A Grace-Full Life

A Grace-Full Life

“What kills a soul?

Exhaustion, secret-keeping,

Image-management.

     ~  ~  ~  ~ 

And what brings a soul back

From the dead?

Honesty, connection, grace.”

~Shauna Niequist

 

When I first stumbled across this free verse poem, several things struck me.

First, its truth—much wisdom summed up in few words.

Next, I noticed its form—one poem, two verses, three lines each—reflecting its content: one soul, with two sides (life and death), and three aspects each.

I thought, “Well, the first verse is bang on in my professional experience: exhaustion (emotional as well as physical burnout); secret-keeping (which carries a weight, chipping away at one’s emotional well-being) and finally image management (behaviour predicated on others’ approval) pretty much nets out the worst of the soul-crushers.”

Ms. Niequist has packed a powerful recipe into a few sparse lines.

And to carry my layman’s analysis a wee bit further, another observation: the soul-killers are all within our individual control. We can choose to rest, avoid lying, and stay true to our values.

But the second verse? You must share control.

Honesty is within your purview, completely within your control.

Connection you share control with others.

But grace? Uh, oh. That invites mystery and wonder, and is offered from elsewhere, somewhere outside your reach, out of your control.

But while grace may not be yours to create, it can be yours to extend.

“Grace is not part of consciousness; it is the amount of light in our souls, not knowledge nor reason.” ~Pope Francis

Some might call it forgiveness, I suppose, or acceptance, but I think grace is a bit more than that. There’s an aspect of mystery to it that I think maybe humans may not be capable of genuinely generating, the ego being so effective at blocking that which it cannot explain or justify.

The words grace and gratitude come from the same Latin root, gratus, meaning pleasing or grateful.

I think that the first step toward attempting to live a more grace-filled life, or at the very least a good place to start, may be simpler and more basic than an other-worldly, God-given thing that infuses our experience of life as a reflection of love, something we have to wait to receive.

Maybe the first step is simply to choose to feel grateful—about anything, all the time, or as much of it as we can.

Grace and Gratitude.

Maybe by extending the latter we may, over time, live our way into the former.



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About
Cynthia Barlow

Founder Cynthia Barlow

Facilitator, Author, Coach

Helping businesses build their people

When your people have the skills to communicate more effectively, they can connect more easily and collaborate more productively. Not only on the job, but also in life.

Communication, Connection, and Collaboration—the three “C’s”—are the cornerstones of all successful businesses. They are the result of Emotional Intelligence in action.

More details can be found in my recent best seller with co-author Jennifer Eggers:
Resilience: It’s Not About Bouncing Back

The power of resilience within organizations can transform an average company into a powerhouse. Yet, even in times of rapid disruptive change, there is no manual for building resilient organizations. This book is that manual.

“If you  want to build more resilience intentionally—personally and professionally—read this book.
~
Fran Karamousis, Chief  of Research, Gartner

 

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