Because Grace makes beauty out of ugly things. Grace finds beauty in everything. Grace finds goodness in everything.
Words from a song, unsurprisingly titled Grace, recorded by the rock band U2 in 2000.
To be graceful implies an organic shape that demonstrates an ease of movement. The slender branches of a weeping willow or the willowy limbs of a ballerina both move with a flexibility that we would call graceful. But those U2 lyrics above point to a way of being that we might describe as “full of grace.” Think of those who you see as grace-filled, and surely they are people who have an ability to find beauty in everything. They are the people who are most truthfully described as beautiful.
What fills you up? Better to be full of good things, like joy and gratitude and hope and mindfulness – i.e. the intention of being present to the people and places and experiences in each moment of our days. I want to avoid filling up with things that make me fearful or scornful or deceitful. Do you agree that we probably have a better chance to be changed, and to become agents of change, when we are cheerful, faithful, and merciful, than when we are boastful, distrustful, or resentful?
Best then to avoid filling up on the junk food of fretfulness, reproachfulness, or doubtfulness. Healthy living requires us to be fruitful, purposeful, and peaceful. That is where our saving grace will be found. That’s when we’ll feel most graceful.
I’ve lived with Bach’s Goldberg Variations for a long time now. More than half my lifetime in fact. I would pull them out periodically, feeling that I was revisiting an old friend, but a friend who always has something new to share. I began thinking about Bach and mindfulness last year in a way that meant something to me. Each variation became linked in my mind with a word and that word became something like the “intention” that yoga students are sometimes asked to set for their practice. A word to mediate on and to help draw more from within. For the next 32 weeks I will post one of the variations and write about the word I associated with the music. Sometimes a connection will seem obvious, but more often it will be unexplainable. It became apparent as I worked on this project that I thought about things which I wanted to cultivate in myself, ways of being in the world that were positive. All of the recordings are to be made in my living room, playing the 9 foot Steinway that was given to me on January 5, 2016.