‘My prayer is, let me be a blessing to someone or something today’, Jean Houston
The first time I came across this quote from Jean Houston, it stayed with me.
Over the past decades, when I facilitated personal and leadership development programs, I often started our retreat talking about the importance of being present to self and to one another…this, before being present was a thing! Then I would encourage participants to ask themselves at the end of the day, if they have been a beneficial presence. That is certainly what I wanted to be, and it is so important for leadership and life.
This being present in a beneficial way, makes me think about being a blessing in some way today, too. Now that seems like a bold intention, for me at least.
Over the past few years, where I experienced many losses, including life changing health issues, I often wondered how I could contribute or be a blessing given what at times felt like limited capacity. Those times when being present for me and others was more difficult than I was used to.
Enrolling in the two-year program, Growing in Wisdom: Seeking Greater Generativity, two years ago, turned out to be a gift in many ways. As I wove my way through the intensives and meetings with a small group once a month and much more, I kept asking myself how could contribute to the world meaningfully given some limitations.
Early in the program, beloved teacher, Father Ron Rolheiser, suggested that our role as we age, as we seek greater generatively, is to bless younger generations and to not leave toxic residue. I worked with these ideas throughout the program. At the recent wrap up retreat, he emphasized again, the importance of blessing the young, providing examples of seeing the good in them, and telling them about it.
As I reflected on the past two years, I asked myself if I had blessed younger folks in my life, especially my grandkids and great grandkids. The program offered support for doing this in many ways, including sparking creative expression. Here’s a few things I thought about looking back, that may have been a blessing, but truthfully, doing it, having this opportunity to connect, was a blessing for me.
- Noticing the unique and the good and commenting on it. I feel seeing this comes quite naturally to me, but naming it was more difficult when I was not well or experiencing a lot of grief.
- Talking about the difficult, such as being with grief, in ways that acknowledged the importance of being with all feelings and parts of self. Hopefully this helps clear some of the toxic residue.
- Writing personal stories. For example, when my granddaughter was expecting, I wrote a post It is 1969 having a baby, and shared other stories personally, such as the story of my mom having a baby at 42 some 60 years ago. These stories lead to meaningful conversations.
- And such fun…what I referred to as Postcards from Gigi, which involved finding photos from the past that would resonate with my great grandkids and then making them into a postcard. This made sorting through all my photos more manageable too.
I am hoping these thoughts and actions were beneficial in some way, that my intentions to be a blessing in small ways, landed. I feel so blessed to have this opportunity to do this. May what I do, what I say, how deeply I care, shine a light on younger generations.
Image Moonlights by Phil Greenwood.
Are you blessing people, or cursing people, with your words, thoughts and energy? Are you blessing or cursing yourself with words, thoughts or energy? – Sandra Ingerman
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My participation in the Growing in Wisdom Course, in lockdown, in life, led to some themes in my reflections and writing. One was the importance of community, where I wrote Don’t do it alone, and Life-giving communities. I have also been focusing on blessings of Awe and Wonder, and Personal Wonders. Throughout this I have been Harvesting my Soul and being an Accomplice to Sorrow.
Send me your thoughts or comments here.