Receiving Grace to Rise

What is grace?

And what does it mean to ‘rise’?

Here are three quotes on grace:

“I do not understand the mystery of grace – only that it meets us where we are and does not leave us where it found us.”  Anne Lamott, Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith

“Grant me the grace to reclaim these depths, to uncover this treasure, to liberate these longings, and in being set free in my own spirit, to act for the well-being of the world.”   J.Philip Newell, Celtic Benedictions

“Grace is a reality, an experience, an encounter, a moment where one is seen, witnessed, and welcomed in the naked reality of one’s being.  Grace is a touch of tender kindness when one is disheveled, lost, addicted, bleeding, dying, suffering.  Grace is a balm of truth – not concealing, but rather revealing what needs to be seen – even if that makes one uncomfortable.  Grace holds a measure of kindness that allows a truth-telling to be experienced ultimately as a consolation.  One is exposed in a gentle light, tended with care, wrapped in mercy, and healed in Love.  When we know a moment of grace, it is like a door opens within, allowing transformation to occur.  Any kind of inner transformation doesn’t happen through a choice of the will; it comes through a grace, which is a gift of receiving love amid being seen just as one is.  Pure and simple.”   Cathy AJ Hardy, Pause

Grace is something that requires us to be in a receptive posture.

Being receptive requires an availability of the heart to be fully present. 

To live a life full of grace is to be attentive, aware, awake each day to the gifts, the moments, the realities before oneself – and enter them fully, trusting, opening, to the Sacred Reality that is here with us; within and all around.

I am fully aware of the suffering in the world that is being experienced, even as I write this.  There is a quote by Blaise Pascal, “In difficult times, carry something beautiful in your heart.”  Part of my work in this world, is to continue to invite us to look for the beautiful, the wonder, the mystery that is here, even in difficult times.

I believe we taste a deep grace when we open to the beautiful and let it pour into us like warm honey.  To receive a grace, is to allow love, what I understand as the Mystery of Presence, to penetrate our hearts, to help us remember the dignity, the truth of our beingness.

Years ago, I had lost a sense of my dignity and worth.  And one day, I lay down by the roots of a tree in the forest of Mission.  I felt as though I returned to that fetal position and was able to tuck into the strength of that tree.  Just beyond my reach, was a large stick, around 8 feet in length.  I heard the stick say, ‘PICK ME UP’. 

I did.  I got up.  I ROSE up.  Picked up that stick.  And began to walk.

Step, thump.

Step, thump.

We began to make a rhythm, that stick and me.

That rhythm began to flow in my body as I walked up a steep hill surrounded by a beautiful forest canopy.

Then the words began to form, “Rise up, woman.  Rise UP!”

A melody began to dance.  And the beginnings of song rumbled through my body.

This moment was a moment of grace.

It was a gift coming to me in that fetal position – ‘get up, get up, it is time to live!’.

Gifts are not forced – they are offerings of love.

One can always turn a gift away, especially if we don’t believe we are worth of receiving it.

We are invited to open to know blessing, to know love, to know a Sacred Reality that calls us into LIFE.  St. Irenaeus famously said, “the glory of God is a human fully alive.”  Jesus said, “I have come that you might have life, and might have it more abundantly.” 

What does it mean to have life?  To be fully alive?  These are questions I have held, pondered, wondered.  There have been moments when I experience a fullness of being that astonishes me.  There is a sense of living into the fullness of what my life is calling me to be.  These are extraordinary moments of aliveness, joy, fulfilment of being.  They are not always moments where everything is ‘perfect’ on the outside, it is more an aliveness on the inside; being fully here and knowing and tasting the joyfulness of the gift of life.  There is a creativity here, a vibrancy of being that reminds me of one of Hildegarde of Bingen’s words for God – “viriditas”, which means the Greening Energy.  She spoke of God as being the Greening Energy of Spring – where there is that fresh greenness that sparkles with life.

When there are moments of deep aliveness, even in suffering, one tastes that viriditas.  I believe this aliveness flows when we have learned to open and receive grace.  Grace is transformative, healing, renewing, and generous.  Grace, when received allows us to expand and become containers that hold this grace, and then reflect it.

Christine, me, and Philip working on the revised RISE UP tune

The song, Rise UP, which was a response to a profound experience of receiving grace, has lived in me for many years.  It was recorded in 2011 with the Love Shines album.  Recently, I had the desire to record it again as it has evolved over the last decade.  On the Soul Care Tour, I shared this song in every concert – letting people know this is a song that represents my life, it is my ‘story’.  This past week, I’ve had the great child-like joy of re-recording this song.  I can’t wait to share this with you!  If you will listen to this song, you will hear the deep story of my life, and the profound graces I have known.

My prayer is that I am able to live these graces and share them as deeply and as widely as I can.  Graces are not mean to be hoarded up.  They are like seeds that go into the heart, creating a garden to be harvested and shared with the community. 

I invite us to become aware of opening in a receptive posture to the graces that are before us.

I invite us to welcome the gifts, even in difficult times.

I invite us to allow the Sacred Reality to invite us into RISING into the truth of our being; not through striving or pushing, but out of a humble and gentle response to Love.

I invite us to be transformed by grace as it delicately heals our hearts and restores our minds.

I invite us to be people that offer this grace to the world around us, that we may bear the radiance of Love wherever we go.

From my heart to yours.


P.S. The new ‘Rise Up’ coming soon!

Here is the version from 2011

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