Assignment #9 – Kindness Blessings

Week 9 : Be Open to Direction

“We are always moving toward mystery.”

Assignment #9Reading: Finish reading Section V. This section includes some very moving stories. Choose one that touches you and reflect on it. Why has it touched you? What does it tell you about yourself? Consider if it is suggesting you do something or behave a certain way.

Kind Action: Being open to direction, allow an opportunity for kindness to find you and then complete it. Do this fully and mindfully, taking steps to complete it in the way you think it is meant to be done. See this action as having an integrity and it is your job to honor it. Additionally, try to act on any of the small, spontaneous opportunities for kindness that are presented to you this week.

Blessings Journal: The idea of this week, to be open to direction, makes your blessings journal all the more important. Note anything that you find meaningful or profound this week, be it a statement made, a newspaper article read, a scent, an aspect of nature, etc. Reflect on each of these things and ask yourself what is the message behind them. Those things that are profound to you are providing you direction.

Link to Book: “My Grandfather’s Blessings”


  1. Most profound: the final story in this section about the purpose that lies within death: Celebration. ” Dying may be a time of intense learning, as painful and as transforming as labor, and in the end we may give birth to ourselves. If something does endure and go on when we die it is our accumulated wisdom, which marks the place on the trajectory of our lifetimes where we will begin again.” Brings me such profound peace. My father, Korean Purple Heart war veteran, suffered what we now would call PTSD and TBI as a result of a bombing in Korea. This had a major impact on all of us for the entirety of our family time together. The final week of his struggle with cancer he settled into the best side of himself: the funny guy who loved his family and was full of wisdom born primarily of the streets (though he was a genius intellectually as well.) It was the most peaceful time many of us had ever experienced, sitting with him in hospice.
    This morning, I thought: what if, at death, the trajectory marked a place for him to return free of the PTSD and TBI? How joyful and beautiful it would be, That led to a realization that a process I created which manifested itself into extreme OCD behavior was not me being insane, but rather me disassociating from fear and replacing the fear of home with a fear of something that does not even exist in order to be able to deal with being in a household that was at all times very dangerous. That I wasn’t crazy as a child, but rather very smart. Forgiveness born of understanding leads to release from fear. What a glorious day!

  2. I was impressed by the symbolism of the chapter entited The Path. The idea Remen expressed was that not knowing where you are going may lead you in a direction that you did not anticipate. Just such a thing happened this week when I did an act of kindness for my 14 year old grandson. We own a lake house with his parents but during at least six months of the year we are in residence and they come out mostly on weekends. That overlaps with all their school vacation time in summer.

    My grandson has a girlfriend for the first time and he wanted to have four friends come out for a overnight the day school was out, Friday. We did a bit of a song and dance to find the best arrangement so we, his grandparents would not interfer with his plans and ideas for the visit. He started last weekend, when he told me about the plan, by saying, “Just give us some space.” I ended our subsequent discussions (mostly on Facebook chat) by saying “Maybe it would be best if we come stay at your house. It will not hurt our feelings if you would rather we do that.” He commented, “I guess that would be best!” So that is what we finally agreed on without help from his parents.

    As it turned out, my husband and I felt we were on a mini vacation, away from this house which is a lot of responsibility, for me especially. We had breakfast out at a French restaurant and had take-in sushi one evening with a delightful bottle of Pino Grigio. I also found a long block of time without distractions to finish some work that I really needed to do on our upcoming vacation to Iceland. I had been having trouble finding the time to do that project, but at their house there were no distractions.

    As it turned out the kids had such a great time, they all wanted to stay another night, and when his mother called us, she said why don’t you come back this evening anyway, so you can meet them and help me out as I am the only adult here. Which we did. So it was the best of two worlds, he was very happy with the exclusive time with his friends and we got to meet his friends and bring pizza for them for dinner. All three generations were happy! I was so pleased that I intuitively recognized that honoring his wishes was much more important than the inconvenience of moving out for an overnight. And I was rewarded!

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