Finding Strength & Grace

Photo: Christopher Giannakos (@chrismeetschris)

Strength and grace come from a place deep inside of us. They are qualities we give openly to others, but often struggle to give to ourselves. In the midst of the holiday season, when schedules are full, expectations are high, and we have a marathon of things to do, it can feel as if we have no time for ourselves. What do we do when these feelings wash over and start to direct us? We take back the pace of movement in everyday life.

A single dedicated “self-care Sunday” isn’t enough. Strength and grace come from caring for ourselves more deeply, which requires us to live at a slower and more intentional pace. Everything that you think requires your attention 24/7 will be okay without it for an hour. Everyone who needs you can’t lean on you if your foundation isn’t rooted. We need to be graceful with ourselves and create a daily practice where we can rest without guilt. This restorative practice allows us to see that what appears to be imperfect or mundane is actually beautiful just as it is.

Slow living is something that I’ve been practicing for most of my life. My mum and I would pick produce from our garden and cook dinner together for my tight-knit family of five. That was such a special time and gave me an appreciation for making things with my hands. Almost 20 years later, I now recognize those simple activities as slow living — something that I continue to practice daily.

There are many ways to practice slow living. I might marvel over a perfectly imperfect ceramic plate that leads me to devote hours to cook a single dish, or I’ll flip through books by cozy candlelight, or have oatmeal and pourover-style coffee on a Saturday morning while I stretch and look at photographs that inspire me. These are the spaces and pauses where I find my strength and grace.

I encourage you to discover what this looks like for you. Maybe it’s a 20-minute yoga practice, reading a magazine, or taking a walk around your neighbourhood to admire the seasonal lights. Find a simple activity that you enjoy, one that brings you a sense of calm, and make more time for it. What seems like an imperfect practice may actually be the perfect practice for you. Your strength and grace will come to the surface in these moments and will spread to those around you.