Last weekend, I had heard Peter Mayer’s song called “Holy Now” (you can read the lyrics by searching on “holy now” at http://www.petermayer.net/music/). In the song, he relates that when he was a boy, he went to church to experience the holy or to hear about long-ago miracles. Today, his view of the holy includes everyday life – the lyrics tell us that “Everything is holy now” and “Everything’s a miracle.”
I was driving to Houston yesterday to speak to a technical services industry group there. It’s a long drive from where I live, so I had a good opportunity to be with myself. I got to thinking about Peter Mayer’s song. I contemplated how one could live in a way that allows one to see that everything is holy and everything is a miracle. It’s a mind-set of living in a state of constant grace, I decided. Hmm, there’s a weird concept - grace. Grace to me is feeling like you are being cuddled in the arms of the Divine – pure safety, pure love, feeling like the universe sends you the gift of pure acceptance of whoever you are. Living in a state of grace allows me to feel that everything is holy now.
“So how do you live in a state of grace?” I asked myself. There are two spiritual skills that help me live in an “everything is holy now” mindset. The first is gratitude and the second is perspective.
Living in a State of Grace: Gratitude
Gratitude, in the form of appreciating the little things in life, is vital to living in the moment. Gratitude helps you love what you’ve got right now, not what you’d rather have. I found gratitude yesterday in my car to Houston – gratitude for the sun, gratitude for the opportunity to speak to a wonderful group of people, gratitude to be living this life of mine. Today, I walk around my home taking mental pictures of scenes I’m grateful for – oh, there’s the sweet dog lying on the stairs, the morning sun dances on the tile floor, the cup of aromatic tea makes me smile.
Appreciating those around you is another aspect of gratitude. In my family, we constantly tell each other “I love you”. My teenage daughter was sick last night, and I took advantage of the opportunity to appreciate her. If you know anything about teenagers, you know that the only time they are really glad to be “loved on” by their momma is when they are sick. I sat at her bedside, stroking her hair. I told her how much I loved her, how proud of her I was for the person she’s becoming and the choices she’s made. I told her I’d sit there until her body twitched, which is the sure sign that she’s asleep. Then I quietly crept away, knowing she was getting the rest she needed.
The second skill is perspective, which I use for want of a better word. Perspective helps you step out of the emotional grit of the moment and attempt to see a broader view. Several ways to gain perspective are helpful to me. One is to search for the lesson in the situation, as in, “What opportunity for growth or better understanding does this provide me?” Many times, the lesson for me is to learn to apply a broader perspective more quickly! Another way to gain perspective is to look for the good, especially the future good, in the situation. My son was recently sick and the doctor prescribed a drug that could help him. My first reaction was, “Why does my son have to suffer?” My second reaction, the one that sought the good in the situation, was, “This is perfect. Now he has a drug he can use when he encounters this again. He is empowered to help himself.” I had to choose this perspective, but I’m really glad I did. Another way to gain perspective is to realize that you are not the only one who has ever experienced the situation. Applying this to my son’s situation sounds like this: “A lot of people take this drug and find it helps them lead productive, empowered lives.”
Gratitude and perspective help us live our lives as if “everything is holy now”. My goal is to live that way every day.