On blessing, and thankfulness.

If you are Jewish you are obliged to say 100 blessings a day. One hundred times a day you are to find something to be thankful for. There are prayers for everything, and just looking over the prayers can remind you of how blessed you are in more ways than you ever realized.

There are prayers to be said upon seeing an unusual person. Upon seeing a rainbow. Upon seeing someone beautiful. There are of course various prayers for food. My favorite are the bathroom prayers – where you give thanks that everything that should stay in, stays in, and everything that should get out, gets out. I would never have thought to have a prayer of thanksgiving for that, but it makes perfect sense. All of these prayers make you mindful of all the many ways you are blessed every day. They keep you aware and grateful.

I think this is an excellent practice. We humans often take our many blessings for granted. We forget to be thankful for electricity until it goes out due to a storm. We forget to be grateful for running water until we need a plumber. We constantly grumble about what we don’t have while forgetting to be thankful for what we do have. And often we forget that “bad” is often just our value judgment. Our need to label things “good” or “bad” causes us many problems.

Here’s a twist for you. Give a complement to a stranger. Do this often. Start small and work your way up to complementing 10 strangers a day. Find something about them to tell them how cool it is. Perhaps it is their hairstyle. Perhaps it is something they are wearing. Look them in the eye when you tell them what you have noticed that is cool. Be sincere. Notice how this changes them and you. You both feel better. Well, you might be a little freaked out at first because you are shy, but trust me, you’ll get over it. Happiness spreads. Be a blessing to someone else.

One of the lines I like to incorporate into our supper prayers includes “Dear God, thank you for all that we have, and all that we don’t have.” Sometimes not getting what you want is actually a blessing.

This is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad. This applies to every day. Even the rainy ones. Even the ones with a tornado warning. Be thankful for everything, at all times. It takes practice, but it is worth it.