perhaps I would bless them by enfolding them in great big wings. “God bless you. God bless you. Bless you. Bless you,” I would say over and over again. What a wonderful assignment!
Years ago, a dear friend and teacher, David, also encouraged us to silently bless people. It is a wonder-full thing to do. I found I felt better simply by being the blesser!
When I give massages, I always end with a great silent blessing upon the dear person whom I was blessed to have the privilege to touch. There are infinite opportunities for us to extend blessings. Certainly when we hold a little baby it is a prime opportunity for bestowing blessings. Or when we are holding the hand of a person who is ready to depart from this world. Or when a dog comes waggly tailed to greet you. Or when a waitress brings you your food. But how about when we see a parent scolding a child? I certainly send blessings and love to the child. And when I am walking in truth and light, I will also remember to bless the parent! And what about when someone cuts you off in traffic? The instinct might be to curse, but rather than curse, try a blessing. Even if you don’t feel it in the moment, try it. Instead of letting out an “f” word, let out a “b” word. “Bless you!” It just might shift you out of your anger.
Sergei King writes about the power of both curses and blessings in his book Urban Shaman. A curse is something negative said forcefully and with intention to cause ill. A blessing is the opposite. It is a benevolent wish for someone expressed sincerely and with focus and intention. If someone curses you, wise ones say you can undo the curse simply by sincerely blessing yourself.
I love it when people sneeze and then one or more people bless them. How wonderful to hear people being blessed! Let’s not just bless people when they sneeze, let’s bless them when they are well, when they are angry, when they are sad. The world is full of people in need of both blessing and blessings. Let’s not withhold our blessings! Let blessings abound!
For more from Cynthia Greb, visit her blog at Blessings Abound.