Grace. What come to mind? For many no doubt, it’s the delightful connotation of a family meal and the blessings offered before diving into the treats form the kitchen. But consider the alternative meaning: to act with grace; gracefully. To move or behave with elegance or in a pleasing manner; polite or kind; to act in a controlled and pleasant manner; to conduct oneself with dignity in an awkward or difficult situation. At least in my mind, to rise above the moment and to maintain an attitude or posture of remaining confident and proud; to maintain integrity; to recognize you are more than the moment. It is an art; a choice to walk in the light – to rise above the situation.
In Seinfeld (I remain a huge fan of the show) Elaine was interviewing for a job and she mentioned that she thought she had a little grace. She was quickly rebuffed with the comment that you can’t have a little grace; you either have it or you don’t. And you can’t acquire grace. Very funny moment, but I totally disagree with the concept. I firmly believe you can acquire grace; it is, in fact, a choice.
I know, I know – I’ve pondered in previous writings of whether we truly have any choice at all in our lives. But this is a matter of how we intend to present ourselves to the world; how we want to display who and what we are. Similar to one of my more recent writings on lowering our armor, it is a conscious choice we can make. What we can’t do is change how people receive our behavior. They will do with it as they see fit, biased and filtered by their perception and perspective. That we certainly can’t control. But we can control how we conduct ourselves.
Frankly, it is far more common to use the term “handled with grace” associated with the elderly. I am not elderly yet, but it is on my immediate horizon. When I was younger, I had testosterone oozing from every orifice; I was quick and nimble of both body and mind. I was rarely in need of of grace as I had so many other gifts to help in difficult moments. And the self absorption of youth essentially negates the need for grace for, let’s face, as youths we barely recognize anyone else exists, never mind care what they might think. But as we age, our reflexes slow, our strength slips from us, and we stumble more – physically and socially. And it matters to us more. Especially socially. As I’ve mentioned before, Socrates taught us that the unexamined life is not worth living. We all want to grow, to achieve, and to conduct ourselves with dignity and integrity. To have poise and balance – spiritually anyway….
Grace is walking with a smile when you want to run with a scream; it is holding your head high when it so wants to hang. It is, in my mind, the single most courageous act one can perform in a difficult social moment. It can actually lead us to soar above and beyond our self-efficacy for that moment. It is a failure of your spirit to surrender to the unpleasantness of the moment; an internal choice to buoy oneself above the waves of discomfort. It is the musicians playing elegantly as the Titanic slipped beneath the cold sea.
Just as we can all decide whether we like our first taste of a new food or not, the decision is partially already made for us with our genetics. The means by which we choose to react is partially by our nurture and partially by our nature; but the decision to do so is ours to make in the moment. Ascension is in our nature; to take the higher, to soar to great heights, and to rise above it all. But we still must choose to do; sometimes solely for our own betterment and sometimes for the greater good. But always the better choice. Aim high dear reader!