Small Devotions: Newspaper Blessings

April 12, 2021 | Filed Under Devotions, Things I Think About | No Comments

This post is part of my Small Devotions series—small moments and small actions that are touchpoints throughout my day, which arose gradually and without a lot of planning or intent on my part, and which serve as reminders to stop and take a minute to get out of my head and restore some perspective to the day.

I am one of those people who reads a newspaper at breakfast—an actual, printed-on-paper newspaper. My local paper is the San Francisco Chronicle. I start with the comics at the back, and work my way forward to the front page, because I believe that no one should read the front page of the newspaper before they are properly fed and caffeinated.

Part of my ritual is reviewing the classifieds. I am fascinated by the Fictitious Business Name (FBN) statements, because, even though most of them are pretty straightforward – “Da Silva’s Accounting Services, Inc., registered by Alicia da Silva”, a few turn up fun names, or names where it’s not clear what the business does. One company has a dba of “Drunken Goat”, and I’m fairly certain that they are not actually in the business of giving intoxicating beverages to farm animals. It’s also fun when my company publishes our statements—it’s a definitive reminder that yes, I run a real business that does real business things, which is a nice boost.

I also enjoy reading them because it means someone is starting a new business, or has reached a five year milestone for their business. (San Francisco businesses have to refile their FBN every five years.) For the new companies, it’s exciting—someone has ideas, and hopes, and plans, and hopefully enough capital to fund their business long enough for it to become profitable. Maybe they’re leasing an office or a storefront, and hiring employees, and buying supplies (you really do have to spend money to make money, that’s not just an adage), and doing their part to send money into circulation so that it will come back to them through the customers of their own business. For the companies renewing their names, it’s also a celebration, because they have made it through another five years, and are still in business.

I read through the FBN notices, and see if there’s anyone I know (sometimes, it happens!). Then, I place my hand over the notices, and offer the following blessing:
May your business prosper and thrive.
May it provide a good living to you, your employees, your consultants and contractors, and your vendors.
May you provide a useful service, to the highest standard, for your clients and customers.
May it be so, for the highest good of all.

I don’t know if it helps, but I figure it also can’t hurt. Someone doesn’t have to accept a blessing sent their way, but perhaps, now and then, one of these entrepreneurs can sense that someone is wishing them well, and perhaps it provides the encouragement they need at that moment to keep going, to keep working to make their business a success.

I also check the Port Schedule, because it’s fun to see where the ships (cargo ships and cruise ships, both) are coming from and where they are heading to when they leave. I offer them this blessing:
May your seas be smooth.
May your journeys be pleasant.
May your progress be on schedule.
May all beings on the ship be well.

I also read the legal notices (a habit from years of working in law firms) to see if I recognize the attorneys involved. I offer this blessing over those listings:
May these matters settle efficiently and fairly.
May justice be done, for the highest good of all.

The notices all include calls for proposals or bids on public works projects. It’s interesting to see what’s happening—road improvements, school repairs/construction, utility upgrades—and see if any of it is going to reach my neighborhood. For those listings, I say this blessing:
May this project be done by the most suitable vendor.
May it be done on time, on budget, and to the highest standard.
May it improve the quality of life for everyone involved, for the highest good of all.

Lastly, I read the obituaries. Some years ago, a dear friend died, and no one told me, because everyone thought someone else had told me. I found out a few weeks after the fact, when I sent him a text, and received a reply from his brother, who was dealing with sorting out my friend’s estate. I offer this blessing:
May you pass peacefully to the afterlife you hoped for.
May your loved ones find comfort.
May your memory be a blessing to them.

I realize most people don’t read newspapers any more, so this may not seem like something that applies in your life. If you don’t read an actual paper, next time you are on a news site, you could try this practice with one of these sections on the website, and see if that works for you.

May your reading bring you blessings!

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