Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Bless You.


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!

39 comments:

  1. SO well put Dagny. Such simple, but such profound wisdom. The world is like a mirror and every action, every word is simply reflected back to us.
    Thank you giving us the opportunity to read Dagny here Purba !

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    1. And yes .. Bless you both ! <3

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    2. Thank you Ruchira. You inspire me. <3

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  2. Your simple and profound wisdom never fails to move me Dagny. Wow!

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    1. Just as you've often made me stop and think Ritu. We learn from each other, don't we? Thank you for the 'wow'. It does me good. :)

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  3. I am happy I read this on this cold foggy morning. First step is to stop expecting returns and only then can we overcome the difficulty of wishing well for someone. Made so much sense, Dagny. Thank you Purba for bringing this on. Went down like a dose of good tonic :)

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    1. You are right. The first step is to stop expecting returns- to know that you never have to look for returns because they always come. Just like you pick up the other end of a stick when you pick up one.

      Thank you ilakshee.

      Dagny

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  4. There is joy in giving. But each day, one's patience thins just a wee bit more to see how the world today is being run over by those who only know how to take.
    Hopefully, better sense will return one day.

    Lovely post, Dagny. Thanks, Purba, for hosting someone who is always such a delight to read.

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    1. Rickie, The world is indeed being run over by people who know only to take. But you see it doesn't matter how many 'takers' there are. It is not our job- or responsibility- to fill the pockets of the whole world. There are some out there whose pockets are like a bottomless well.

      If we would just wish people well and give as much as we can without damage to self, it would be enough. The story of the starfish stranded on the beach is eloquent upon this point. I am not meant to save them all. I am meant to save as many as I can.

      I think this 'all or none' syndrome really plays havoc with our minds, doesn't it?

      Thank you for your words; they mean much to me.

      Dagny

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  5. Purba

    such a lovely post and I need no intro on Dag as I keep on reading her writings for a long time.

    Dag

    knowingly or unknowingly I make it a habit to wish people who are not known to me on their birthdays in my Twitter timeline and this activity triggers in getting more followers. Now am I already following the crux of this post ? U only should tell :-)))

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    1. Sundar, You have been reading me for a long long time indeed. I was quite an infant when you and I got acquainted. About following the crux of the post, I wouldn't know. You never wished ME on my birthday. :)))

      Bless your kind heart,
      Dagny

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  6. Dagny Bless you. Lady, you inspire always. <3. Purba, bless you too.

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  7. The power of Dagny's writing motivates and inspires. Always a pleasure to read her.
    I don't comment but I almost never fail to read Serenely Rapt.
    You rock Dagny. In more ways than one.

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    1. Alka, Wow! What a fabulous compliment! I can live off that one for ages!

      Thank you so much! I am pleased as punch!

      Dagny

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  8. There is so much joy in doing something for someone especially when you don't need to. Sometimes, we neglect doing so because we are a bit preoccupied, and at other times feeling cynical in general. Your post, as always, shows the mirror and reminds us the power of a good deed not only to the other but to you as well. Always a delight to read you, Dagny!

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    1. I always covet your comments Rachna. When I hit 'Publish' on a post I wonder what you would say. Your comments add depth to my understanding. Many a time you have made me think anew.

      Bless you dear friend!

      Dagny

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  9. Dagny- Beautiful! If I were to point out lines that i loved in this post, I would have to copy paste the entire post here. Have you read "The Secret" by Rhonda Bryne. It is on similar lines as your post and does wonders to bring in a feeling of optimism.

    Purba- Yes, did experience what you feel when you read Dagny's posts. Thanks for this :)

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    1. I have read 'The Secret' Seeta. But more than the book, it was the movie that brought it together for me. I just lapped it up. And you are right in a way. Law of attraction does come into play when wishing people well.

      Thank you for coming by :)
      Dagny

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  10. Acchooo! :)
    I loved the last couple of paragraphs. The chain reaction is so true and so beautifully explained! :)

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    1. Bless you Deepa. May your joys be enough to make you feel contented but not enough to make you complacent.

      Thank you :)
      Dagny

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  11. The idea of oneself being the candle and others being merely reflectors is sweet but naive. From that logic, you also undermine their identities, making them the mere projections of your thought process. I could relate the concept of Karma with your logic; Do good and better would happen to you! Trust me, I really want this idea to be true, but its just it's so perfect, that it makes my cynical.

    Ideological differences aside, it was a beautiful piece of writing. The middle paragraphs mentioning the candle example and defining smugness, were perfectly crafted to put forth the idea.

    Good job and, well, bless you! :)

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  12. Prateek,

    I hear you.

    When I suggested that you think of others as reflectors, I meant it as a solution to a worst- case scenario. If you are certain that those around you are full to the brim with good- will, you are at a liberty to treat them with all the respect due to a fellow dynamo.

    For the rest, I will just pass on a rather annoying remark that was thrown at me a few days back. I was told, "Don't let your sense of perfection get in the way of a good job." This remark I shall blithely alter and say, "Don't let your cynicism get in the way of the beauty of perfection that breathes all around you.

    Forgive me if I sound pompous; I mean no disrespect.

    Thank you for your appreciative words. Coming from a discerning reader, they mean that much more.

    Bless you,
    Dagny

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  13. Lovely post Dagny....yes others are indeed reflectors for us,not only do they return our love and goodwill many fold they also give us a chance to cogitate where we have gone wrong by their reactions.

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    1. Indu, I wondered if someone would catch that. You did. :)

      Thank you for reading.
      Dagny

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  14. Life's biggest pleasures come from the simplest things like counting the blessings! Indeed so true!

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  15. The incident of the girl whose father passed away was moving. And yes, the goodwill others send our way because we made them feel better does give us a fillip and never mind what the cynics say. Lovely post, Dagny. Thanks for hosting her, Purba.

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    1. Oh I try not to let cynicism get to me- be it my own (occasionally) or that of others. So far I have been singularly successful. Too busy laughing to count the tears I suppose. :D

      Loved your comment KM, Thank you.

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  16. Nice and heartwarming article Dagny... And yes people, smiles, words, songs and books can touch and transform us in ways we cannot fathom. I am so happy Purba invited you over here so we could know you better!

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    1. Oh dear that sounds horrible! I meant it was nice of Purba to invite me over because I have loved to meet you all. Not the other thing. :P

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  17. You mentioned books Anita. For sure, the power books wield on us is incalculable.

    Thank you for your heartwarming welcome. It was indeed very nice of Purba to invite me over.

    Dagny

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  18. Its quite hard to find a good site. And I think I am lucky enough to have come here. The posts are doing great and full of good insights. I would be glad to keep on coming back here to check for updates!

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  19. Blessed it was to be caught in the web of your expositions. Sweet and compelling as only you can write.

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  20. We must bless & feel blessed, then God will give us more reasons to do so- bless & feel blessed :)
    I had read that the idea of saying 'Bless You' began in England during the Black Death- Great Plague as sneezing was an early indication of Plague. That's when Ringa-Ringa-Roses was created too.
    Whatever, it is, it sure is a uniting factor with so many people, some strangers, ready to bless us! :)
    Positive Energy does flow! Blessings are most welcome :)

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  21. Agree strongly! Though I do not even need to think of people reflecting it back and all that. It is just that when I assume that the people around me are good I feel happier and if I start thinking of them as iniquitous it depresses me. AND that feeling of joy or depression has nothing to do with what those people really are leave alone whether they will show what they are in their actions to me or others. To me, negativity in my mind is depressing AND positivity is energizing - so I try as far as possible to avoid the former and embrace the latter.

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  23. Wonderful post Dagny and an even better message. The only two things you can really gift someone are good wishes and your time and by wishing well you are already gifting them the latter. A big hug for sharing this wonderful message Purba! Cheers, Swati

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  24. Such a beautiful post.Thanks for sharing Purba! Bless you!

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