Grace is a word that floats in and out of my mind with no clear appreciation of its essence.
My recent connection to the word is linked to the U2 song, Grace: "Grace finds beauty in everything." Although I like this musical interpretation of grace, I needed more clarity on how to practice it.
With a curious mind, I headed to the 'almighty Internet' for answers. The early roots of grace date back hundreds of years and its definition has evolved over time. The most common translations are "elegance of form" or "gratitude" or "pleasing quality or goodwill."
Based on these clues, it feels like grace is reserved for Disney Princesses and holy people!
Still unclear on how to define grace? Same here! So I searched for words that were the opposite of grace. Here's what I discovered: "imbalance," "neglect" and "unforgiveness." Now, this is useful information, which revealed that grace is not beyond us. The whispers of grace thrive in us when we are balanced, mindful and forgiving.
Let's breakdown the practice of grace by applying the old school definitions to today's times:
- Elegance of form. How do you face the world, with a smile or a frown? Smiling is an act of grace that shows a heart willing to live in the moment and connect to all beings from a happy place. It also releases positive chemical reactions in the brain and body. Share a smile. Text a smiley face. Post a smile on your Facebook page. Email a smile to a friend or co-worker. Look in the mirror and smile. Drive and smile in the car.
- Gratitude. Appreciation brings out the best in us and in others. How do you feel when someone thanks you? Warm and fuzzy? Light and easy? Grace is the glow stick that lights up your grateful expressions. Say thank you. Be thankful. Receive gratitude into your heart and mind without guilt.
- Pleasing quality or goodwill. In what ways do you show the world you are valuable and capable of making amazing contributions to it? Offer your best self each day. Set the most positive intention to start and end your day. Extend your awesome gifts of love, tenderness and goodness with no expectations. Listen and see someone's heart before you interpret his or her words. Grace infuses itself in each of these acts of greatness.