GRACE, MEET GRATITUDE
During the holidays, emotions can run high. Having a greater sense of grace might just be the answer for year ‘round peace of mind, according to our own Resonance Repatterning expert based in Austin, Mary Schneider, who shares her insightful perspective.
In the east, it is said that gratitude opens the gates to divine grace. When we feel gratitude, no matter our life circumstances, our pain and stress can be diminished. Among other similar characteristics, grace, and gratitude have one very important trait in common…both are qualities of the heart.
What is grace? It is a virtue we bestow upon another. Grace is a gift available to us whenever we choose. Either way, the feelings involved are often difficult to articulate. Although it might not actually be the case, both gratitude and grace seem to be in abundance during this time of year…at least on the surface. Of course, we all recognize the holiday season can be difficult for some individuals. Grief and loss can be amplified when a holiday connection or lack thereof is central. If we haven’t experienced this phenomenon, we all know someone who has, right? And in concert with the retail trade, therapists are busy this time of year: I haven’t seen my sister in a year. You might think, I must get into his life again because of the holidays.
What is tricky here is to be able to find gratitude in what looks to be worry or pain. Grace allows this through acceptance, a highly spiritual concept that cannot be underestimated. Taught in numerous recovery programs, what it underscores in addiction is the inability to accept whatever circumstances we’ve been given. To be sure, the first requirement of healing addiction is to accept we are an addict. Grace is also the gift we receive in true acceptance. To contact gratitude inside of this acceptance accelerates the healing process.
Whenever we encounter grace, there is a deep connection to and within ourselves, whether we are aware of it or not. Like the consciousness underlying everything, grace is always available for us to access from within. Grace can appear in a challenging situation, and it can alter the outcome in powerful, sometimes dramatic ways. What appears to be unresolvable is no longer. Sometimes it may take us by surprise when we recognize a shift weeks after it occurred.
Over the centuries, much has been written about grace in all faiths and spiritual paths. In the Christian tradition, grace is benignly and generously given by God meritoriously: it is earned. In other writings, it is seen as a state, as in, “She has been observed to be living in a state of grace.” There has historically been a disagreement between the concepts of grace and free will. This was resolved for me when I heard a speaker report, “The aborigines believe we were given free will in order to choose not to use it.” Grace enables forgiveness. When we forgive completely, the love unearthed beneath our lack of forgiveness is revealed. I recently came across this elegant quote in the newsletter of Brian Seth Hurst’s The Opportunity Management Company, “Love reveals anything unlike itself.” Therefore, we can free up space for the forgiveness of ourselves, and grace is the wind beneath our wings. Awareness of this engenders gratitude, and gratitude begets appreciation.
When we have appreciation, a cascade of neurotransmitters is activated that creates feelings of warmth, love, pleasure, and joy in the appreciative person, and the one being appreciated. This cascade can benefit the immune system and every organ of the body. With this heightened neurotransmission, our pain and depression are diminished. It is impossible to be depressed and grateful at the same time. Gratitude enhances our well-being–mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually.
HOLIDAYS ON NICE
A great deal of what we experience around the holidays is rooted in the spirit of giving. True giving is without any concern for acknowledgment or reciprocity. Although our acquisitive culture might take issue here, when gratitude is offered in response, it is a gift. It is enough. And grace is what we receive when we give without expecting anything in return.
Grace is a quality of the divine. Much of what we do encompassing kindness and mercy engenders grace. Grace is in the natural flow of all things. It is omnipresent and infinite–the frequency of the heart. We are not talking merely of the physical heart–it’s also the spiritual heart, which is the frequency of love.
In her book, Transforming Primary Patterns, Chloe Wordsworth reveals, “When we remember the Divine with gratitude, we will be content no matter how difficult our life circumstances may be.” If we do an online search for gratitude journals, there are hundreds of diaries available to chronicle daily gratitude. There are even gratitude journals for kids. Whatever we choose to avail ourselves of during this happy holiday season, may we all experience an abundance of grace and gratitude.