Grace. Simply one of the most beautiful words in the English language. We hear and read a lot about how busy life has become. We get pulled into conversations about who’s the busiest, we cringe as we see people shaking their firsts at each other in car parks and wince at clips online and in the news media of people fighting each other at malls, schools and sports grounds.
At the same time, we’re also hearing more about the importance of slowing down and self-care. Grace is the antidote to the situations and behaviours that make us feel stressed, isolated, tired and burnt out.
It’s a word with many connotations: empathy, compassion, movement, a state of being. There’s grace when a Keruru lands in the hedge outside my kitchen, there’s grace when my son catches a wave and when Ben Smith gets a try in a rugby game. Grace is all these moments and more. For me, it’s a back to basics concept. As well as trying to rush less, I’ve aimed to bring more grace to my life recently. So what does it look like?
It’s small gesture that express kindness and compassion. It’s helping people out of awkward or difficult situations. It’s holding the door open for a teacher struggling to shift boxes of books, it’s accepting the bottle of wine gifted by friends with a smile, it’s taking time to ask someone if they’re okay and asking what you can do if they’re not. It’s waving people into the queue, letting the old man at the Post office go first, thanking your partner for keeping the wood box stocked, noticing your children’s support of their friends not just their academic/sporting success.
It’s a way of seeing the world and your place in it. Grace doesn’t ask for anything in return, it just is.
Simple ways to be gracious:
- Be generous. Of your time, skills and attention.
- Listen carefully in conversations. Don’t interrupt with “I know what you mean…” and proceed to talk about yourself for 30 minutes.
- Make space for others – in cafes, work spaces, on public transport.
- Create time in your life for face to face interactions.
- Move more. And be aware of how physical movement affects your physical and social space.
- Accept praise but be humble.
PS I’ve set up an Instagram feed to share my favourite pics. Search for @mysimplelifenz for pics of living the simple life in Southern, New Zealand