If you had a magic wand that changes the world – would you use it?
It’s surprisingly easy and costs nothing.
The wand I’m talking about?
The words “Thank you”
I recently had a Facebook conversation that jolted me.
My friend Yvonne Spence posted about the inspired work of Peirre Pradervand who wrote The Gentle Art of Blessing.
I’d read the book several years ago and after our virtual chat the impact the book had on my life flooded my awareness.
What Peirre Pradervand talks about isn’t rocket science. But at the same time it kinda’ is.
Your secret power
Pradervand asserts that everyone has a profound capacity to tip the world towards peace and harmony by cultivating an attitude of thanks. He calls this attitude the gentle art of blessing.
His claim isn’t new. You’ll find this teaching in the wisdom traditions of the East and the West.
But what struck me, as I read his book, was that our power to change the world doesn’t require spiritual knowledge. You don’t have to be enlightened to access or use it. You just need to say “thank you” to what’s in front of you.
Perhaps the best way to convey the influence of Pravernand’s book on my life is to tell you about my favorite time of day to change the world.
My morning walk
Today, it started with a rowan tree.
I’ve walked past this tree hundreds of times, yet today it seemed like I saw it’s berries for the first time.
I could easily have spent an hour saying “thank you” to each of the hundreds of vibrant red beads. But I allowed one silent thank you to be enough.
And in that moment a better day rushed in.
You see, just before choosing to say one single “thank you”. My over zealous thinking was telling me that one “thank you” was insufficient to acknowledge the amazing abundance of berries.
But then I noticed the heaviness of that line of thought. And as I did my heart expanded and I felt the joy of knowing that love, no matter how seemingly insignificant its quantity, always has an impact.
Whether we notice it or not. Life is creative and expansive. And the more we relax and open, rather than strive and push, we’re included in the natural movement towards abundance.
Feeling buoyant I walked on. Until I stopped at a weed.
In my neck of the world this plant is considered a weed. Unwanted and unwelcome.
So I said “thank you”.
Not out of pity. But because our heart is capable of opening beyond ideas of what’s good or bad, welcome or unwelcome. It sees beyond labels and definitions that categorize and demonize.
And in that moment it was as if an invisible magnifying glass enlarged the intricate detail of the flowering head.
And what could have been a moment of dismissal turned into a moment of ‘WOW’.
But what about the really difficult things in life? How can we bless and thank what’s ugly or destructive?
Just after these questions began to surface I came across a maple tree stricken with fungus.
I reflected on the fact that if left unchecked. This silver-black fungus strips the bark leaving the tree vulnerable to disease and decay.
Yet, just as I had with the bright red rowan berries and the unexpected beauty of the weed. I said “thank you”.
Not out of a naive idea that my words would magic up a horticulturalist to save the tree. But because the practice of blessing has taught me that the willingness to bless what’s ugly and destructive turns hopelessness and powerlessness into surrender.
A surrendered state of mind creates a bridge that connects us with the vast intelligence behind life.
And because most life events are out of our control. Whenever we bless a moment that would otherwise leave us feeling powerless or even repulse us. We weave a stronger web of consciousness that shape shifts our experience and the world into a clearer image of love.
So how did the world change from my morning walk of thanks?
Well, I had a surprise demonstration that Life is naturally abundant. Was reminded that beyond labels there is only beauty. And was lifted out of feeling powerlessness by Life’s web of love that always catches us when we let go.
The world changed because I saw more of the Truth of how things really are.
It was so funny to read your newsletter this morning and see my name! I am so glad that my Facebook post about Pierre Pradervand led to this post! I love your explanation of how his method of blessing is a way of saying thank you. That makes sense!
I also love your photos from your walk, especially that beautiful weed. I was out walking with my daughter a few days ago and saw very similar flowers, though the ones we saw had a very odd smell – a bit like manure! We were looking around for a ploughed field, and it was strange to realise these flowers were the source of the smell. It’s so easy to assume flowers smell beautiful, so I guess I can thank those flowers for challenging my assumptions! 🙂
Hi Yvonne! It’s so free-ing to let go of assumptions, isn’t it. Power to the flowers!
Fiona, this is so beautiful. Blessing, noticing and appreciating all rolling in together. I was enticed by the title of your post & delight in the difference made to your day by that ‘one simple thought’ of blessing. Thank you.