Personal Thoughts to Help Bring Grace Into Your Life

“Grace has to be the loveliest word in the English language. It embodies almost every attractive quality we hope to find in others. Grace is a gift of the humble to the humiliated. Grace acknowledges the ugliness of wrongdoing by choosing to see beyond it. Grace accepts a person as someone worthy of kindness despite whatever grime or hard-shell casing keeps him/her separated from the rest of the world. Grace is a gift of tender mercy when it makes the least sense.” –Charles R. Swindoll

I remember the start of any school year and a teacher telling our class, “Today you all have an “A”. It is up to you to lose it.”

You didn’t earn the “A”, you may not even feel like you deserve the “A” but you have it and it is precious.

We are born. We didn’t deserve birth, we didn’t earn the right to be born, it wasn’t “our turn” but somehow we are here and we have an unknown amount of time to use what we have been given, life, to the best of our abilities. The grace of life is like the universe saying: “Here is your life. You might never have been, but you are because the party wouldn’t be the same without you.” –Frederick Buechner

We were given DNA passed down to us from eons of generations and yet there is one thing we are all given at birth that no one can take away; Grace.

 “Life is grace. Sleep is forgiveness. The night absolves. Darkness wipes the slate clean, not spotless to be sure, but clean enough for another day’s chalking.” –Frederick Buechner, The Alphabet of Grace

I sometimes look forward to sleeping simply because I have a need to put this day to an end and to give myself time to restore hope for tomorrow. Every day I am given is like the universe saying, “Here is another day to make the most of you, for yourself as well as for others.” Every morning is like a rebirth into a life I was not deserving of. The awe of that thought is humbling.

To be sure, there will always be a need for grace and therefore also for gratitude. Gratitude and grace go hand in hand. Grace whispers breath into my soul and gratitude takes that breath and turns it into words and expressions and gifts to be given. “Grace is a very strong, mighty and active thing. It does not lie asleep in the soul. Grace hears, leads, draws, changes, works all in man, and lets itself be distinctly felt and experienced. It is hidden, but its works are evident.” –Martin Luther

In his book, Grateful for Everything, author Skip Johnson writes, “When we diligently study, learn, and apply skills of being grateful for everything, our day-to-day experience shifts from trying to stay one step ahead of problems to consistently trusting and appreciating life and all the lessons that are presented to us.” We were given life by grace and we maintain a graceful life through gratitude.

One of the hardest life experiences is to lose a loved one. That experience tests grace, gratitude humility, reverence and a host of other values. When my father passed away at the young age of 63 I was inundated with all of these feelings. He had been very, very sick with complications from diabetes among which took his essence from his family long before the disease took his body away and I remember the feeling of relief that washed over me and through me when my brother called to tell me he died. I remember the feeling of gratitude and grace that came over me in that moment. No more suffering. No more hardship in dealing with this disease. No more anger. No more fighting. No more tears. It cleared the way for me to remember him as my dad, the tall, sensitive, hardworking man that loved me like no one else could. Keeping his grace and gentleness inside of me, feeling grateful for having had him in my life at all, helps to insure his legacy will be strong and eternal.

It’s a given that we will stumble, fall, fail, make a mistake, err, slander and do wrong. We are human and we are at the mercy of our own evolutionary level of emotional intelligence. No two people are the same and no two souls grow and learn and evolve the same. What I may have learned at 15 may be something you are learning at 50. No worries in that because in our own time and at our own pace the lessons we need to learn will come and with it will be the emotional attachment that helps the lessons stick for good. That is grace.

I can remember many people who I have felt did me wrong in my life. I can also remember people who have shown me kindness and mercy and consideration simply because those character strengths were a part of who they wanted to be. At some point in our lives we all feel undeserving of kindness but the reality is we are all deserving of kindness especially at those low moments. That is grace.

When someone joyfully notices something about my character that I myself am in denial about that is grace; when a stranger can systematically list all the qualities about me that instantly attracted him/her to me that is grace; when a spouse can love you no matter what mood you are in, that is grace.  It is a persons’ unique, inherent ability to see goodness that makes grace unattainable through deeds. We are all born with grace and it is how we hold onto it and use it and grow with it that makes grace something to behold in spirit.

Grace is unconditional love, unconditional forgiveness and unconditional rebirth. You do nothing to earn it and it yet renewal is its life force.

How can we honor the undeserving gift of Grace:

  • Exist in a constant state of consideration and thoughtfulness. “You listen first with ears, then you wait and listen for what your heart feels, then you consider what they’ve said, then, you reply….” – John Geddes, A Familiar Rain

 

  • Express decency and mercy whenever possible, to yourself as well as to others. “When you are lying in bed at night and regrets from the day come to steal your sleep….’I should have’, ‘If only I’, ‘I wish I,’….grab one of them and turn it into ‘I will’ and sleep peacefully knowing tomorrow will be a better day.” –L.R. Knost

 

 

  • Act with grace in kindness, courtesy, gratitude and clemency. “Growing into your future with health and grace and beauty doesn’t have to take all your time. It rather requires a dedication to caring for yourself as if you were rare and precious, which you are, and regarding all life around you as equally so, which it is.” –Victoria Moran, Younger by the Day

 

  • Offer reprieve to those in need. Be helpful. “No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.” –Charles Dickens

 

 

  • Take grace on like a second skin. Let the evolution, spirit, charm and pleasantness of grace become part of your everyday character strengths.

“Poem by Howard A. Walter”

I would be true, for there are those who trust me;

I would be pure, for there are those who care;

I would be strong, for there are those who suffer;

I would be brave, for there is much to dare.

I would be friend of all, the foe, and the friendless;

I would be giving, and forget the gift;

I would be humble, for I know my weakness;

I would look up, and laugh, and love and lift.”

Call to Action

Where does grace live in you? Is it in your heart, your head, or maybe in your soul?

How can you express your unique grace to others today?

What does grace feel like for you?

Please share your stories. Your story could make all the difference in someone’s life.

 

If you would like to explore more about personal growth, building character strengths, or discovering what more you have inside of you please call for a free discovery session in my Art of YOU coaching program. You can reach me by calling 203-560-3061 or send an email to: lisa@journeyoncoaching.com.

 

4 Powerful Ways to make a Soul Connection

0001Black Swans

How do you receive messages from the universe?

In what ways do you stop what you are doing to listen to the messages?

Where in your body do you feel connected to the messages being sent to you?

How do you show gratitude for the messages?

“Gracious acceptance is an art…..an art which most never bother to cultivate. We think we have to learn how to give, but we forget about accepting things, which can be much harder than giving….. Accepting another person’s gift is allowing him/her to express his/her feelings for you.” –Alexander McCall Smith

For me, messages come along every day. I hear them in simple quotes that come along just at the “right” time, I hear them in lyrics to a song especially when I’ve heard the song many times but THIS time I am really listening, I hear them in certain words that people use that get my attention, I hear them in stories that clients tell me or stories that I read, or when emotion and energy are high. These messages are the ones that let me know that I am about to learn something and really need to pay attention.

I recently met someone that my soul connected with quickly and deeply. I wasn’t looking for this kind of connection and I wasn’t prepared for it when it came. I remember saying to this person upon our first face to face encounter how weird I was feeling at the moment we hugged “hello” because I felt like I had known him all my life. I felt peaceful and alive. I was easily able to maintain eye contact with him during the entire time we were in conversation, I was not distracted at all by what was going on around me, I recognized little things we had in common, passions for causes larger than ourselves that were in complete synchronicity to our life purposes, we connected in the same kind of spiritual/life language that each of us spoke and our curiosity about life itself seemed very much aligned. It was powerful for me because I had never known a connection like this in my life.

The connection for me was undeniable and I know it will stay with me forever.  I’d like to believe that the purpose for our encounter was to exchange an energy vibration that we each needed to recognize in order to move forward with our own life purpose. We are not friends or colleagues or acquaintances. As quickly as the connection was made it was gone. We were just two souls passing through each other’s lives for an oh so brief moment and I believe that the purpose was to leave a message. For me the message was to stay open, live with passion, receive with humility and gratitude, consider everything that comes my way and pay it forward and to find the love, endlessly, in everything I do.

“To regret one’s own experiences is to arrest one’s own development. To deny one’s own experiences is to put a lie onto the lips of one’s own life. It is no less than a denial of the soul.” –Oscar Wilde

A soul connection doesn’t happen very often, at least not for me. It’s kind of like when Bugs Bunny knew in his body that a carrot was beneath his feet and his whole being would vibrate and shake and tremor. Do you remember that cartoon episode? That was a soul connection; no doubt, no hesitation, no second guessing. He was so in tune with his own soul vibrations that he knew to trust it when it showed up that strongly.

Perhaps you have had a similar experience like when you catch a suspended moment in a stranger’s eyes or when you seem to easily strike up a conversation with someone when you know well that making small talk is not your strongest character strength. I believe that you were recognizing the other person’s amazing beauty and vibration. You found a comfort in their soul and connected to it right away. These micro moments of recognition, of messages that are trying to reach your soul are so powerful and everlasting that you are changed forever. The universe is speaking to you, asking you to be present, to notice, to stay open, and to recognize your own beauty and vibration because you matter too.

“Anything is possible. Stay open, forever, so open it hurts, and then open up some more, until the day you die, world without end, Amen.” –George Saunders

Listening to your soul vibrations, making a soul connection to the messages that are being sent to you is a practice worth strengthening. Very often we block out the messages that come to us for reasons like we don’t feel deserving, or we don’t want to hear that particular message or we were taught at a young age to stay focused on what is right in front of us….not to read too much into things, etc.

What would happen if we stopped to smell the roses, to savor the moment a message was sent?

How much more connected to our soul, our inner voice would we be?

What beauty would we find with this new, enlightened realization that the message was trying to send?

I define connection as the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship.” –Dr. Brene` Brown

The soul connection I felt to this new person that swiftly breezed through my life was a strong vibration that forced me to take notice. It opened up words inside of me that have been sitting at the surface of my soul but for some reason I was denying their existence. Words like reverence, awe, grace, spirituality, forgiveness, wonder, and self-worth. These are scary words for me to delve into. Each one of them is asking me to face demons that I feel I am not ready to face. But what if the message is that the universe feels that I am ready to face these words? What happens if I keep denying them? What happens if I open up each word one at a time and discover their power and their soul and make a connection?

So, that is what I am going to do. I am going to open each word and learn more about myself, about connection, and about how to use these amazing words to strengthen my existence and purpose.

I am starting with soul connections because that is the strongest feeling and word combination that has attached to me. Each of us has a unique energy or vibration that we live with and that lives within us.

Sometimes we let it drain out of us when we are feeling overwhelmed, exhausted, angry, lonely or unlovable. Sometimes we feel an abundance of energy and find it hard to contain. We may have recently had a lot of good things happen or we may be awakening to a new understanding or awareness that has changed our lives from the inside out and we feel compelled to connect with people of the same energy and awareness. I think that most of the time we live in a steady stream of energy that when honed properly guides us through our day to day and helps us make decisions and connections.

Have you ever noticed how you feel connected to someone romantically but not to everyone you meet?

Have you ever noticed how you feel connected to someone with a bit more compassion than normal, or clarity about their story, or playfulness or negativity?

Have you ever noticed feeling connected to someone but not recognizing connection back from them?

What were you meant to connect about?

Each soul connection vibrates your own energy toward that person’s own energy. Some people are meant to stay within a soul connection for a long time and some are meant to stay only for a short time but each connection serves a purpose. We may never know the true purpose but I believe that staying open to allowing those connections to be made and then knowing when to let go is very important. I don’t believe in empty soul connections. I may not feel the same energy connection toward someone that has a strong energy connection to me but that doesn’t mean that my purpose in their life is meaningless or vice versa. I do believe that when the purpose is served the relationship will end and we will both be better for having made that connection, if we allow for that learning and awareness.

So how do you begin to create awareness toward a soul connection?

Here are 4 ways that have helped me to create connection:

Live with intention:

“You’ve been given the innate power to shape your life….but you cannot just speak change, you have to LIVE change. Intent paired with action builds the bridge to success. You can’t just want it; you have to do it, live it… BE it! Success isn’t something you have, it’s something you DO! – Steve Maraboli

My soul connection came about because my intention was to network with people who had the same intention as I do to help bring about a positive change, one person at a time. Had I not taken the leap of faith and initiated the conversation, the connection, then none of this would be possible.

Ask for connection through the universe and through reaching out to other people:

“I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back. I’ve learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision. I’ve learned that every day you should reach out and touch someone. People love a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back. I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” —  Maya Angelou

As I mentioned above, I reached out. I made the connection live through declaring my intention to connect. I always ask the universe to please guide me to the people that can help me so that I can then in turn help them. Every person I meet has the potential to connect me to the next person and get me to where I want to go. I know when I’ve connected positively because the feedback is intense and positive.

Seek out attributes in other people, places and activities that make you feel alive:

“Seek out that particular attribute which makes you feel most deeply and vitally alive, along with which comes the inner voice that says, ‘This is the real me,’ and when you have found that attribute, follow it.” –William James

This is an on-going process for me. I am always looking for ways to expand my knowledge, my connections, and my tribe. I try to look for people and groups and activities that are of the same thought processes and intentions as mine. I believe more soul connections are possible if I surround myself with people who think about the world and see the world the way I do or hope to. However, there is always something to learn from those that exist outside of our own attributes. Staying open and curious will always lead to some stage of enlightenment.

Leave something behind that your soul can connect to when it goes to the next plane of existence:

“Everyone must leave something behind when he dies…something your hand touched some way so your soul has somewhere to go when you die…It doesn’t matter what you do, so long as you change something from the way it was before you touched it into something that’s like you after you take your hands away.” –Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

This to me is one of the ultimate ways in which we make soul connections that last not only in this life plane but carries over to every other life plane that our soul has. Great examples are the souls of my children. I have endless, as far as I know, opportunity to change and shape and mold their souls from the way it was when they were born into something that is a reflection of my existence when my hands, my heart, my words are taken away. The same holds true when someone says to you that you are unforgettable. You have left a seed of yourself in their soul to last through infinity. What could be better than that?

Call to Action

Make a list of ways in which you can start to create intention toward making soul connections. Take small, meaningful steps toward bringing your intention to life. Recognize when a connection is grabbing your attention. Take time to notice where in your body you feel connected and notice how you feel. What words come up for you at that moment? How can you use those words to create more intention and pay it forward?

Good luck. I hope our souls meet someday…..

Journey On…..

If you would like to explore more about making soul connections or would like to learn how to activate your intentions toward purpose please call for a free discovery session in my Art of YOU coaching program. You can reach me by sending an email to: lisa@journeyoncoaching.com