Recently, I've been doing a lot of spiritual reading and trying to put it into practice. My Grandfather's blessings by Rachel Naomi Remen is one of the most powerful books I've ever read and will certainly be one that I will go back to again and again. In it, she talks about blessing life and allowing ourselves to be blessed by it.
Today, I finally understood that by heart.
My housemate went out with her boyfriend, asking if I would be staying in, as the cats were out and about. As I was just planning to faff about, I answered in the affirmative. She responded by asking me to get them back in if I changed my mind.
About an hour later, I felt a bit restless and decided to nip down to the shops about 15 minutes walk from us. The cats were in, so I shut the back door and headed out.
Just as I crossed the little street before the shops started, I stepped under a tree shedding its blossoms - a 'blossom storm', as I've always thought of it. An elderly gentleman in a hat stopped me, and looking up at the tree, said in a rich, Eastern European accent:
"You know, in Japan, when the cherry blossoms touch someone, they bless them." Then he looked directly at me and putting his hand out towards me, said, "And so, I bless you."
Heartfelt, freely and spontaneously given, it was one of the most powerful blessings I had ever received. A barrier I had erected against life and its flow through me gave way.
I looked back at him, the words "And I, you," caught in my throat. Instead, I simply said what I could - a heartfelt "Thank you." And I blessed him in my heart.
How he knew that cherry blossoms were my dearest delight of a Washington spring, that I needed to be able to receive, that I most needed the unconditional love and safety that a blessing offers, I will never know. And I don't need to.
I suspect it's that he allows life to flow through him - and life knows.
And so, overflowing with the love and gratitude from having been blessed, I pass it on.