grace : a way of moving that is smooth and attractive and that is not stiff or awkward : a controlled, polite, and pleasant way of behaving : skills that are needed for behaving in a polite way in social situations : unmerited divine love and affection bestowed freely on others
Each year (this is my 5th) I like to choose a guiding word for the year and this year I wanted to choose something calming...not because my life doesn't feel generally calm though it has been busy (aren't we all?), but because I want to make it a life-habit to face every day with gentleness and acceptance. I want to be polite and considerate of others and also to extend grace to myself.
Last year in 2013 my word-of-the-year was wisdom, which I was able to work towards through formal education and private study as well as by setting boundaries on what I was capable of being involved in and in my personal relationships. There is still much growth to experience on that path as I have come to realize that the more I know, the more I realize that I know nothing at all.
This year's journal is a large one measuring 8.5x11 (typically I use 6x8) as my intention is to do more drawing this year. I'm hoping to work through Betty Edwards' Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain with my daughter. It's been many years since I really read the book and, in fact, I had to purchase a new copy as I loaned my copy out a few years ago and it hasn't been returned, though the current edition apparently has new information. Can't wait.
I have found that I do actually take a step forward whenever I select a word for the year. During my fearless year, every time I felt fear I chose to step aside and breathe while allowing that feeling to pass without panic. Surrender helped me to learn that sometimes a thing is not necessarily for me at that time and I can let it go and allow for something better. And the year I began to practice being still I began to realize that everything tends to work out how it will without my help or interference.
FEARLESS: My 2010 word as I found I was getting caught up in the fear of how I was perceived by others and the fear of failure. Whenever I noticed fear in myself, I would focus on my word and it helped me to overcome challenges, it actually helped me to be brave in so many little ways.
SURRENDER: I decided that 2011 would be a year of letting go of my history of control...of self and others...and allowing things to happen. And, boy, did things happen. Yes, both good and bad, but always in the end for the better.
STILL: For 2012 I wanted to grow both as an artist and human being, and remembered the verse in Psalm 46:10 - 'Be still'. I tend to feel like I have to do everything, you know, that sense of obligation. Not only because I feel I should but because I worry that I don't do enough. I actually went through a physical injury that forced stillness, and it seemed that everything that needed doing got done. And I felt so much more peace in my life by allowing it.
WISDOM: In 2013 I wanted to further my education as well as seeking knowledge and understanding of others and myself. Wisdom is considered a cardinal virtue, though because of my passionate artist's nature I struggle with stepping back and attempting to control my reactions...still a work in progress.
GRACE: My word for 2014. To me practicing grace is similar to gaining wisdom in my hope to extend grace to myself and others. Theologically divine grace inspires virtuous impulses and imparts strength to endure trials. I believe it is about compassion and understanding and also about acceptance.
AIRdirondack Art Project
Alberta (above) +