Creating Our Own Blessings

One of the rituals from the Japanese tradition of Oshōgatsu, or New Year’s celebration, is going to the shrine to obtain amulets for the New Year. Blessed by the Shintu priest, these are colorful  packages that have prayers in them for things such as luck in business or luck in conceiving a child. The prayers are hidden within them and the superstition is that if you open them that takes away the luck. This inspires this third ritual –I would like you take a moment and write a blessing for yourself. It might be a few words, “I honor my strength and promise to care for myself body, mind and spirit” or it might be just “It’s okay to be me.” Whatever you write on this paper, I invite you to write it and then tie it up with a ribbon. You can open it anytime you like, however, operating on the same principle as what is lucky, it can help focus your intention in this new year. When you make a mistake, or are confronted with the consequences of past choices, you can affirm yourself rather than berate, uplift yourself rather than put yourself down.

An affirmation about our goals of how we want to treat ourselves this year will give us a touchstone for the inevitable disruption and change. In this way we envision for ourselves what we want, in terms of how we wish to treat ourselves.

The simple acts of envisioning what we want in this New year helps us create a frame which is our own context no matter what the world may offer us whether it is viruses, interrupted travel, loss or extreme weather.

In this way we can live into the questions we shared in last Sunday’s service:

What do I want to build on from last year?

What do I want to have more of in my life?

What do I want to be for others?

What gives me joy?

What makes me feel alive?

What do I want to contribute and accomplish?

What do I want to achieve?

What gives me joy? (Oh did I ask that one already?  Well, worth asking again!

May our intentions towards ourselves be a guide for this 2023 and offer us stability no matter what agility we are asked to embrace.

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