I've been thinking a lot lately about grace. How much easier it is for me to grant grace to others than myself. And how when I don't grant myself grace...ease...I create so much suffering for myself.
I am my greatest critic. I have high expectations of myself. And learning to practice more grace with myself has been one of the most challenging practices. Mostly because of the consequences my mind tells me will happen if I did practice some more grace in my life with myself.
My mind tells me that if I gave myself a break for once, if I allowed myself to breathe a little more, to take a little more down time, that I'll become lazy, complacent. I'll loose the ambition that's driven me for so long. I won't keep dreaming big and running far. Does this story sound like a story your mind tells you?
It's a funny story isn't it? The best part is I know it is absolutely 100% untrue. I know, from experience in my own life, that when I grant myself some more grace in fact the opposite happens. I become more productive. More driven. I dream even bigger. I run even further. It feels absolutely backwards. Slowing down helps me move faster. Doing nothing helps me do more. Time alone helps me connect more. Standing still creates movement.
I've known this about myself and my life for a long time. And yet, I still sometimes fight it. I go through periods where I drop dead drag out fight myself about creating more grace. Something deeper inside of me says slow down...do less...be still just as the other part of me is revved up and ready to go. Each time is different when this internal conflict ensues. Sometimes I fight it for a moment. Other times the fight lasts for what feels like eons. In the end, I always surrender to grace. Always. And it always brings me back Home. My latest practice is to not wait for grace's invitation on my doorstep, but to actively invite Her into my life more every day.
If I sent you a screenshot of my calendar you might faint. Blocks of blue from morning until night fill each day. But this time, those blue blocks are different. In my past, every ounce of those blue blocks was filled with doing. Over time I've learned that I need more space in my calendar. And over time I created it. I planned it. I started putting in some pause between coaching client sessions. Before going to teach a class. But recently I noticed that the white space in my calendar invited the doing part of myself to create some doing in the nothingness. And then the fight would ensue. A part of me that knew I needed some grace and ease with the white space in my calendars and the other part of me that wanted me to be more productive damn it! Instead the white spaces became blue. And in the blue came more grace.
So you know the end of the story. Grace won. But this time grace won in a big way. As I close out 2015 and move into 2016, grace is at the top of my list of energies that I'm inviting into my life in a conscious way. Changes in my calendar. Changes in my relationship with breaks. Changes in my daily practices. Changes in my understanding of productivity. Grace is leading the way.
This week's Joy Tip Wednesday is all about inviting grace into your life. Last week's tip was visited by grace in fact. I wrote my Joy Tip last week early on Wednesday am and lo' and behold, it was deleted once again. What did I do? Let it go. The old me would have found any white space in my calendar to rewrite it. Or stayed up far too late to write it. Or cut my sleep the next day to wake up super early and write. Or all of the above. But I knew the best thing for me was to practice some grace. Forgive myself for using the same browser where it happened the last two times my joy tip was deleted and do my best to remember to use a different browser when I write. Understanding that to be a stronger coach for my clients and teacher for my students, it's more important for me to walk the example of practicing ease and grace than staying up late to write the weekly blog. Because there are enough people out there that will push through a blog and not enough of us out there supporting each other to be more graceful and easy with ourselves.
So this week, Universe willing, we'll explore how to practice some grace. As you start the week check in with yourself and notice what is your current relationship with grace? Do you have a story about giving yourself a break? Is it a bad story? A destructive story? What would be possible if you actively invited grace onto the doorstep of your life more? As you reflect, I leave you with these beautiful Merriam-Webster's Dictionary definitions of grace:
a : unmerited divine assistance given humans for their regeneration or sanctification
b : a virtue coming from God
c : a state of sanctification enjoyed through divine grace