“I am so blessed, I am so blessed,
“I am so thankful, I am so blessed…”
The refrain is from a song by Karen Drucker (“Songs of the Spirit Li” album) often sung at UnitySF before the meditation. For months, every time we would sing this song I had to stop singing because of the tears that would come to my eyes. The music changed recently, and I don’t tear up all the time any more, but there was something about the music and the words that touched me deeply. I could feel a depth of gratitude as I opened myself up to the song, a sadness at how much I have missed not allowing myself to fully feel blessed, and something else, not so much joy as fully feeling accepted by self and God.
Blessing someone or some thing usually seems to be a type of honoring or bestowing good, affirmation, acceptance and approval. While growing up Jewish, I recall the berakhot or blessings as primarily a ritualistic way of thanking God for many different things in life, most often food. Blessing was recognizing God as our source and giving thanks.
When we can see ourselves as also an expression of God or the Divine, then blessing someone or something, is affirming them/ it from that higher place within us. Or without that depth, it can just be nice words.
Eric Butterworth, in “Spiritual Economics,” adds another, more specific use of blessing. He writes,“never allow money of any kind or amount to pass through your hands without blessing it, whether it is coming to you or going from you.” This type of blessing is an affirmation of money as a vehicle of sharing and multiply prosperity for all who pass it along. Thus exchanging money also becomes blessing those with whom you exchange it.
Recognizing how we are blessed creates a wonderful attitude of warm openness. When I focus on limitation, on what is missing, my feeling sense is very different, worried, anxious, fearful, and sometimes angry. When I focus on gratitude for what I have, my feeling sense is of warmth, caring, safety, and fulfillment.
Much of my life I have held back from letting myself fully feel blessed. What is it that I fear? If I allow myself to really feel blessed, fully feel good about life, it could make me vulnerable to deeper disappointment when things go bad. There is the distorted concept of Pollyanna* as a person who denies all that is wrong leading to greater suffering in her life. Appreciating and feeling grateful what I have does not mean ignoring the dangers of life or the nasty things that can happen. It is about not letting them define how we feel and how we live.
As it is sang in the song,“I am so blessed.” I have life, health, family, friends and community, as well as a growing awareness of God or Spirit that connects us all. The more I appreciate all that I have, the less that-which-I-do-not-yet-have can deflate my happiness in the here-and-now.
*In the actual story of Pollyanna she maintains a rosy disposition despite all the terrible things that happen in her life, not because she doesn’t suffer or see them but because it is a better choice than to be angry, nasty, morose and powerless. Yet the name has become synonymous with an excessive, even delusional and self-damaging level of cheerfulness or optimism. This distortion says something sad about our culture’s values.