Reflections on Grace

by Janelle Keane Campoverde, Guild Certified Feldenkrais Practitioner

Definition of Grace from Oxford Dictionary: Simple elegance or refinement of movement. "She moved through the water with effortless grace"
Middle English: via Old French from Latin gratia, from gratus, "pleasing, thankful"; related to grateful.

When I think of GRACE, initially I see visions of dancers, skaters, Olympic athletes. As I contemplate further, while looking out the window, I see the interweaving of cars, parents and kids zooming around Greenwood Avenue at rush hour. How do we attend to so much simultaneously? I reflect on friends that are astute and generous conversationally: listening and sharing with ease. How did they learn this verbal art so well? I have a friend that, when she is solving a problem on the computer, she takes her time and resolves it beautifully. Another friend, when she concocts something in the kitchen, it is sublime. I wonder: how does my percussionist pal shape the infectious rhythm, playing many instruments in tandem for hours on end? When you think of grace, what comes to mind?

In my practice and classes, I see grace-in-action everyday, through the miracle of learning.

I feel more grace in myself as I age—in my movement, my ability to navigate my emotional life and how I relate to others. This becomes especially clear in the moments that are anything but graceful! These are when we trip down the stairs; say something clumsy to a dear friend; neglect to speak up about an injustice; forget why we walked into a room; or lift something in such a way that we hurt ourselves. An accident can happen as a result of someone else’s moment of inattention. These moments stand out. We remember them more because of the damage they cause. This part of our memory serves a survival purpose. Also, some of these moments are just plain embarrassing! Remember that time... you fill in the blank: _______________

But, what about all the other moments, including moments of grace? They are part of the flow of life and regularly taken for granted.

Consider recognizing moments of grace in your daily life. At work, preparing a meal, doing homework, taking a walk…. Experiment with applying grace to mundane (even difficult and fun) activities throughout the day. Become more intimately acquainted with the sensation. This embodiment deepens the quality of our life. 

“In relearning the use of the body, you are living in a state of almost constant revelation. You are likely to find that almost everything you do can be done more efficiently, more pleasurably and with greater ease than was possible before. You will have much greater stamina and strength, and many of the debilitating “symptoms of aging” will be reversed. In the state of good posture, which is indeed a state of being, your body will fell very light, almost weightless, and will seem less dense — as if your head were a kite and the rest of the body the tail dangling lightly from it!” —Jean Houston, The Possible Human