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  • Writer's pictureHannah Marsh

Offering Ourselves Grace

I invite you to pause and notice: how hard are you working? You might find an answer in the body. Are the brows furrowed or smooth? The jaw tense or loose? How about the shoulders, the hands, or anywhere else you know the muscles can be overly helpful?

Or perhaps you notice the state of mind busily moving from thought to thought or laser focused or spacious. There might be anxiety or numbness or calm. There might be something completely different - noticing what's here for you.

Sometimes, simply checking in with ourselves like this can shift or ease something. If we're working harder than needed, it might allow us to work a little less.* For me, this act of noticing my inner state can feel like finally seeing a friend who's been frantically waving to me; now that I've seen them, they can rest.

Sometimes, the inner state might be calling for something more (I walk over to the waving friend, asking what they need). If we're working hard, we might explore if we could work a little less. Gently inviting the effort to soften. Rubbing tense muscles. Offering ourselves a cup of tea or kind words or permission to let go.

We might offer ourselves some grace.

Chances are in this busy life, in this hectic world - with all our hopes and hardships and noble aspirations for ourselves and others - we could all use a little grace. As Mary Oliver reminds us in "Wild Geese":

"You do not have to be good.

You do not have to walk on your knees

For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.

You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves."

In our April Mindfulness & Creativity drop-in, we'll invite ourselves to work a little less in our mindfulness practices. We'll allow room for imperfection, playfully experimenting with our own words of care and loving-kindness. We'll explore what it might be like to give ourselves some grace.


*When we're already at ease, noticing might allow us to inhabit that state more fully. One of my teachers, Heather Martin, suggested that we search for peace, then blissfully drift away when we find it. How worthwhile to pause and appreciate it while it's here!


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