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Abounding Grace & The ‘F’ Word

angrywomanFor months, maybe even years I wrote about how I had observed the incredible life-affirming beauty of grace in action.

I wrote about people overcoming heart-shattering loss, adversity, and hardship with incredible grace; without fists to the sky, without making the lives of those around them miserable, without despair.

I wanted to be able to handle shit that way. I think we all do. What I have discovered is that we don’t necessarily want the practice that it takes to be graceful. In other words, it takes hardship to to learn how to navigate the rough rapids of change with some savvy and style; Without using the ‘F’ word, without letting the shit show shadow all of the other other elements of our lives that we have to be thankful for.

As I have been chronicling in my mid-life-move blog, Andsheshines, (Be sure to subscribe!!!)

I believe I’ve finally leveled up when it comes to coping. You can read about some of my experiences in the great adventure of preparing to empty-nest,  moving in with a man for the first time in two decades, and everything else that goes bump-in-the-night while those stages of life march onward. Time waits for no woman, and I’m going to ride my time like the wild woman that I am.

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Being Fully Present and the Wonder of My Awesome Mind

buddha-kiyoshi-nakamuraMeditation training sought as higher education following my graduation from the School-Of-Hard-Knocks seems to have paid off, both for my peace of mind, and my twisted sense of humour.

Grace, patience and discernment have all been qualities that I have had to nurture within myself. I was born a fiery, emotional, passionate, jump-in-with-both-feet kinda gal. Grace, patience and discernment are qualities that I’ve observed in others that I decided would look good on me. Likely a much wiser choice than my candy-apple red alpaca boa. Don’t judge.

So, with the challenge of challenging times, I make great efforts to both feel fully and completely my range of emotions, and balance those with being present. Fully present. As in holding the bridle of my ever-turning imagination of what-if’s and being in the moment.

Last night, as I lay in bed, the room was in complete darkness. Black. There was nothing but myself, and my monkey mind. I was wondering about all sorts of things; my parenting, my job, a deliciously handsome man….

…and then I caught myself. I was not in the moment. I was not still. I was not appreciating the cool air, the cozy sheets or the soft bed in which I was luxuriously stretched out. As soon as I brought my mind back to the present moment, my breath instinctively deepened, slowed, and I was happy. Happy! Happy in the moment.

My gift to you is a list of, Being-In-The-Moment-Moments, that I’ve experience so far this week;

  1. Stopping to smell the flowers (literally), and first being overcome by their beauty (one of my favourite shades of the softest pink), second feeling sad thinking of how long it’s been since someone sent me beautiful roses, and third, thinking funeral flowers come as a poor second behind real flowers while someone is alive.
  2. Observing traffic. Watching a man deeply and thoroughly clean out his left nostril with his index finger buried past the first knuckle, check to see if anyone was looking (he didn’t see me gaping in my rearview mirror), and then continue to analyze what he had mined. He then proceeded with the right nostril.  Hilarious. A good reminder that a firm hand shake may be second best to a curt nod.
  3. Being in a meeting with a person with such high anxiety that my gut reaction was to meet it head on. Instead, I took a deep breath, visualized a cocoon around my body and carried on without having my energy zapped. Why meet crazy when you can let it zip right on past? I hope this person either had a bottle of wine waiting at home or a really good prescription.
  4. Nesting. I tend to nest at back-to-school time. I like to stock the shelves, bake and cook. It feels good to nurture. I also noticed that at this point in my life, I would like someone to reciprocate the nurturing. Note to self; wear your cute smile whenever you go out.
  5. The peace of petting the cat. Seriously. This morning I was doing my regular social-media routine before heading out the door, and my trusted literary advisor hopped up on my desk and pinned his cute, little, pink nose to the window glass. I stroked his back and his purring caused great joy.  Note to self, spend more time with the cat.
  6. Needlework. I know, I know, who woulda thunk it. It’s a productive meditation that calms my nerves. Besides that, it results in really pretty stuff.
  7. The ring, ting, or beep of a cell phone. Conditioned like a dog am I. Ting, ting, harp string ring…yes, I’ll even risk life and limb to pick up the important things. Powering off the darn phone results in having to sign back in to APPs and a rash of ridiculousness, hence, it’s always on. Now, if I could just discipline myself to turn off the damn ringer!
  8. The virulence of mood. It’s amazing how easily a negative, or positive mood can impact those around you. Beware energy vampires, negative Nate’s and Whiney McWhinersons. Ick. Make sure you have a good dose of sappy happy hippies.
  9. Winding down for the night. I’m amazed at how tired I am when I get home from work, and then as the work day wears off how energized I am. That means I’m shocked when it’s midnight and I have to get up in five and a half hours. Hello snooze button and speeding through morning traffic…to everything there is an equal and opposite reaction. My hectic mornings are a direct result of my creative evenings.

Wishing you the peace of presence, the wisdom of discernment, and the ongoing cultivation of grace.

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Grace: Not Just a Popular Name for 8 Year Old Girls

grace-and-imperfectionGrace is a practiced art. It is a quality of character made up of a unique combination of natural poise, and practiced during the most difficult of circumstances.

As it so happens darling, yours truly was born with little grace.

I was launched into the world among a family of women who were either unstable (read; bat-shit cray-cray), or fiery as hell. I thank my lucky stars that my character was forged on the fiery side. Although passion does not ally itself with grace, it is more conducive to being trained to appreciate it.

During my lifetime as a working adult, I have had the privilege of journeying with people through times of crisis. Even though this tends to bring out the worst in people, it also brings out the best. Grace is a quality of character that I aspire to nurture within myself, and admire greatly among those who already have mastered the art of living with grace.gracewater

Being graceful is a cinch when the world is on your side, not so much when you’re experiencing crisis.

Suffering gracefully does not mean suffering in silence. It means suffering openly with those whom you can trust to honour your feelings without question. It also means knowing when to disengage with those whom have not cultivated the same quality of character.

Grace is a beautiful way of being in the world, and I have yet to master it.

With each challenge I recognize the opportunity to practice; to open to the world and accept gracious guidance, or seek shelter from the overwhelming amount of superficial advice and ill-informed opinions.

It has been a challenge for me lately, but I recognize my struggle for what it is, and it’s been a tremendous learning experience.

Wishing you the strength to carry yourself with gracious dignity, and friends who have already laid a path for your journey toward finding the strength to be  kind, gracious and loving.