Marissa C. Knox
When life is painful or difficult, we are often told to “give ourselves grace.”
But what does this really mean?
How do we give ourselves the thing that is already and always here?
Perhaps it means to be self-compassionate, or to allow ourselves to be human.
Or maybe it is about prayer, asking for help, seeking guidance.
Some might give themselves grace simply by giving themselves space – space to feel, space to rest, space to breathe, space to be.
It may be the act of listening to a song, a bird, a river.
It may be a delicious nap.
Yes, and there is no one right way to give ourselves grace.
For me, giving myself grace is a life practice.
It is a way of being that guides my days and provides an anchor, a compass, and a map for how I want to be in each moment.
Trusting in the presence of grace is how I begin and end each day of my life.
Though, this is not something that always needs to be said or done, but more often it is simply felt and embodied. Remembered.
I am a remembrance of grace, and this is how it feels to remember.
“Feeling grace is the sensation of soft rain.
It requires nothing from us
but to be under an open sky,
willing and available.
Feeling grace is the sensation of a deep breath.
It requires nothing from us
but to exhale and let go
so that we may receive
the nourishing nectar
of the following inhale,
allowing ourselves to expire
and be inspired
over and over again.
Feeling grace is the sensation of our Divinity.
It is the sensation of
the Great Mystery,
It requires nothing from us at all.
And it gives us everything we need.
Grace.” (Knox, 2020)
When I remember, I touch a tapestry of teachings and unfold my awareness into g.r.a.c.e.
It is g.r.a.c.e. that will be the map, compass, and anchor for our retreat in September.
g.r.a.c.e. is an acronym where each letter represents a sacred contemplative theme:
G is for Grounding in the Grace of Gratefulness.
R is for Remembering to Rest in the Rainbow.
A is for Attending to What Is Already and Always.
C is for Centering in Connection.
E is for Exhaling and Embodying.
First, we steep our awareness in gratitude for the miracle, mystery, and magic of our lives.
Second, we reflect on impermanence and how it reveals our purpose and values.
Third, we honor the inherent sacredness, wholeness, and wisdom of our being.
Fourth, we feel the support of interconnectedness and belonging.
Lastly, we rest, integrate, and embody our true nature.
Remembering g.r.a.c.e. opens us up to remembering the truth of possibility that is here no matter how we feel, no matter what is lost, no matter what is going on.
It is an act of profound love for ourselves when we choose to trust in grace.
At any given moment we can ask ourselves, What do I need? And see how g.r.a.c.e. can support us. It is a collection of practices that becomes whatever we need it to be.
If you are anxious, g.r.a.c.e. offers a reminder that you are not alone, that you are whole and complete with everything you need, that you will be okay through change.
If you are stressed and over capacity, g.r.a.c.e. illuminates what is most important and invites us to nurture ourselves with kindness.
If you are lost in despair, g.r.a.c.e. points the way to awe and intimacy with nature and the wonders of being human.
And if you are content, joyful, flowing with love, g.r.a.c.e. nourishes and deepens your awareness of what is most inspiring and fulfilling.
On retreat in September, amidst the golden Aspen trees and deep blue skies, we will spend time contemplating the meaning of each letter of g.r.a.c.e. Through poetry, self-reflective writing, guided meditations, and gentle movement we will experience what g.r.a.c.e. feels like from within. Together we will rest in the source of grace in our own hearts.
About the Author
Marissa C. Knox, PhD is a trained Mindful Self-Compassion teacher, researcher, and writer focused on supporting others to cultivate resilience, live with integrity, and embody compassionate wisdom. She is the author of g.r.a.c.e. and possibility, a book of poetry, contemplations, and self-reflective writing practices. In Marissa’s teaching and writing, she invites you to nurture a deeper connection to your wholeness, nature, and the miracle, mystery, and magic available in every moment.
You can purchase the book now, in preparation for retreat together: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781736242209
Knox, Marissa C., 2020. g.r.a.c.e. & possibility: a practice for remembering, nourishing, and resting in what is most important.
Photo Credit: Marissa Knox