Roshi Joan Halifax offered a beautiful meditation on how to keep your sanity on the Ten Percent Happier Podcast last week. Dr. Halifax presented the acronym G.R.A.C.E. as a way to stay centered when facing difficult people or situations. I’ve expanded it a bit here to offer some guidance for the week ahead. (You can listen to the original by following the link above).
G.R. A. C. E.
(acronym by Roshi Joan Halifax, PhD)
Gather your attention
Recall your intention
Consider what will serve, what is Constructive, truthful, kind
Engage & End with purpose
Gather your attention ~
During difficult times, it is critical to stay centered and grounded. Take a moment to close your eyes, take a long deep breath and gather your attention, call your energy back to yourself. Breathe. Drop into our body and be still. Do this as many times during the day as necessary to stay calm and collected. This is a beautiful antidote to the chaotic energy, distracting thoughts and pervasive fear that this week may have in store for all of us.
Recall your intention ~
Setting an intention for the day or the week is a wonderful way to stay in the moment, stay true to your values, your purpose and your spirit. In my Facebook post Sunday, I wrote out my intention for this election week ~ to stay grounded and centered, using nature to help me stay connected to myself. I encourage you to write out an intention for yourself today and take time to recall your intention throughout the day, especially as times get more challenging. Your intention is your guide. Be purposeful and clear.
Attune to your body. Pay attention to your breath, thoughts, feelings, and sensations. Close your eyes and attune. Notice and name. Tension. Tightness. Light. Cool. Heart racing. Thoughts spinning. Hands clenched. Tingling. Easy breath. Keep it simple. No need to engage in any stories, explanations, or narratives. Simple words. Notice and name. Explore your body. Attune. Mindful awareness as to what is happening in and around your body is a powerful way to stay centered and grounded. It is also a powerful antidote to panic and fear. Keeping it simple, noticing and naming, helps you stay out of your negative and fearful thoughts. Go ahead, practice right now. Take a deep breath, notice and name.
Consider what will serve, what is constructive, truthful, and kind ~
I love this one! As I wrote in my last blog, Buckle up, Hang On & Keep Perspective, just doing the next, right thing is often the most important strategy to engage during difficult times. Considering what will serve, what is constructive, truthful and kind, and then enacting that behavior is a guiding principle that will lead to a more peaceful state time and time again. It is so easy during difficult times to fall into complaining, venting, and distancing yourself from others. If you keep this one guideline in place, you will stay connected to yourself and others, and feel good about yourself when all is said and done.
Engage and Ending ~
How will you engage with others this week? If the election goes as you hope, how will you engage? If the election goes the other direction, how will you engage? You are part of a bigger world and your actions make a difference. You may be a role-model for others, especially your children. Consciously engaging in a thoughtful, intentional and truthful manner ~ hopefully with a calm and peaceful heart, will go a long way. If you need to vent or discharge energy, do so with purpose, to those who can hold space for that energy – not your children and likely not your co-workers. Recall your intention. You will get through this. We all will ~ somehow, someway.
The Ending part of Dr. Halifax’ meditation refers to the question, how will you end your practice, your meditation ? Dr. Halifax reminds us of the opportunity to take a moment to be grateful, acknowledge ourselves and/or others, ask for forgiveness or offer forgiveness, say a prayer of thanks. Here is a beautiful metta prayer of gratitude by Jack Kornfield:
I offer my gratitude for the safety and well-being I have been given.
I offer my gratitude for the blessing of this earth I have been given.
I offer my gratitude for the measure of health I have been given.
I offer my gratitude for the family and friends I have been given.
I offer my gratitude for the community I have been given.
I offer my gratitude for the teachings and lessons I have been given.
I offer my gratitude for the life I have been given.
I wish you all peace and I wish the world harmony, today and everyday. May we find our way to a more unified and peaceful place. Namaste.