The Power of Grace
The exercise of love, kindness, compassion, mercy, favor.
The disposition to benefit or serve another.
That word is resonating with me so deeply right now. In the past few months (well years) I have been experiencing the clearing and emptying of alot of things, people, and beliefs I had been carrying around like a weight. I haven't been feeling very graceful lately and the lack of this has felt heavy and strange and lonely.
My old friend Jeanette Sealy recently posted a great quote about Grace on her The Lotus Experience page from Judith Hanson Lasater that caught my eye and inspired this latest practice of self inquiry (Svādhyāya in Yogic speak) .
"Become an empty container so the universe can turn towards us with Grace."
When I think about my last blog post I remembered I shared a quote from Thich Nhat Hahn about the joy and happiness that arises from letting go even though at that time I was trying so hard to do the opposite. Each of these quotes made me wonder why do we hang on things that do not serve us? Why do we hang onto hot coals even when they are burning our hands?
The answer that has begun to resonate with me after alot of soul searching is that the hot coals, although painful, are there to burn away the things that do not serve us. Sometimes we (apparently me more that most) need the hard lessons and the burning down, the blowing up, the emptying out to help us rebuild. It really is not always possible to lie in savasana and "let go of all that does not serve us" (as I often suggest in my classes). Sometimes we need that fire to burn so we can rise like a Phoenix from the ashes of what we thought we needed.
"How you climb up the mountain is just as important as how you get down the mountain, and, so it is with life, which for many of us becomes one big gigantic test followed by one big gigantic lesson. In the end it all comes down to one word, Grace. It's how you accept winning and losing, good luck and back luck, the darkness and the light." Unknown author
I have been here before. I will probably be here again. Each time I have felt burnt out and empty I discover the beautiful Grace that surrounds me. It is here in the form of community, nature, and art. I fall back to my teaching and studies and a belief in myself and the power of the love I have to give to my sangha and the love they give back to me.
This process helps me to get down to the heart of what I want, need, and desire in my life. It isn't easy to let this fire burn you up and empty you out. In fact, it is pretty scary. But in the end you learn who is on your side, what is really working, what you really can do, and how much you can love yourself to make the necessary changes and emerge with Grace.
“I do not understand the mystery of grace -- only that it meets us where we are and does not leave us where it found us.” Anne Lamott