Grace Notes

This week’s newspaper column:

“Happy is your grace,
That you can translate the stubbornness of fortune
Into so quiet and so sweet a style.” ~ Shakespeare, As You Like It

Confession: I have always wanted to be graceful in all its diverse incarnations: elegant, willowy, lithe, agile, light on my feet, dignified, gracious, refined, charming and poised. Confession number two: I have always come up short—particularly in the lithe, agile, light on my feet definitions of gracefulness. The other meanings of grace I leave up to others to discern—you cannot judge your own graciousness or charm, you can only aspire to them.

Shakespeare’s definition of grace above, which I take to mean is the way in which we handle our fortune (or misfortune) is more abstract, but those of us not blessed with agility can try to emulate—“a quiet and sweet style”, rather than one that is brash and vulgar, arrogant and aggressive.

Another definition of grace derived from “The Book for Dangerous Women” is one that I can more easily aspire to as it does not require one to glide through life in a manner that does not include tripping (something I do quite regularly and will expound on more later). The three authors, Clare Conville, Liz Hoggard, and Sarah-Jane Lovett offer this wisdom under the heading of grace, and I have not read a more cogent and thoughtful treatment of the subject:

“We all have a higher self somewhere inside us. This is where your capacity
for kindness, wisdom and courtesy meets your love of family, and generosity
toward your friends and workmates transcends any negative or bad feelings
you have had. Graciousness reigns in this realm and if you can access your
higher self in times of strife it may well get you out of all kinds of trouble and
bring with it a feeling of great calm and serenity.”

So plumbing our depths for grace does not necessarily have to include that which I have so often reached for superficially—being swanlike and agile. I have never had inherent physical poise. I have to remind myself not to slump and to walk with my shoulders straight and head up. I try to tame my “duck” walk with feet splayed out rather than pointed in the direction I am going. And more recently, I try to cover up the fact that my balance is off.

Over the weekend I attended a lovely celebration for a couple who are now blissfully wed. Walking from one venue to the next, I attempted to climb the stairs to a restaurant in town, but for some reason I miscalculated and almost ended up hurling myself against cement steps and a brick wall. There are falls and then there are falls. But have you ever started to fall and just know that you are not going to be able to catch yourself? And you know if you do not, you are really going to maim and bruise yourself—and quite possibly break something? A helping hand reached out and prevented this—I do not know who helped me as I was quite shaken by the incident at the time, but whoever you are, if you are reading this—thank you, thank you, thank you.

I would like to be someone who floats effortlessly into a room but I am not. I have determined though that most of the factors that define grace are less contingent on physical gracefulness and more reliant on developing our higher selves—graciousness and kindness being at the top of the heap.

One of my heroines and the epitome of my definition of graceful is Audrey Hepburn. And it is not just because she exuded class and elegance—it is because her definition of beauty encompasses all that is graceful. She said:
“For beautiful eyes, look for the good in others; for beautiful lips, speak only words of kindness; and for poise, walk with the knowledge that you are never alone.”

In her words therein lies gracefulness.

What is your defintion of Grace?

Published in: on September 23, 2014 at 2:13 pm  Comments (36)  
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Resolution, Smezsolution…………….

Grace-for-all

Grace-for-all (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There is a movement afoot that will change the face of New Year’s resolutions forever if it is taken seriously. I don’t know about you, but I am tired of the same old, same old resolutions. The revolution of the resolution takes the stance that we find one word that defines what we want to achieve and use that as our resolution. I love this approach.

When I heard about this new way of looking at resolutions, the first word that popped into my mind was “grace”. I think that it covers everything I want to achieve, be, and defines how I want to be treated. The following quotes (from brainyquote.com) illustrate just how wide the scope is that grace embraces:

1. “Jesus wept; Voltaire smiled. From that divine tear and from that human smile is derived the grace of present civilization.” ~ Victor Hugo

2. “Courage is grace under pressure.” ~Ernest Hemingway

3. “Beauty without grace is the hook without the bait.”  ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

4. “Grace has been defined as the outward expression of the inward harmony of the soul.~ William Hazlitt

5. “Teach your children poetry; it opens the mind, lends grace to wisdom and makes the heroic virtues hereditary.” ~Walter Scott

6. “Grace is available for each of us every day – our spiritual daily bread – but we’ve got to remember to ask for it with a grateful heart and not worry about whether there will be enough for tomorrow.” ~ Sarah Ban Breathnach

7. “But – but the greatest way to witness is by walking that straight and narrow and also realizing that you’re going to mess up. That’s what grace is for. We’re going to fall, but we’ve got to get back up. And you’ve got to improve. And that’s what I’m all about.”  ~ Tim Tebow

And if that is not convincing enough of grace’s versatility—here are just some of the definitions of Grace in the Encarta Dictionary: generosity of spirit—a capacity to tolerate, accommodate or forgive people; a short prayer of thanks to God said before….a meal; pleasant and admirable quality or characteristic; elegance, beauty and smoothness of form or movement; dignified, polite, decent behaviour; in Christianity the infinite love, mercy, favour and goodwill shown to humankind by God.

And I will end with some wisdom from Anne Lamont: “I do not at all understand the mystery of grace – only that it meets us where we are but does not leave us where it found us.

What would your one word resolution be for 2014?

Published in: on January 2, 2014 at 12:06 pm  Comments (26)  
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Do You Say Grace?

English: Saying grace before carving the turke...

English: Saying grace before carving the turkey at Thanksgiving dinner (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is my family’s grace

For health and strength

And daily food

We give thee thanks O Lord

Amen

 

This was the grace I said when I was a little girl:

God is great, God is Good

Let us thank him for our food

Amen

Short and sweet and to the point and something even a little kid could remember.

 

Since this is Canadian Thanksgiving and saying grace seems to be the grateful thing to do—do you have a grace you can share?

Published in: on October 13, 2013 at 11:49 am  Comments (27)  
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The Bliss of Stillness

Stillness n' Peace (View in full size)

Stillness n’ Peace Photo credit: . Dileepan

“Stillness has been an acquired taste.” ~ Sheila from Grace and Space

Time is a precious commodity and is the subject of Sheila’s post today. She says she is a doer, a list maker, someone who likes to accomplish things—and that stillness has been something she has had to learn to consciously appreciate.

I have always loved stillness—I need it to replenish my stores. In stillness my imagination is given free rein. Yesterday I complained that I had “nothing” to say, but in response many of you advised me to enjoy it and use it, and once I took in this wisdom I had peace.

Do you find bliss in stillness, or is it a hard thing for you to achieve?

Published in: on March 5, 2013 at 11:11 am  Comments (50)  
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Day 14 ~ 200 Words

Maybe this little vignette will cool you off this hot summer: I call it ~ “Close to Grace” ~

Pond Hockey Tournament, Rawden Creek, Stirling...

Pond Hockey Tournament, Rawden Creek, Stirling Ontario_4195 (Photo credit: Bobolink)

The whole pond was mine for the taking.  But it was not an easy taking. It was not close by and there were no sidewalks or trails to take me there. It took a rugged trip through furrowed fields, clambering over fences, jumping across a wide stream, and running down a small hill to get to the frozen pond. But it was a trip worth taking.

Every year, during the Christmas holidays, my sister and I would bundle up, and with our skates tied together in a loose knot and thrown over our shoulders, we would make our way to “our pond”.

Sometimes the pond  was smooth and clean and the skating easy. Sometimes the pond was snow-covered and bumpy—but we didn’t care. We had fun no matter the condition. And when we got bored with skating around the pond, we would venture into the tiny forest that bordered it.  Holding onto the slender trees, we would skate in and around them—sometimes imagining them as partners in our ice dance. It was as close to grace as I would ever get.

Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir at the 2010 World ...

Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir at the 2010 World Figure Skating Championships. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By the time I was 16, the pond had lost its magic for me.  I still have the skates though, purchased when my mom thought my feet were still growing. If I donned them today, I am sure the dreams of decades ago would still resonate and grace would be mine again.

Published in: on July 19, 2012 at 2:21 am  Comments (29)  
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