Moments of Grace
In the coming days the heavens acknowledge our impatience with all that hinders us. They know the challenges we face as we walk the path ahead. Venus in Aquarius and Chiron in Pisces remind us how important it is to acknowledge the small steps we take into wholeness, not simply waiting for some big shift which brings all our struggles to an end. It can be all too easy to overlook each moment that we do the right thing when we so want to act on habitual thoughts and feelings rooted deep within us; when we take a deep breath and cultivate patience in the face of obstacles instead of giving in to ego-driven impulses; when we resolve to see deeper into a problem rather than believe our immediate assumptions about it. Each time we seek the conscious way through rather than lapsing into the semi-conscious state so common in daily life we are demonstrating our commitment to the evolutionary process occurring now; to our deepest knowing that there is a greater order to all that we experience, beyond the perception of our human minds.
It is so important to stop and acknowledge how far we have come. Failure to do so can leave us burnt out and empty, forever striving to reach somewhere which recedes at a rate commensurate to the effort we make to get there! This type of effort is not the arbiter of outcome on this journey. The endurance required on the spiritual path is not one that fits the ‘mighty effort gives mighty results’ model. Rather the effort needed is frequently softer, more malleable, with a gentler hue. Whilst yes, we may need to steel ourselves at times against the onslaught of life’s challenges, at a heart level life requires only that we become increasingly receptive and inclusive, not battling to survive but opening to embrace. This is a gentle movement of the heart towards life not away from it. An opening up to the nature of experience rather than a closing down to avoid it. It is a tiny shift that may come in the form of a moment’s patience in the face of provocation, a moment’s understanding in the face of challenging behaviour, a moment’s peace in the midst of an almighty emotional storm.
The recognition of these small steps is, itself, part of the path. It keeps us present and honest, connected with the choices we make and the actions we carry out. When we can acknowledge our efforts made to do things differently, to seek wisdom before certainty or insight before opinion, we can more readily recognise the times that we don’t do so and observe the difference in impact and outcome. Noticing the effects of reflection versus reaction, wisdom versus habit, enables us to gradually recognise the moment before we decide our approach in the face of life’s dramas. We grow in awareness and presence, making more of our attention available to the ‘now’ rather than frittering it away on the past or future. The next small step becomes stopping old habits from kicking in one more time. Stepping back again to allow space and peace around them and appreciate what’s really going on.
These seemingly tiny steps, apparently insignificant moments of patience, reflection, consideration, courage and wisdom are so easily lost in the complexities of all that we encounter in the course of a single day let alone a lifetime! And yet they are the most important moments for they shape the present and create the future like no other. In the softness of a minute’s pause we can break a cycle, birth a new attitude or create a new possibility. This pause is grace, invited into our lives by our commitment to do what we can when we can, and to refuse to give in to old habits when the past comes calling or the future looks all too bleak. This grace is available to us now, in the quieter moments when we allow our heart to soften and embrace experience not push it away. The heavens see our commitment and resolve, our struggles and despondency. They see how deeply our efforts matter and our small steps count. They want us to see this too, to acknowledge how far we have come and how much we have changed even as we struggle to acknowledge anything but our apparent inability to do so!
Everything changes, they remind us. Nothing remains the same. The more we can recognise the tiny shifts in who we are and how we respond the better able we will be to discern what the next moment requires of us, and the next. Believing ourselves to be getting nowhere is a trick of the mind. We are not who we were yesterday nor who we will be tomorrow. The tiny changes of every day move us along the path and yet we don’t even notice against the backdrop of all that we wish could be different! But it’s time to notice and appreciate that every scrap of consciousness we can muster matters and every moment of wisdom applied counts more than we can ever know.