“Open to Grace”

My yoga instructor, Mandy, says that the first principle of Anusara Yoga is “open to grace.” 

I love her class.  I mean, love it.  But some days, I’m more graceful than others.  There are times when I feel like a ballet dancer; a figure skater; a bird.  And then there are the days when I’m clumsy and clunky, stumbling around like a drunken frat boy. 

So what, exactly, does it mean to be “open to grace”?  My life is in a state of flux right now.  I’m running into changes—planned and unplanned, expected and unexpected—that could easily throw me into a tailspin.  But at the moment, I feel oddly peaceful about things, like I’m waking up from a really good, long sleep.  I can only guess that Mandy’s words are getting through.  I’m feeling open to grace in and outside of class, and I’m thinking about what that looks like in my life.  Here’s how I’m breaking it down.

Truth:  It’s easy to get caught up in the trappings of your circumstances.  To feel bound by your relationships and your environment.  To let those connections cloud how you feel about yourself and the decisions that you make.  I’m taking the time to think critically and personally about what’s really going on in my life and how I truly feel about it.  I’m trying to be honest with myself and with the people around me.  A hard truth about me is that I (regrettably) worry a lot about what people think.  Right now, I’m determined to set aside concern for how others see me and for the expectations that I think they have so that I can make the best decisions possible.  And so that I can see the Truth in those choices. 

Balance:  A few years ago a colleague of mine went through a traumatic event, and I didn’t find out until well after it had occurred.  I was so impressed with the level of composure that she’d maintained in the workplace, despite the chaos she’d been experiencing in her life outside of the office.  A friend described it as “equilibrium.”  I’m hoping that I can develop my own sense of stability in the fray.  We can’t always control the circumstances in our lives, but we can decide how we respond to them.  I don’t intend to hide my emotions or pretend like I’m unaffected, but I think that there are ways to preserve a sense of calm in the storm.  I want to be level-headed despite the mess.  If I commit to taking it day-by-day, I think that I can do it.  It isn’t about making everything perfect, or “fixing” things immediately.  It’s about keeping a clear head and checking in with myself.  It’s about taking care of my heart as best I can.

Love:  I’ve been in Austin for almost eight years, and it’s remarkable how much love I have for this city, and for the family that I’ve grown here.  I’m embracing that love right now, and I’m dedicated to loving myself, too.  I’m typically very focused on obligations, responsibilities, commitments.  But first and foremost, I’m going to commit to myself.  I’m choosing me.  I’m going to honor the things that I need to be happy—both tangible and intangible.  Physical and theoretical.  Artistic and practical.  Of course, at the same time that I honor my own needs and feelings, I want to be thoughtful about other people’s hearts and emotions.  (After all, I can’t love myself if I don’t like myself.)  There’s always a balance between respecting what you need and what others need from you.  But if I make choices out of love and for love, I’d like to think that I can’t go wrong.

…My hope is that grace is somewhere in the crosshairs between truth, balance, and love.  And if it isn’t, I’ll just have to find it elsewhere.

2 Responses to ““Open to Grace””

  • Missy Says:

    Thanks for sharing. I really identify with this post… you put into words what I have been trying to understand so beautifully.

  • Colleen Conrad Says:

    Super happy to share, Missy. Thank YOU for reading!

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