Some thirty-five years ago on a warm summer evening I was present as a very wise man lectured on the theme “Bless Your Circumstance.”

It was the most simple, yet profound, prescription for personal and planetary healing I had ever heard, and I endeavoured from that point forward to make it the theme of my own living.

He said there is no circumstance, no matter how difficult and painful, that we are incapable of blessing. What he had in mind implies more than simply giving thanks, although that is a necessary first step. It involves actively receiving the circumstance, loving it and taking life-enhancing action in relation to it. He said that when this is done, whether it involves an ill condition in the body, frustration at work or a person that we’re angry at, the condition loses its sting and is integrated into the larger creative process that is steadily at work conforming all activity on earth to the universal whole.

Circumstances of all kinds come to us continually for the sole purpose of being blessed. They come for no other reason. This is why we are here. This is our natural mode of function. Our bodies, minds and emotional facilities were specifically designed to be conduits of blessing. When they fulfill this function they are healthy and that health spills over to bless the immediate environment and the world beyond.

However, as we well know, the usual response to troubling circumstances is a curse rather than a blessing. When Job in the Old Testament lost his home, family and all of his earthly goods and was reduced to sitting on the ground in agony day after day nursing the sores and boils all over his body, his wife advised him to “curse God and die,” i.e. curse your circumstance, curse life and be done with it. And indeed if Job had followed her advice he would have died and much would have died with him, perhaps even his wife. But because even in his anguish he maintained an attitude of thankfulness and blessed his circumstance, his health, wealth and family eventually were restored.

Circumstances of all kinds come to us continually for the sole purpose of being blessed. They come for no other reason. This is why we are here.

How strong the inclination is to curse our bodies when we get sick. “Damn this cold. Damn this headache. Why is life torturing me this way?” And in this foul mood we extend the curse to those around us. Then, beguiled by an ad promising immediate relief, we often fight the symptoms with harsh chemical concoctions and other invasive procedures, treating the disease and the body itself as enemies to be subdued. No wonder, despite all the advances in medical technology, health worldwide continues to deteriorate and disease is more rampant than ever.

This whole combative approach, based as it is on cursing the body and doing battle with disease, is fundamentally flawed. Fortunately new treatment modalities are emerging as alternatives to hard-line allopathic tradition. In what some healers refer to as “vibrational medicine,” including such techniques as attunement and Therapeutic Touch, the emphasis is on blessing the physical capacity and its corresponding chakra system. The body is regarded as a friend. Its signals (including pain) are welcomed, lovingly listened to, blessed.This promising change of approach in the world of medicine has its counterpart in the field of psychotherapy, where the importance of encompassing and integrating the “shadow self’ is acknowledged by many therapists and spiritual advisors. Why not apply it to every field, indeed to every facet of human behaviour? Can we not unconditionally welcome and bless all physical discomforts and pains? All feelings of anger, grief, depression and fear? All the “evil spirits” that lurk in the dark caverns of the mind? All the tyrants and terrorists, manipulators and marauders that inhabit our world? Can we not unconditionally  welcome and bless even death itself, thereby depriving it of its terror? Yes to all the above, and how relaxing and restorative this would be to ourselves and the Earth.

I understand that the state of Hawaii officially blesses all new public facilities and infrastructure projects upon their completion. This sign was posted at the beginning of a new blacktop highway: “This road not yet dedicated—proceed at your own risk.” Any time a blessing is withheld, we proceed at our own risk; the creative current through body and mind is blocked and disease and disintegration begin to set in. So, quite obviously, it is wise, if only for the sake of self-preservation, to keep the blessings flowing.

“Bless your circumstance.” What formula for individual and collective healing could be so simple yet so powerful? Almost every night before retiring, I take a mile walk around my neighborhood, silently offering a blessing to each home I walk by, to each car, to each tree, to each bush, sometimes pausing to direct the current of blessing through my hands towards something in which I perceive a special need. It is easy to cultivate the habit of blessing everything. It soon becomes second nature, maybe because it is actually our first nature. It is what we were built to do, and neither we nor our world will feel well until we are doing it continually. Every circumstance comes to us to be blessed and no circumstance can resist that blessing.

Jerry Kvasnicka blesses his circumstances as a Sunrise Ranch community member in Loveland, Colorado.

If I had to live my life over

I’d dare to make more mistakes next time.
I’d relax. I would limber up.
I would be sillier than I have been this trip.
I would take fewer things seriously.
I would take more chances.
I would take more trips.
I would climb more mountains and swim more rivers.
I would eat more ice cream and less beans.
I would perhaps have more actual troubles but I’d
have fewer imaginary ones.
You see, I’m one of those people who live sensibly and safely
hour after hour, day after day.
Oh, I’ve had my moments and if I had to do over again,
I’d have more of them.
In fact, I’d try to have nothing else.
Just moments.
One after another,
instead of living so many years ahead of each day.
I’ve been one of those people
who never go anywhere without a thermometer, a hot
water bottle, a raincoat and a parachute.
If I had to do it again, I would travel lighter next time.
If I had my life to live over,
I would start barefoot earlier in the spring
and stay that way later in the fall.
I would go to more dances.
I would ride more merry-go-rounds.
I would pick more daisies.

by Nadine Stair (age 85)

image: Kiva Bottero (Creative Commons BY-SA)