Grace is probably my favorite word, idea, whatever. I like it because it implies both spiritual and physical aspects of living.

Grace is a flow of peaceful presence, a trust in the depth and breadth of possibility, no matter how frail we feel.

There is a deeper, graceful sense of being alive which often bypasses me, in fact if often avoids me, or I it. It’s the sense of being in the body throughout the day. Those of us who are ultra sensitive or self-conscious can become paralyzed with thought and analysis and we lose the flow of grace.

A Sunday Afternoon...1884-6, Georges SeuratWhen I think of graceful people the image I have is of Victorian women. Though corseted and bustled and weighed down with clothing, they are trained to float their heads effortlessly over their bodies, and to flow their bodies around as if on wheels. Try walking around with a book balanced on your head.

Posture is another important aspect of physical grace. But posture is not about sitting up straight, it’s about balance, finding your center. Check out this nifty little guide to posture based on Aikido.

good postureThrough the Alexander Technique, I’ve learned to float my head better over my spine, and to flow with my body. But I struggle with old habits of misuse and self-consciousness. Thinking about doing it right doesn’t work. Learning the body’s language is tricky.

What I often forget is the flow of fearless openness, just being inside my body and gracefully flowing into deeper, more life affirming habits, letting the body flow without being affected by judgment or thoughts. Flowing forward is not very easy for me. I tend to wander deeply into the jungle of thoughts and analysis, underneath an idea, drilling for oil. These explorations have their value to me as an artist, but not if they imprison me physically, inhibiting growth and learning from the body.

jungleTo accentuate the problem I also fear being lost. (one great line from Frank Herbert’s Dune is: “Fear is the mind-killer”) I feel lost fairly often, wandering without direction, just ruminating aimlessly. I didn’t used to. Or at least I wasn’t self-conscious about it. Once one is self-conscious, either about the body or the mind or their uses, it’s hard to let go and get back into the flow.

And the symptoms of these misuses are catching up with me. I experience quite a bit of pain these days. I have pain in my knees, my shoulders, my gut, and especially behind my left shoulder blade. I’ve been working to get to the root of this pain, retraining my uses. And I’ve achieved some success. But the nagging pain has returned after a frantic day of gardening where I guess I mis-used my neck and shoulders yet again.

This retraining takes time. I’m slowly learning to be aware of each motion of body use without self-consciousness. That’s where another sort of grace comes in handy: knowing that I can only do my best, that I need to allow my humanness and its frailty, to be gentle with myself and with others.

So with trust and patience, I’m learning the mind and body flow which allows confidence and grace to grow.

Let my body and spirit flow gently forward in a timeless river toward grace.

11 thoughts on “Grace

  1. Your advice is good for all of us. Oh, and when I think of grace I think of Victorian houses, strong, beautiful, tall, ornate, moving, awesome. I never knew a Victorian woman. Not in this lifetime.

  2. I just wanted to invite you to submit your blog’s RSS Feed to You can also use our Poetry Wire page to post poetry related announcements and if you like, your poetry as well. You retain rights to all your works and relative links back to your blog or other sites are welcome. -Billy Jones, AKA: Billy The Blogging Poet,

  3. A couple of years ago I caught myself walking leaning forward slightly and have been retraining myself ever since to get my body aligned like a vertical column, like the people in the illustration. The reward is that it actually feels a good deal better.

  4. Thanks for the thoughtful, may I say graceful post, David. I felt myself relaxing and opening up even as I read it!

  5. MB- This is an ongoing project. I plan to (hopefully) elaborate on these ideas more. I hope others feel as you did, vicarious opening and healing by reading my self-explorations.

  6. The honesty you project in writing posts like this one is, in my book, hugely commendable, helpful and enlightening. I am going to see if there are any Alexander Technique classes in my area.

    Where I live here in the Hebden Bridge locality of West Yorkshire is a hive of so-called ‘alternative therapies’ and home to many therapists of all kinds as well as a disproportionate number of poets, novelists, artists and other creatives. So I’m pretty sure I will find a class if I look at the many shop windows plastered with notices of this and that class or talk or what-have-you. It might well help with my symptoms resulting from the MdDS (Mal de Debarquement Syndrome) as there are some theories – no known cause or cure, only theories – which suggest posture can play a part in exasperating the spatial orientation problems. So thanks for sharing. If I find a class and try it out, I will post to my own blog and will have you to thank for sparking the idea in me. x

  7. Andy- I hope you find a good teacher. Alexander started and established his practice in London. So there are sure to be teachers of good lineage all over.

    Good luck with your case of MdDS. I sincerely hope Alexander lessons help.


  8. David, I LOVE the idea of grace, but haven’t got round to mastering the practice of it yet :p

    Thanks for a Grace-ful read!

  9. Hello Shankari- Yes, well, we’re in the same boat, bobbing around looking for grace when it’s right inside, where it should be.


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