So what exactly is it to have "grace" in our day-to-day, living and what does it cost us to fall from it, exactly? Let's look at an example to better illuminate this idea. It's the New Year, and you have spent two solid days brainstorming, building, editing and re-editing your business or life plan for 2008. You were determined that nothing short of a tsunami, Class 4 twister or ground-swallowing earthquake could keep you from accomplishing this task. You even took precautions like sending your spouse and children to the slopes for a weekend of skiing. You had your 13-yr-old hide the remote control. You cancelled the paper delivery, lowered the volume on your message machine and stocked the refrigerator with TV dinners. You DID IT! Your plan for 2008 is written in stone and into your calendar. Fast forward to January 31st. You set 5 goals to accomplish by the end of January and two of them have not been crossed off. These two unfinished goals seem to be lifting off the page, mocking you. The Gremlin in your mind can smell the failure, is drooling and smacking his gruesome lips. He leans in close to your auditory cortex and here is what he tells you:
"See there, all that goal-setting nonsense didn't get you anywhere. What a waste of time. Just forget about the rest of those crazy goals. You're not going to do them anyway. You're just too unorganized and way too busy. You're just not good at sticking to your plans."
And here starts "The Fall." The tumble can be steep and long, even littered with boulders. Can anything stop your dizzying somersaults? Do you really have to hit the proverbial "rock bottom?"
I believe that the thing many of us neglect to launch our meaningful endeavors with is the same thing that can stop a downhill spiral. The key is GRACE. Other synonyms for Grace are kindness, poise and blessing. If we mentally poise ourselves at the beginning of any undertaking with some self-directed kindness, thus unleashing the flow of Grace, our accomplishments, regardless of how big or small, would be perceived as blessings and can shield us from the Gremlin's fall.
Luckily, even if we do not first prepare ourselves with Grace and find ourselves falling on that slippery slope, we need only reach for the ever-waiting arms of Grace to help carry us back up the mountain.
Is there a formula for practicing Grace? I'm glad that you asked. My personal formula for practicing Grace is: G=R 3 , or Grace=(Recall) x (Reaffirm) x (Recommit).
The first step is to Recall all that you have accomplished in the past and to imagine the lift of good feelings and rush of endorphins that accompanied those wins. Next, it's very important that you Reaffirm who you know yourself to be at your very best. If you've got your list of positive affirmations, read them. If not, write a new set of 10 positive affirmations immediately. Finally, Recommit to those goals, visions and/or aspirations that you feel passionate about. If you've lost the fire for one goal or the other, examine why that might be. Is fear holding you back? If it is, it's likely a very worthwhile goal that needs to be broken down into smaller steps. If you feel a sense of boredom or simple disinterest, scrap it from the plan and move on.
Giving yourself Grace is not about giving yourself excuses. Excuses are external, verbal creations that are given to people whom you believe hold expectations of you. Grace is personal and steeped in forgiveness and new solutions. Excuses are mired in guilt and many times an unspoken desire to pass-off responsibility.
The following is a very famous quote that, perhaps, when you read it this time, will impact your consciousness in a whole new way.
"God, give us grace to accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed, courage to change the things which should be changed, and the wisdom to distinguish the one from the other" - Reinhold Niebuhr
All great accomplishments start internally, as a seed of thought in the mind. The goals that we set are the first promises we make to ourselves to bring those thoughts into action. If along the way we become derailed, or some of our goals seem to elude us, all we ever need do is to Recall, Reaffirm and Recommit, thereby summoning the blessings of Grace.
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