“Everything unborn in us and in the world needs blessing…Blessings strengthen life and feed life just as water does.”
-Rachel Naomi Remen, My Grandfather’s Blessings (quote from Daily Faith email of July 12, 2013)
I’ve been pondering what it means to bless our future- to bless that which wants to be born in us and in our world. It’s a concept that’s hard to understand. I turned to the source of this wisdom: Dr. Remen’s book, My Grandfather’s Blessings, a collection of stories about inspired by her grandfather, an Orthodox rabbi in the mystical Kabbalah tradition. In it, Rachel Naomi Remen writes, “A blessing is a moment of meeting, a certain kind of relationship in which both people remember and acknowledge their true nature and worth, and strengthen what is whole in one another.” If I understand correctly, when we seek to nourish, strengthen and encourage the goodness in another person, we are offering a blessing. By generously offering blessings as a way of life, we are restoring, healing, and helping bring wholeness to the world around us. Imagine if we could live this way!
This notion of blessing our future is closely related to something called “restorying.” I’m grateful for a new colleague, Julie Gabrielli, who has entered my life and brought to my attention this notion of restorying. Restorying involves changing our perspective and turning towards what energizes us, inspires us, and makes us whole, rather than struggling against what we don’t want. In her words, “when we move away from the infinite loop of what’s not working and experience a deep sense of belonging to the entire community of Life, we begin to open to the new stories that want to emerge through us. And they are out there, ready and waiting, on a scale we haven’t quite imagined.” I look forward to learning more about this concept at an upcoming workshop in a few days.
I’ve just realized that “restoring” and “restorying” are almost identical words. Rachel and Julie describe a way of life that our world needs. They recognize that there is a spark of the divine in everything and everyone. It’s so awe-some (in its truest sense of the word!) to have an articulation of something that I’ve known intuitively. These wise women encourage us to listen for and strengthen the positive, the connective, the life-giving that wants to emerge. This involves a radical shift. Rather than attempting to conquer, control, problem-solve, and manipulate, we are invited to listen, learn, encounter, create, and get into the flow of life. This approach recognizes that:
1) There is a sacred nature within all of life.
2) We belong to each other.
3) We can only be whole if all of us are whole.
These simple principles are hard to fathom in our culture. All to often it is “us” against “them.” We spend endless hours protecting ourselves, fixing others, and trying to convince others of “the right way.” We live disconnected from nature. Our politicians cannot agree on simple things to improve our world.
BUT…instead of focusing on what’s not working, I’m reminded that it’s now time to refocus, restore, restory. We are invited to imagine our future, to bless it and let it bless us. It begins with small steps each and every day. May I begin today.
P.S. Within 15 minutes of writing this I received a phone call from my sister informing me of a wrongdoing done to her daughter (my niece). She’s been sued in small claims court after she seemingly did everything correctly with regard to a potential lease relationship (I am her lawyer, since she lives in Maryland). “OK, God, here we go- it’s us vs. them. You’re gonna need to help me/us with this situation. How do we restory this? How can we position ourselves to respond in a positive way? How can we let this situation bless our future?”
I’m pretty angry with this guy and his behavior (I’m omitting the choice curse words I uttered a few moments ago). Meanwhile, I take a deep breath and wait for some guidance. No one said this work is easy.