The other day, I reread an Irish blessing in honor of St. Patty’s Day. Actually I put this blessing to music on my Awaken the Dream CD, because I love its sentiments.

May there always be work for your hands to do.
May your purse always hold a coin or two.
May the sun always shine on your window pane.
May rainbow be certain to follow each rain.

These are beautiful wishes for life, aren’t they? Such sentiments cause me to wonder, “What makes a wish for someone a blessing?”

Doesn’t it feel wonderful to receive good wishes from someone? Or does it?

Wishes are not always blessings. It feels great when someone, for example, wishes you Happy Birthday and really means it. However, if the same person were to extend you birthday wishes because it was the appropriate thing to do, but didn’t mean what they were saying, it probably wouldn’t feel nice at all. Saying the words and meaning the words are two different things.

Too many times in my early years, I said a meaningless prayer over my food—words that droned on without meaning. Even if I was asking God to bless my food, the way I prayed would have put God to sleep. If I wished for my food to be blessed as a result of my prayer, I doubt anything was happening.

Then I learned a different way to pray. I learned what it means to truly bless.

One of my very first energy teachers taught me to pay attention to the energy that ran through my body and my hands. She taught me to notice that when my heart was truly open, energy from my heart naturally wanted to flow through my arms and out of my hands.

She taught me to recognize that in this state, there is a pulsation of energy between your hands if you hold them just a little ways apart. You can literally feel the energy transference. Then she encouraged me to place my hands over something I wanted to bless, and to allow the myself to feel the energy from my hands radiating to the person or object I wanted to honor with my love.

After learning to do this, I found it easy to place my hands over my food as I prayed. I wasn’t just saying words. I considered my words from my heart, so together the words I spoke and the energy coming from my hands were working in unison to actually give love to my meal.

Now, when I write on the inside of birthday card, I don’t just scribble some meaningless wish to the receiver. I pause for a moment and ask Spirit what blessings this person needs. Do they long for joy, prosperity, peace, love, fulfillment, fun, rest…? That’s what I wish for them and to make sure it becomes a blessing, I write that wish with my heart open, and the energy flowing from my heart to the paper.

A wish becomes a blessing when we get our heart into it. You can feel the difference when you give a true blessing, and you can certainly tell the difference when you receive one.

When blessing your food, here is something from Prayer by Tich Nhat Hanh