I want you all to experience what I do when I read Dagny Sol. I turn into a sponge that wants to soak in her wisdom. Her words inspire me to try harder and expect less in return. To live deeper, cherish more and be the sunshine that we crave for in our lives.
In this post she talks about how a simple word of blessing, a genuine thought of goodwill towards another person, an authentic hope that someone would find joy, is one of our life's most fulfilling accomplishments.
A freelance corporate trainer, Dagny Sol also blogs here
A couple of years ago I read a newsletter from one of the inspirational websites I keep stumbling upon from time to time. The fact that I still remember the gist of the mail’s contents shows how powerful the message was. Yet, there was nothing spectacular about the message. It was as simple as a child’s spontaneous hug; as soothing as a gentle, misty rain after a parched, dusty day.
The mail contained an excerpt from Kate Nowak’s book May You Be Blessed. In this excerpt Kate talks about the unfolding of the events that led her to write the book. It is a simple but powerful story. Let me recount it as best as I can, from memory.
A few days after her father's death, she had gone grocery shopping. She was standing in an empty aisle of a large store when she suddenly sneezed. Almost instantly, from the next aisle she heard a voice call out, "Bless you," and then another, and another, and yet another. In the span of a few seconds, she counted eleven different voices coming from every possible direction in the store, blessing her.
For some reason, perhaps because she had recently lost her father and was still feeling lost and vulnerable, this simple event made a deep impact upon her. She knew that the idea of blessing someone when they sneeze is rooted in superstition, an archaic belief that in the act of sneezing the soul is thrown from the body, and a blessing is needed for spiritual protection. Hence she also knew that saying “Bless you” when someone sneezes is more a polite, automatic response than a deliberate calling down of blessingand grace on the person. Even so, she was overwhelmed.
She began to notice a difference in herself. A slight shift in perception that left her feeling more connected and empowered than she had in days. For the first time since her father's passing, she felt a lot more confident that everything would be all right.
From feeling empowered she went to wondering how people would feel if they actually knew they could and were making a difference in someone’s life. That wondering became the spark that culminated in the book.
This short message made a deep impact on me. A simple word of blessing, a genuine thought of good will towards another person, an authentic hope that someone would find joy and contentment, have been recommended by all the masters who have ever walked the earth. And yet, we find it difficult to practice.
Somewhere I think we have the feeling of giving away something when we let our goodwill and blessings flow out into the world without restrictions. Perhaps there is a feeling of depletion since the blessings flow out but the inflow is doubtful at best. Too often, we are certain of a wave of ill feeling breaking upon our vulnerable shores. Sometimes, this isn’t merely a figment of our imagination; just sometimes.
The rest of the times we assume it to be so; without evidence or proof. I read somewhere once that anything you say about the future is technically a lie. For a truth is something that has happened already and hence is unalterable. Since the future hasn’t happened yet, whatever you may say of it cannot be the truth; hence it is a lie. Smells strongly of musty, armchair logic but it totally makes sense to me. I’ll let you figure out what that makes me.
By the same logic, if you are going to make assumptions about the world out there and people’s intent, why make poor assumptions? For the same money (figuratively speaking), you may assume the best. Even better, why not assume that most people are merely reflectors (which they are, you know it!) and you are the only candle? Now, when you send good wishes and blessings out, you get them all back reflected off the mirrors out there, multiplied many- fold! Can there be a better Return On Investment?
Sending out good wishes to the world is the only way I know of blessing my own life. I happily assume that my call for blessings makes people feel better (which it does, I know it!). The thought of making others feel better buoys me up. I feel shamelessly smug. As any student of human psychology can prove to you in two ticks, a feeling of smugness is the stuff that generates a feeling of blessedness like a dynamo working full steam. It sets off a chain reaction which goes thus:
Smugness leads to feeling good; feeling good leads to you sitting up and taking notice instead of crawling like a limp dishrag under a tree (forgive the mixed metaphors; I always lapse into them when strongly moved; they aren’t fatal… at least I haven’t heard anyone dying of them yet); sitting up and taking notice leads to you noticing a whole lot of absolutely wonderful things happening for you every two steps; noticing wonderful things leads to a strong feeling of gratitude; gratitude leads to feeling blessed.
Phew! That was a lot, wasn’t it? But it is all pretty straightforward when it’s been explained. I wonder if Sherlock Holmes also felt pompous after he’d dotted the I’s and crossed the T’s for poor pedestrian Dr Watson. I shouldn’t wonder if he did. And there must’ve been a stiff-ish dose of saintly forbearance. And a sigh or two such as patience on monument might have been proud of. Anyhow, that’s all beside the point.
Go ahead, let loose a sneeze!