Why Do Creatives Need Grace?
Extending grace to yourself is essential to the creative life.
Withholding grace and hanging onto guilt robs us of energy that we could use more creatively elsewhere.
Refusing to forgive, or extend grace, keeps us anchored to the past, which makes it difficult to move forward.
What Is Grace?
What Is Grace?
1. elegance or beauty of form, manner, motion, or action.
2. a pleasing or attractive quality or endowment.
3. favor or good will.
The Christian teaching is that grace is "unmerited mercy that God gave to us by sending his son to die on a cross to give us eternal salvation."
Hindu devotional literature is full of references to grace (kripa) as "the ultimate key required for spiritual self-realization."
According to Islam, "Paradise is something of immense value; a person cannot earn it by virtue of his deeds alone, but by the Grace and Mercy of Allah."
In Judaism, the Hebrew word signifying "grace" is חסד cheçedh. It can range in meaning from zeal, love, kindness, benevolence, to grace, favour, loyalty, mercy, and even piety or beauty.
A leading Buddhist teacher, Lama Surya Das, and author of Awakening the Buddha Within, says, “Grace is the “isness’ of life. It’s the recognition that everything is connected and sacred. The more in touch we are with this natural abundance of life, the less we need.”
Perhaps you have heard grace explained like this:
Grace = receiving something good that you do not deserve
Grace goes hand in hand with mercy:
Mercy = not receiving something bad that you do deserve
Grace is something we all need - both from ourselves and from the people around us. As much as disappointment is a fact of life, grace should also be a fact of life.
How many times have you disappointed yourself or someone else? How many times broken your own commitments and promises? I have exceeded my fingers and toes. And rather than punishing myself or beating myself up for these things, I have decided to be gracious with myself and allow myself a bit of undeserved mercy.
This can be extended outwards as well. Who has disappointed you? Who has broken their commitments or promises? When will you allow them a bit of undeserved mercy?
To me, grace is giving a new beginning - to myself, to a friend, to a stranger.
The Process of Grace
1. Acknowledge what you're doing -- that you're holding onto old anger, hurt, resentment, and perhaps trying to punish yourself, feel sorry for yourself or create an excuse not to move forward in your life.
2. Express your feelings. Often, we hold onto negative feelings because we don't feel heard. Have a conversation with yourself in your imagination or in writing acknowledging how you feel and why. You can also talk to a trusted friend or a counselor, so that you feel heard.
3. Look at the situation from a different point of view. Why would you have chosen to disappoint yourself? You may be surprised at some of the insights that can surface with this step that will make forgiving yourself much easier. We're all flawed humans doing the best we can at the time.
4. Be willing to let go. This step is important to all types of healing. We may do tons of work in therapy or workshops, but to truly be done with it, we must at some point actively choose to let go and put it behind us. Be honest about this one. If you're not ready to truly let go, you may need to repeat the earlier steps (or the whole process) a few times first.
5. Forgive. This may simply saying, "I forgive you." You may want to perform some sort of actual or meditative ritual of release such as
- write "I forgive myself for doing (or not doing) such-and-such" on a piece of paper, visualize yourself releasing the wrong-doing, then tear up the paper and burn it.
- literally or meditatively draw a line, step over it and say, "I forgive; I am done with this." create a ritual of your own.
6. Visualize taking back your energy from the situation.
7. Use that energy to move forward with new projects!
Share these steps with a creative friend or colleague and help them to move forward!