Receiving a Hindu blessing in India

I was running on my favourite path by the river, listening to a podcast interview with Sylvia Boorstein, when she said something that nearly stopped me dead in my tracks. As part of a guided meditation, she said “Now offer yourself a blessing.”

Offer myself a blessing? Really? I had no idea how to do that! What would I bless myself with?

I love offering blessings. I do it often for friends, writing a list of things I wish for them as they enter a new phase of their life, celebrate a birthday, go through struggles, etc. If I can’t come up with something myself, I’ll offer them one of my favourites from John O’Donohue‘s book To Bless the Space Between Us. I even offer my students a blessing at the end of almost every session or workshop I teach.

Blessing people I care about? Easy-peasy. Because I love them and want the best for them. There was a time, in fact, when I offered people Twitter blessings – a wish for your day in 140 characters or less.

I also love being blessed by others. I feel fortunate that I have received, for example, a Hindu blessing from a woman in a tiny village in India, and an Orthodox blessing from a priest in an ancient church in Ethiopia. Blessings are powerful things that can carry us a long way.

But offering a blessing for myself? Honestly – I didn’t have a clue how to do that. AND it had never occurred to me that I should. And yet… I love myself don’t I? And doesn’t the Bible teach us to “love our neighbours as ourselves”? To love them (and to bless them), I first have to love myself.

As soon as I heard Sylvia Boorstein say it though, I knew that it was something I needed to learn how to do. I need to bless myself.

I need to believe that I am worthy of being blessed just like I believe my friends and family are worthy. I need to offer myself the same compassion and kindness that I am willing to offer those I love.

Sylvia suggested the following blessing, and I’m trying to offer it to myself at least once a day. I may even print it and hang it by my bed so I see it first thing in the morning.

May I feel safe.
May I feel happy.
May I feel strong.
May I live with ease.

Just now, laying on the couch in the middle of the night because I woke up with a stress ball in my stomach, I put my hand on my heart and said it aloud. It feels kind of powerful.

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