May is here! It's the month of "The Big Day" and it's also the month that we are focusing on GRACE as our theme.
The word grace has been coming up quite a bit for me and my circle this month while in quarantine. Whether it be in the context of "grace under fire" or "showing ourselves and others grace," the common denominator in a lot of my conversations has been 'grace.' I've thought about what it means in preparation for this month but had a hard time because the definitions are endless. In some contexts grace represents 'thankfulness' like 'saying grace' before a meal. On the other hand it can mean giving others room to make inevitable mistakes (i.e. showing grace). In other definitions, it can be blessing a thing or situation by just being there/being a part of it. Gracefulness can be a manner. Have you ever met a graceful person? They might be a person who perpetually handles a situation with a level of elegance and appropriateness.
Grace means soooo many things and all of them good. I'll admit I was having a tough time trying to narrow it all down for this month's theme but then I decided, why try? This month we're doing alllllll the graces. Every single one. We are grace. Our name is now Grace. Mmkay?
So before the month started, I decided to dabble in meditating my way into 'grace' a little early as a kind of experiment because I wanted to see something. Here's the thing, I've never imagined myself to be a graceful person. I've been blessed to know a lot of people that I consider to be "graceful." People who are kind, elegant, appropriate, beautiful, intelligent and the list goes on and on. However, I always thought of myself as loud, clumsy, inappropriate and just not a graceful lady. I'd set the limitations on grace - as it pertained to myself - to the highest standards and came up short every single time. So I decided to define 'grace' for myself and become a graceful person, just for a day. I made a mental list of graceful qualities that I wanted to manifest and here's a rough version of said list...
1. Appropriateness - knowing when to zip it and when to speak up. Maintaining peace being the top priority.
2. Kindness - Being courteous and gentle with others.
3. Alert - Mental awareness to avoid being caught off guard.
4. Mature - Not seeing EVERY single opportunity as a time for jokes or play (this is a tough one for me!)
5. Forgiveness - Not sweating the small stuff and knowing that if things go wrong, we're all human and life goes on. This is the most important one (FOR MEEEEEEE... into infinity).
So I made this little list and I went about my day putting it into practice to the best of my ability. I was grace. I thought of Grace Kelly and Grace Jones and graceful ballerinas and graceful gymnasts sticking graceful landings. I thought of Claire Huxtable and Coretta Scott King and my third grade teacher Ms. Brown. I thought of all of the people in my life who exuded and extended grace and what that meant to me. I made sure not to try to become something that I wasn't, but instead, chose to quiet my mind and let these qualities seek me out in personal ways. Breathing deep, keeping the image of grace firm and in the forefront.
So here's the thing... I don't live alone. I have a husband (his name is Greg) and he has been quarantined with me every. single. day. Sometimes we get on each other's nerves but, for the most part, we get along pretty well. Anywho, after a full day of being my most graceful (appropriate, kind, alert, mature, forgiving) self, I wondered if he'd noticed that I was acting a little different. As mentioned, I don't consider myself a naturally graceful person. Long story short, he did NOT notice. Not even a little bit. He still has no idea. And this is not a bad thing. AT ALL. It means that the qualities and traits that I've always aspired toward - traits that I didn't think I possessed - are a big part of who I already am. It's been inside of me all along!
(*twirls into the sunset*)
At the same time that I was proud of myself for being such a 'graceful lady,' I also felt a little bad because I realized that I hadn't been showing myself grace all of these years. I focused on a lot of the times that I was too loud or temperamental or times when I'd said the wrong thing or didn't 'stick the landing.' I defined myself by these moments, disregarding a lifetime of having been kind and graceful. And in ignoring these moments, I was depriving myself of actually BEING graceful because had I seen myself as a graceful person, I would have been more intentional in SHOWING grace. Do you get what I'm saying? It's cyclical. A catch 20/20. And it applies to so many things, not just grace.
From this point on, one of my main objectives in life will be to show myself grace. I will continue to hold an image in my mind of what grace means to me, but that image will now look like me. That's MY personal goal for this month. How about you, dear reader? How will you grace this world? How have you graced this world? Would love to hear about your positive qualities in the comments below.