This year, I have found myself guided and inspired by Living in Gratitude, an enlightening book by Angeles Arrien that has led me to place a much greater depth and emphasis on Gratitude in my day to day.
Angeles says that as we become more loving, compassionate, joyful, and accepting of life’s rewards and challenges, we express our Gratitude more freely and frequently. Cultivating an attitude and practice of Gratitude is truly uplifting and powerful — that’s certainly been my experience. It’s become part of my daily ritual and has such tremendous and obvious benefits, now I can’t live without it! I’ve found that the more I cultivate this practice, the more I love moving through life with Grace and the more Gratitude moves through me.
When we move through life with Grace, we find ourselves grateful for the even smallest of gifts. Grace as defined by M.J. Ryan is “an experience in which individuals slip out of ordinary space and time, where there is no separation between themselves and the world around them, everything seems perfect just as it is”. We may find this state in meditation, yoga, nature, or in work we love and find meaningful. You know those moments, when you get lost in time and everything seems, well, just right.
For the entire month of May, my focus has been on the gifts of Grace and Gratitude as the foundation that leads to a state of Gravitas.
Sharing the same root as Grace and Gratitude is the word, Gravitas. The interconnection between these three states doesn’t stop at the etymology. Angeles explains:
“when people internalize and integrate their experience of Grace, their character naturally deepens and they develop Gravitas. In Latin, Gravitas is similar to charisma, and is defined as a quality that draws us to those who embody dignity, integrity, wisdom, substance, and presence”.
Gravitas can be used to describe the inspiring qualities of a Leader. Angeles uses Nelson Mandela as an example. During his imprisonment, he experienced many transformations — states of Grace that reshaped him and moved by Gratitude, he made a difference in the world.
For me, it all comes back to being conscious of these moments of Grace. I think our understanding comes by combining this consciousness with moments of stillness, quieting so we can receive these gifts that are available only when we make time for what’s really important. When we are conscious of those moments, we are motivated to express how grateful we are and we naturally cultivate all of the endearing qualities of Gravitas. In each of these states, we touch upon our ‘inherent goodness’.
I think we all know why this is important but I want to touch briefly on another book I regularly refer to, Living Your Yoga by Judith Lasater. It’s based on her translation and experience with The Yoga Sutras by Patañjali. The chapter I picked up last night addressed Impermanence, perfect timing as I quickly connected the dots between the themes of Gratitude, Grace, Gravitas and Impermanence.
It’s integral to be in and experience the moment since this is the only moment we have, not the past, not the future. It’s the now that we experience fully and it’s here that we have the capacity to be who we are in all of our perfection — shining and abundant.
It’s in the NOW where we become innovators and creators.
Judith quoted Shakyamuni Buddha, The Five Remembrances (presented by Thich Nhat Hanh in Being Peace).
- I am of the nature to grow old. There is no way to escape growing old.
- I am of the nature to have ill health. There is no way to escape having ill health.
- I am of the nature to die. There is no way to escape death.
- All that is dear to me and everyone I love are of the nature to change. There is no way to escape being separated from them.
- My actions are my only true belongings. I cannot escape the consequences of my actions. My actions are the ground on which I stand.
I have to be honest. When I first read this I thought, “Not so nice of a list. With all of the good taken away, how can I be grateful?”
But the message that really shone through was in #5, and tied with what I am cultivating within myself and Uplift! Consulting … Gravitas. My actions are the ground on which I stand. I have the choice to experience Grace and Gratitude and to work from that place. As do you.
I hope this inspires you to move with Grace. May you be motivated by Gratitude and cultivate your own, natural state of Gravitas.
Grounded foundations for mindful positive growth. Yoga, meditation and mindfulness connecting with business. Connect with me to find out more.
Living in Gratitude, A Journey That Will Change Your Life. Arrien, Angeles.
Living Your Yoga: Finding the Spiritual in Everyday Life. Lasater, Judith.