I’m going to GraceLand
Grace. The word. What does it mean (anymore)?
Think about how the word used to & still does pop up in our lexicons & lives & realise just how varied its uses & applications are, from the spiritual to the physical, from the royal to the mythological.
The Merriam Webster dictionary gives many definitions; those include:
1 a state of sanctification enjoyed through divine assistance;
2 disposition to or an act or instance of kindness, courtesy, or clemency;
3 ease & suppleness of movement or bearing; ‘danced with such grace’;
4 used as a title of address or reference for a duke, a duchess, or an archbishop;
5 a short prayer at a meal asking a blessing or giving thanks;
6 Graces plural : three sister goddesses in Greek mythology who are the givers of charm & beauty;
7 a musical trill, turn, or appoggiatura;
8 the quality or state of being considerate or thoughtful; ‘accepted his advice with grace’;
There is a herb, rue, which is also known as Herb Of Grace (pictured above) & in older times, it was associated with remembrance, with healing, with creativity & even with magic & witchcraft!
In real life, away from dictionaries, let’s think about instances such as:
when we observe people acting towards others with grace (i.e., with mercy, kindness & empathy);
when people say grace before a meal (i.e., giving thanks, showing gratitude);
those who move with grace (i.e., using our bodies with respect, fluidity & ease);
the old famous song “Amazing Grace”, (an almost universal ‘spirit-lifter of a tune’, regardless of faith or creed);
the saying “there but for the grace of God go I” (i.e., realising how good we have it, how lucky many of us really are);
the home of Elvis, Graceland (a place ‘The King’ wished to be a sanctuary for himself & his family, a peaceful quiet enclave away from the madness of celebrity) & the song Paul Simon wrote about it. And so on…
So many many meanings to this one little word & yet not a word we hear much of or about anymore.
It's been on my mind, due to a number of events, happening on the worldwide stage, here in Ireland & also personally. What can we do to bring more Grace into our lives? How can we learn to have the good Grace to let things go, to move on, even we've been hurt by those close to us? How can we bring a state of Grace into our approach to life in general?
Hmmmm. A great place to start, as always, is on our Yoga mats. During our practice, we not only have the opportunity to allow ourselves to move gracefully, with ease, with kindness, by slowing down when we need to & tuning into how we really feel.
But we can also allow a ‘state of Grace’ to enter our beings - a mercy towards the self if you will, where we drop our judging & striving & show ourselves empathy.
Even going beyond mere thoughtfulness & being considerate to ourselves, can we perhaps ‘forgive’ our bodies & minds, showing ‘clemency’ towards the self so that we can move on from old physical & other kinds of hurts, other kinds of traumas & make our Yoga mats & our Yoga practice a sanctuary for the self?
Like the words of the Paul Simon song go,
“Maybe I've a reason to believe
We all will be received