50 Shades of Grace
Between partaking a yoga class online with my friend, Jenn Givler, attending a couple proprioceptive exercise classes with my shiatsu teacher, Saul Goodman, jumping back into Julia Cameron's "The Artist's Way", and feeding a newfound addiction to "Downton Abbey", I've been coming at this idea of grace from many angles.
Primarily, contemplating the question, what does it mean to 'live gracefully'?
On the one hand, we often associate 'grace' with a certain look - a sense of beauty, an elegant form, an ability to maintain an appearance of composure and self-control, even in the face of drama and bad behavior.
English society would seem to epitomize this, as a certain Dowager Countess claims when she says, "The truth is neither here nor there, it's the look of the thing that matters..."
British repression as a high and enviable art form aside, I prefer to think of grace as, '...an outward expression of the inner harmony of the soul', as William Hazlitt quotes.
But let's look at EnglishforStudents.com, shall we?, which says that the root 'grat' (meaning, 'pleasing') plays into many familiar words: Grateful (thankful, appreciative); gratis (as a favor, without payment); gratification (the state of being pleased); gratuity (extra money not earned); congratulate (to rejoice together with one who has been honored); gratitude (a expression of appreciation); gracious (courteous and pleasant), and of course, grace.
All of these variations have to do with thankfulness, favor, pleasing. And in particular, having to do with unearned or un-asked-for favor ... pertaining to both an act and the response.
Even the Chinese character 'grace' that appears in my logo (and on my right wrist) is translated as: "a
kind act from above", as in 'The Grace of God'. This doesn't
necessarily have to come from God. It could be a favor paid to you, or
help that you received (or gave). Of course, you can decide for yourself
whether the grace or favor given to you by a friend is actually a gift
So, to answer my own question - Living gracefully could entail living a life of gratitude, or living with the ease and effortlessness of one who is mindful and appreciative of being buoyed up by the favor of others (or Other).
What a difference this might make in our daily experience! To live in such a state of trust about one's own well-being provided for, freeing us up to pass those blessings along, as well as celebrate in the favors bestowed onto to others.
Quite the opposite of stress, yes? Rah-ther!!
I would love to hear your own thoughts about grace. Feel free to email me, but what I would really like is if you joined me in my little project below.
The lessons of the past year or two included the stunning realization that sometimes big life overhauls can only be undertaken in tiny momentary choices.
They may seem insignificant or spaced too few and far between. But dedication and willingness to take the footholds and fingerholds where they appear eventually add up to bringing you to the summit.
I've started another fun mailing list called 'grace period'
- small daily posts of words and images pertaining to grace. A quote, a
photo, an 'aha!' thought to convey, an experience... anything that
conveys an impression to inspire and expand, and enlighten your day.
AND (here's the really fun part), I'd like to invite your submissions! If you have something to share that conveys your idea of grace, I may publish it. And, if I do, you'll receive a little thank you gift - either via email or snail mail.
If you'd like to subscribe (or read more about 'why') just click here.