Lovely as it can be, Christmas can be one of the most challenging times to stay in a state of grace. The practicalities of Christmas, the holidays and the lead up to it can be very busy and stressful not to mention expensive. In Shanti Mission we talk about grace a lot and try to embody it. I thought this would be a good time to reflect upon what is grace, and how can we create more of it over Christmas.
Grace is an ineffable quality of Divine essence. It is love made visible through words and action. It is the wonder through which the Divine weaves our lives in miraculous ways. It is the elegance of Divine solutions to what seemed to be intractable problems, always economical, effective often unexpected and perfect. Grace is the crisis averted, the help that arrives in the nick of time, the parting of the seas metaphorically to enable our escape from fears and an entry to a better existence.
Grace is created when we take the ‘road less travelled’ in any difficult or stressful situation. This means that when met by challenges, we elevate the situation, and what is emitted is grace. When someone snaps at us and we do not snap back, but instead send love, that creates grace.
The Akasha is the permanent record of our soul, a record of the grace we have cultivated and the mistakes we have made. I have this image of great Celestial beings noting our file every time we succeed in cultivating grace, and also noting every time we are snappy, horrible, vindictive, judgmental, controlling – in other words all the dis-graceful debits that we collect as well. Unfortunately these Angels only record what we say, think and do. They do not record the provocation that led to us snapping, and behaving in a manner that in truth is dis-graceful. Given that Christmas and the holidays can be times when we are not in our usual routine and we are with people we might not see that often, it is a time when there could be lots of entries into our Akashic records!
Here are some ways to stay in grace during Christmas and the holiday season.
- Remember rule number one: Don’t Panic! Things will either get done or they wont and panic is not going to help. Get calm, get grounded, make a list, and if necessary, flush the whole list down the toilet and flow with what is. Get out of the habit of needing to control every detail. There are a thousand ways to spice a casserole or make a pudding. And while they might not be how you do it, it will all be ok. The more relaxed and flexible you are, the easier it will be to cultivate the grace of tolerance.
- Be gracious about how we ask for help. I was in a grocery store recently and watched a woman berate her partner, who looked like he was trying to help, but had not got it right from her perspective. Her attitude in that interaction was truly dreadful, negative, sarcastic, superior, unfriendly. Clearly she wanted something, but she did not communicate it well, and what communication did take place was so unskillful that it would be astonishing if they were still together next Christmas if she kept that up! Don’t assume that people ‘should know’ what we need. Learn to calmly state what you want or need in a normal voice with a gracious attitude, so that at least they really do know.
- Over the Christmas and holiday season, draw strength and renewed energy from your spiritual practices, which are the foundation for turbo charging grace in all parts of your life. Invoke and send love to your Christmas day, and to any family functions where there is a propensity for things to get out of hand.
- Make sure someone says grace at Christmas lunch, you would be amazed what a difference that can make, just getting everyone in a state of reverence and receptivity to their own spirit just for a minute or so while you thank the cook, thank the Creator and thank everyone for being here together, can change the direction that the whole experience takes.
- Spend time rather than money with our beloveds. This year has been tough for many people. Sometimes the most precious thing we want from our beloveds is just relaxed down time where there is nothing planned but we can be together just hanging out. See what evolves. Let the energy determine what we do, or don’t do. Enjoy the grace of less structured time.
- Have good manners, even if they don’t. Be empowered to be pleasant. Remember that other people being in their stuff, does not give us license to be in ours. Good manners are a social code of graciousness.
- Avoid dis-graceful communication. While some families just love to argue, you don’t have to join in. Instead, be the voice and energy of moderation, getting the conversation back onto a healthier track. Don’t react: instead, think of how your communication might land, and avoid yelling and screaming, even if you feel justified! Learning to respond rather than having a knee jerk reaction is a part of our spiritual evolution. In practical terms, this means, even after a few glasses of wine, avoid criticising, blaming, attacking, intimidating, demanding, ridiculing, whining, belittling, complaining, withholding, deriding, debasing, and exaggerating. When the fur starts flying, grace can be cultivated by not adding fuel to the fire. Remember the Celestial Angelic record keepers! And if that doesn’t work, imagine your guru is in the room: how would that change your choices and empower you to take the higher path?
- Give up needing to be right about everything. This is just our ego acting out. It sucks a lot of energy out of us and fuels conflict, which is a dis-graceful strategy. So, let it go.
- Be gracious in gratitude, giving thanks for any help, reward every try, give positive feedback, be generous of spirit and find something positive and encouraging in the situations that emerge.
- Have the grace to avoid known areas of confrontation, during Christmas lunch! Set up another date to air grievances, and let this day really be about love, which is full of grace.
Have a blessed, safe and graceful Christmas. Remember why we are celebrating in the first place, and enjoy the holiday.
Love and blessings from Shakti Durga