As we begin 2019 amidst chaos and uncertainty, may you find serenity and peace as you explore these 3 keys to stepping into a state of grace.
How many of us walking on the planet lately are experiencing a gnawing on our insides, an uneasiness just below the surface of our consciousness?  Of course, this chasm can be attributed to many factors, from diet to politics and everything in between. Yet, what I refer to is a collective malaise, shared among all of us in one way or another. It could manifest as feeling unsettled, perhaps experiencing free-floating anxiety or angst that something is missing, something isn’t right or that there’s something I need to do, but am unsure what that might be? I have found this visceral restlessness to be linked to my desire for an external solution, someone or something to come along and fix it, easing my worries and taking away the pangs of frustration that incessantly infiltrate my sense of self, all pulling me away from where life is being lived: in the present. And as much as I keep my secret desire for a silver bullet under wraps, the truth is, more than ever before the answer lies from within. What I have come to understand, particularly given the extraordinary circumstances of our current social/political/economic state of affairs, is that it’s an inside job! But how does one find his/her way to a state of being that allows for serenity, love and greater understanding? That elusive and aspirational place is a place of grace, a divine presence that exists in all of us, veiled so often by our own driving sense of self above others and largely hidden in our 3-D construct. As Doctor of Psychology and dynamic change agent herself, Dr. Jan Seward, so aptly and elegantly describes,
“Grace is the ability to handle the human experience and to recognize our own frailties while forgiving ourselves.”
Ever since I was a boy growing up under the strictures of the Roman Catholic church, the term ‘grace’ found its way into my psyche, always non-descript and amorous. Grace, can you touch it? Is it real? How does one even attempt to acquire grace? Or is it something that we have all the time, but cannot easily access? These and so many other questions have permeated my thoughts for some time. However, in my own life journey over the past several years, I have discovered some keys to embracing a state of grace that I want to share with you. Being in GRACE is a choice– Grace simply exists and is available to everyone at any time. If we accept a simple description of grace as divine presence, we can look to those times when we experience that which is divine: love, compassion and understanding. Grace impacts us individually and as a collective. Every time a person tunes into another person’s sorrow, pain, heartache and fear on one side or joy, passion, encouragement, delight and love on the other, AND we do so from a place of genuineness and authenticity, we step into divine presence or grace. When we empathize with another person’s emotions, we spiritually and energetically close the distance between the two individuals, harmonizing in grace.GRACE exists in a state of neutrality– It is perfectly natural that individuals have belief systems that reflect the many variables that determine who we are and how we act in the world we live. The diverse nature of our global family is reflective in the myriad of tribal affiliations that sort people into silos of belief, albeit religious, ethnic, cultural, political and socio-economic. The unfortunate truth witnessed in our contemporary culture in the USA is that someone not a part of or aligned to my belief structures is considered as ‘other.’ The us vs. them construct has taken shape in our current cultural model indicative of the growing abyss we see in most aspects of our human endeavors. From adherence to politically driven cable news outlets to the rise of and distortion embedded in our social media programming, it seems that finding one’s way to a position of openness, flexibility and neutrality is almost futile. In this state of being, grace does not have the chance to infuse clearer, more loving actions. The greatest opportunity becomes stepping into the present tense to gain self-awareness. In this place, one has the opportunity to choose differently by setting aside strong beliefs, prejudices and biases that prevent us from bathing in the light of grace. When you encounter a situation and/or interaction that creates a strong emotional reaction, STOP, breathe and take a moment to consider the options available when leaning in towards a neutral position, one that will allow for others to share. What you may find are nuggets of love, compassion and understanding that otherwise did not exist. What you will find is grace.  Fast track to GRACE in forgiveness—As a human being, complex and multi-layered, we operate on many levels. Our thoughts bring with them emotions that direct our intentions. Our intentions create our choices, which ultimately form the reality we live in. Often times these thoughts and emotions are constructed based on how we perceive the world around us and those we interact with, either in-person or virtually in a digitally driven environment. And concurrently as a human being, we tend to forget that we are fallible. We make mistakes, errors, poor judgments, etc. Are you able to forgive yourself in your humanness? If so and if done with a humble loving heart, you have stepped into the grace of divinity. Furthermore, if you’re able to forgive yourself in your fallible human state, you open the door to forgiveness for those who have slighted you, or injured you in some way. Holding onto resentments, pursuing self-violence by chiding and demeaning oneself for errors and mistakes or hanging onto past pain-points as battle scars of pride, all prevent grace from flowing freely. The stories we tell ourselves may not be accurate. Try forgiveness on as a new set of clothes and watch the universe unfold differently.   These are challenging times for most of us, no doubt. Quelling the fires within, the undercurrent of discontent, angst and gnawing we feel, is not only called for, but demanded in these uncertain times. Grace is the internal fuel necessary to harness our full self-expression, even in times of duress. When you tune into where life is occurring—the present, and you choose to lower your guard enough to step into the presence of grace, shifts happen. Set aside that which you hold as a shield of honor, your strong beliefs, opinions and certainties to allow for others to join in, contribute and share their stories, beliefs and talents. What you may find is greater understanding, better solutions and even friendships. Lastly, forgive yourself for being human! In this forgiveness, grace can filter through the visceral plane to transmute darkness into light.
May your journey be one of GRACE!

Wishing you a wonderful, graceful 2019

With love,