I received an excerpt from a book called May You Be Blessed by Kate Nowak that I wanted to share:
It happened a few days after my father's death, in that mind-numbing period of adjustment after someone we love leaves us. Having gone shopping for necessities for my trip back to my own home, I was standing in an otherwise empty aisle of a large chain store when suddenly I sneezed, the last vestiges of an allergy attack I'd fought earlier in the week.
Almost instantly, from the next aisle over I heard a voice call out, "Bless you," and then another, and another, and yet another. All in all, in the span of only a few seconds, I counted eleven different voices coming from every possible direction in the store, some saying "God bless you," others using the word "gezundheit," but all blessing me, all calling good down upon me.
At first I thought little of it. After all the idea of blessing someone when they sneeze is rooted in superstition, an archaic belief that in the act of sneezing the soul is thrown from the body, and a blessing is needed for spiritual protection.
Today, it is usually offered as no more than a courtesy, a polite response that has come to be socially accepted and expected. But on that particular day, in the first few moments following all those blessings being called out to me, I began to notice a difference in myself: A slight shift in perception that left me feeling more connected and empowered than I had in days. It also left me, for the first time since my father's passing, more confident that everything would be all right.
Driving back to my father's house that day, I continued periodic "feelings" checks, marveling at how much stronger I felt. Later, sitting in my parent's kitchen for what would be one of the last times, I recounted the story to my stepmother. "Do you think any of them realized what they were saying?" she asked. "Or was it just out of habit?"
"Just habit," I answered with a shrug, thinking about what a shame it was that people could give such a needed gift as a blessing and not even be aware of what they had done. "It should be a habit, this business of blessing others," I said a moment later. "But it would be nice if people actually knew they could and were making a difference."
A seed was planted that day and two years later it sprouted, awakening me one morning to a gentle soul-whisper that poured forth as the words of a special blessing. Feeling compelled to take pen and paper from my nightstand, I prodded myself into full wakefulness and then sat on the edge of the bed, like a secretary poised for dictation, pen ready to capture each syllable as the inspired words flowed into my awareness.
Because of the power of the internet, those words have since been sent across the planet and read by millions, and as a result, I have received thousands of letters from people telling me how May You Be Blessed has impacted their lives. And in each and every instance I have found myself blessed in return.
I have often wondered since if my newfound work as a dispatcher of blessings is the result of a serendipitous accident that placed me in a crowded store on a day when I was both prone to sneeze, and to listen to subtle nudges from the heart. Or was it, perhaps, that my father's gentle spirit was present that day, inspiring others to offer blessings so that I might be lifted up?
Of course, it is a question I cannot answer, but I do know that since that time my life has changed remarkably. Each day is now entirely centered on the act of blessing and I have come to recognize it not only as one of the most powerful and practical ways we have for reconnecting with each other, our world and Life itself, but also the most phenomenal way possible to lead us to happiness and success. It is a discovery I now endeavor daily to share with all.
A blessing, I have come to realize, is a sweet release from pain; a sacred reminder that we are made of love and light and goodness and, as such, part of a greater and most wondrous whole. It is an ancient key to a successful and fulfilling life.
Today, whenever I share with others this phenomenal key, explaining how, as we each develop the habit of blessing others we are blessing our own lives, as well, I feel as if I have been given a wonderful gift. I realize once again how truly blessed I am. It is my hope that as you read this book and allow the words of this blessing to enter your heart, you will be blessed in return. I could not ask for anything sweeter to my soul than that.