The Meaning of Grace

Grace is such a large concept.
Endless opportunities of definitions, each varied by the viewers perspective.
To each one of us, grace means something a little bit different.
As I age and as I grow, I am more fully understanding the concept of grace.

Understanding the depths of Grace

As a young girl, my definition of grace formed through watching figure skaters and dancers on tv. I seen them twirl, jump, spin, and move with such fluidity – thinking to myself, “This is it! This must be grace!” I had understood only its surface meaning, dazzled by the dancers on tv.
As I grew, I stumbled, fell, and bruised my knees. I fell in love, had my heart broken, and experienced loneliness. I moved to new places, met new people, and discovered new sides of myself. I went through hardship. I encountered sides of myself I didn’t like. I changed. I tried again. I fell down again.

Through my development, through direct experience with challenge and hard work, the depth of grace began to reveal itself to me.

Graciously dealing with situations that trigger us

This is a tough one, but allows for huge amounts of growth.
Handling challenging situations gently is a great skill to work on. Life is going to throw many different and unique obstacles at us, and this is real-life practice on becoming better human beings. Through each challenge we are being given an opportunity to breathe and grow.
When triggered, we can take some time to breathe and reflect on why the feeling has come up.
This takes patience! Patience with ourselves, and patience with those who triggered us.

Acting with grace involves patience and remembering to breathe.

Why am I feeling triggered?

This is an ongoing lesson for me, and I suspect it always will be.
I find myself triggered the most in close relationships; like lovers, friends, or family.
These situations triggered emotions. At first, I fought the emotions, hid from pain and covered it with anger. But I knew anger is just a cover, and asked myself “Am I really angry?”
Sometimes I was angry, yet most of the time I was upset, sad, frustrated, jealous, lonely, or confused. Whatever it was, asking myself this question allowed me to validate what was actually going on. Now through understanding of the emotion, I was able to ask “What can I do to feel better?”

Asking myself these questions allowed me to understand my emotions on a deeper level. Through this greater understanding, I am better at staying in my center while responding to triggers.

Gracefully standing our ground

Standing our ground can manifest in many different ways. There are often lots of opportunities for each of us to practice using grace in these challenging and defensive situations

Setting clear boundaries

Setting boundaries is a lifetime journey of discovery, speaking the truth, having authority, and understanding oneself. Its takes courage to speak your truth and communicate when boundaries have been crossed. This graceful authority is holding so much love for yourself that you have to be true to your wants and needs. This blooms through self-discovery and self-understanding. With practice this gets easier with time, and can eventually become second nature. Setting clear boundaries is the number one way to better relationships. The effects are long lasting, people will treat you better because you have taught them how to treat you.

Speaking with grace is an important tool. It will help for calm, effective communication.

Relinquishing the past with grace

Through direct experience with aging elders, I seen first-hand the radical differences between those who were willing to let go, and those who are attached. It showed clearly the main roots of challenge in being attached, and allowed for a wonderful teaching moment in what it truly meant to let go with grace.

Practicing non-attachment

Throughout our lives we have many opportunities to relinquish attachment and surrender to the flow – and it is probably one of the hardest lessons to learn. Attachment stems from two main lies we tell ourselves; the first being ‘I know everything’, the second being ‘I am in control’.

It is easy for our egos to quickly rear its head when we are faced with letting go of something we are fond of. How can we tell ourselves we have all the power, when we can easily look around and see the smallness of our existence threaded into the grand scheme of things? We are only one small part of a giant cosmic flow. Through this gradual understanding, we can begin to see the toll it takes on our spirits to hold onto something so closely. The universal flow will run its course whether we like it or not. It is much easier to step back, and allow things to unfold as they are – for better or worse. The best practice of mindfulness is to dwell in the present moment. Not holding onto the past, nor trying to create the future. Instead, finding the joy in the moment and revelling in that.

Relinquishing with grace is a lifelong practice. Non-attachment to physical things will unblock the flow of growth.

The depth of grace continues to reveal itself to me as I grow.
May having patience and breathing through difficult times help each of us act with grace.
May asking ourselves important questions help us to understand our emotions.
May setting clear boundaries and using effective communication help us speak with grace.
May non-attachment open the flow of growth.
May our courage allow us to let go with grace.

Love & light dear sisters and brothers.

Human Family – Maya Angelou

Human Family

I note the obvious differences
in the human family.
Some of us are serious,
some thrive on comedy.

Some declare their lives are lived
as true profundity,
and others claim they really live
the real reality.

The variety of our skin tones
can confuse, bemuse, delight,
brown and pink and beige and purple,
tan and blue and white.

I’ve sailed upon the seven seas
and stopped in every land,
I’ve seen the wonders of the world
not yet one common man.

I know ten thousand women
called Jane and Mary Jane,
but I’ve not seen any two
who really were the same.

Mirror twins are different
although their features jibe,
and lovers think quite different thoughts
while lying side by side.

We love and lose in China,
we weep on England’s moors,
and laugh and moan in Guinea,
and thrive on Spanish shores.

We seek success in Finland,
are born and die in Maine.
In minor ways we differ,
in major we’re the same.

I note the obvious differences
between each sort and type,
but we are more alike, my friends,
than we are unalike.

We are more alike, my friends,
than we are unalike.

We are more alike, my friends,
than we are unalike.

Wild Geese – Mary Oliver

Wild Geese

By Mary Oliver

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about your despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting —
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

Adventuring into Costa Rica

The traveling life is the life for me.

 

It was just over 15 months ago when I decided to leave my sweet, slow lifestyle in B.C. Canada, behind. I craved momentum. Yearned for change. I decided to embark on a journey into Central America. A place painted with rich culture, historical sites, and great food.

I planned to go for 3 months…

Yet here I am, with no plan to return home anytime soon.

So the journey continues.

I am now currently in Costa Rica; where the sand is white and the jungle is thick.

One of the newest land developments on Earth, aging just over 3 million years old.

The energy here is young, full of enjoyment, and truly sticks to its slogan “Pura Vida,” literally translating to “ Life is Pure.”

San Jose is the capital city, enclosed by 3 volcanoes; Volcan Poás, Volcan Barva, and Volcan Irazu. The three of which stand tall around the valley, sometimes even blowing off some smoke. They create great hiking trails, through the thick jungle, past beautiful waterfalls, finally reaching volcanic lake craters with amazing views.

Volcan Poás is one of my favourites. It is one of the world’s largest active volcanoes; with 2 crater lakes. The northern lake known as Laguna Caliente, or “Hot Lagoon”, is one of the world’s most acidic lakes. And the views of it from the hiking trail are amazing.

I don’t prefer to stay in cities long. Although the lights and activities are tempting, I am always pulled to the countryside – in this case, the beach! Costa Rica has some great beaches, with most of the country a coastline; either to the Pacific Ocean, or the Caribbean Sea.

I recommend visiting both, because each coast boasts of its own unique flavour.

During my travels I discovered a unique little place, on the tip of the Nicoya Peninsula. The people here are so friendly, and the food absolutely delicious. People spend their time surfing or practicing yoga, and watching the sunsets at the beach are the best.

So I found myself a safe sanctuary, and decided that I will stay for awhile.

Waiting to see what is unfolding next, and enjoying the scenery around me.

Life sure takes you places!