Say these words out loud: I am blessed.
Now say them again with a pause in between each word. I. Am. Blessed.
Now one more time with a longer pause and with your most powerful voice: I . . . Am . . . Blessed!
Even as I write the words, a smile emerges slowly across my face, my breathing slows, and my shoulders drop. Just saying these words activate my imagination of the blessings already in my life, knowing many are not yet in my present awareness.
The root of the word bless means “to consecrate, to make something holy.” Interestingly, the word shares its origins with the word blood. To understand blessing is to know it as an invisible, cosmic bloodstream pulsating through the universe.
A blessing is life-giving; it is life itself. The great Jewish sage Abraham Heschel said, “Just to be is a blessing. Just to live is holy.”
What does it mean to be blessed beyond measure? It means to bless what already is, simply for being. Whatever it is, bless it because it exists—there is no other reason needed. Then we must follow up by passing along our blessings. Blessings are life-giving but only if we pass them on. This is how we are blessed beyond measure.
There is a pattern inherent in being blessed and being a blessing. We first express delight when we realize we are blessed by something, just allowing it to be. Then we give thanks for that realization. Finally, we become the blessing—the life of God—by passing the blessing along. Then we repeat this pattern, over and over, beyond measure.
The Benedictine monk Brother David Steindl-Rast says, “Where blessing flows in and passes on, everything comes alive; where it flows only in and stops, it stagnates … Repetition is the way time mirrors the eternal now.”
At times life is hard, we struggle and we might see what exists in front of us as fraught with pain, anger, death, fear, violence, loneliness, overwhelm, or powerlessness. We may ask ourselves how this can possibly be a blessing.
There are times when we are challenged, when life stands still or seems too dark to find our way out. Experiences and difficulties with people can make us truly wonder how we are being blessed, when all we can feel is our sense of inadequacy or unworthiness. Our sense of belonging, of being loved and lovable, seems to disappear into thin air.
These are the times I bring my full attention to the present moment, remembering I am already full of life.
Whether I am walking firmly with great determination or I am unsteady and unsure like a toddler—and every stage in between—I remember that cosmic bloodstream, that life-giving principle I call God, is everywhere present. I can feel grounded in knowing I am eternally rooted in this principle, walking my journey one day at a time.
When I claim this, I can see the challenges in my life are stretching the boundaries of my heart, urging me to grow in the midst of discomfort and to know I am expanding my wisdom and compassion. When I can feel the delight in seeing this blessing, I then must allow it to flow onward to another. I remember the gift of being blessed, and then become the blessing.
Since blessings are the life I see within all that exists, I simply cannot count them all because they aren’t actually things to be numbered. Rather, I become aware that I am using that principle I call God—that one life, one love, one power, one joy, one health, one wisdom, one substance—to imagine and create a patchwork quilt of blessings. This is a tapestry of immeasurable peace and joy that sharpens my view for this never-ending gift I call life.
Unity cofounder Myrtle Fillmore said, “Every individual has to live his own life and draw for himself upon the life, substance, health, and strength that are waiting to be brought forth. No one can eat another's food for him, or breathe for him; neither can one person express the indwelling life and health for another. Each one of us must draw upon the source of these things for himself. Blessed are we when we recognize that this is the way of receiving, and do it.”
May you grow ever more blessed and be ever more a blessing.