If you only learn one thing today...
"If you only learn one thing today, it is that grace is in the space."
What space? you might ask. Grace is in the space you create for yourself.
This statement begins most of my keynotes and speaking gigs, and I sincerely mean it. If that is the only thing someone takes away from their time with me, I've done my job.
Why? Because it took me nearly 53 years to understand that I, and I alone, get to choose whether and how I react emotionally or if I take a breath, pause, and simply observe myself before I react in any situation. It is up to me to create and to hold the space between an incident and my reaction or response to that incident. I can give myself an instant, a few heart beats, a few hours, or an eternity. It is my choice and my gift to myself.
In the space I create, I can choose to reflect on these key questions:
What am I feeling in my body and where am I feeling it?
At what other times have I felt this?
Is the person or behavior I'm reacting too actually a mirror for something I judge about myself?
When I check in with my body to notice what I'm feeling and where, I often realize that what I'm feeling is very familiar (usually accompanied with the thought "Damn it—I thought I outgrew this feeling"). Most often a familiar-but-yucky feeling indicates that I'm being triggered by old core wounds. And just like a messenger, those feelings showed up to remind me there is still some self-healing and nurturing to be done. If my reaction is directed against other people in that instant, it is usually out of a desire to dull my own discomfort. I'm simply "shooting the messenger." That reaction is not very graceful or productive.
Sitting with and feeling what is happening in my body, without judgement or shame, is caring for myself. And that is that nature of a response rather than a reaction, which is far more grace-full.
Do I have this mastered? Not by a long shot! And I get tripped up often. I forgive myself as I strive for greater self-awareness each day.
I wish each of you a joyous and peaceful season of light with oodles and oodles of grace—all of which you create for yourself!
Remember, grace is in the space that you create.