Thursday, June 9, 2011

there but for the grace of June go I

It's a new month, which means a new set of qualities to explore; this time it's Grace, Transcendence, Presence, Patience, Honor, Peace, or, for the purposes of simplicity, Grace.

Now, I'm clumsy. I bruise easily, and sometimes act like a cat with its whiskers cut. It also just so happens that falling down is a family pastime, so when I say "grace," I'm not talking about the ability to move through space without bumping into things. Nor am I looking at the kind of grace you "say" while sitting around a table drooling over your mashed potatoes. I'm looking at something more internal, something quiet and gentle that combines the human/alive elements of presence and patience with the spiritual pieces of peace and transcendence.

Many people see grace as having a relationship with god or some other higher power. And to some extent I agree with those people -- any time I connect with the best qualities in myself, I feel like I'm aligning with the best parts of the universe. But for me, the experience of grace is very personal and is very much within my own ability to control. When I speak or act with heart, I feel grace. When I live in alignment, I feel grace. When I rely on the fortitude of my own convictions, I feel grace.

A lot of my definition of grace as a quality has been shaped by a play a friend of mine wrote that I saw performed a couple of years ago. Simply titled "Grace," my friend Sara Thigpen's play was one of the most beautiful and moving pieces of theatre I've seen in a long time. Though many of the details of the storyline escape me (all these years later) I remember seeing situations that called on women in difficult positions to soldier through -- but to do so delicately, carefully, lovingly. The play was so full of genuine care, love, and dedication, it made me want to know those women, to have them care for me. And that's the kind of energy I want to put out there in the world.

An old boyfriend of mine once told me he felt I was the tree under which he could take off his skin and sit in the shade of my love. And that feels like grace. The creating of a safe place, a shelter, a haven; I think those take grace.

Grace takes optimism and effort. It takes alignment and intention. And I'm excited to give those this month to find out more about it.

How do you define grace?

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