Using GRACE as a foundation for your relationships

We have our first patron on Patreon! And it’s my sister!

I got the news after waking up from a nightmarish dream that my 3 yr old niece had hit her younger sister with the new hardcast on her wrist.

At 4am I checked my phone to see if my sister had left me any frantic messages. There was a notification in Whatsapp; ‘Oh shit, my dream was actually true!’. And then I read her message… “I think I’m your first patron!”

I almost cried.

Partially from relief that my little nieces were safely tucked in bed, and partially because I could feel the gesture of Love through her participation in The Sanctuary and Conversations on Being Human.

Family relationships are tough. Their shit meets your shit on a daily if not hourly basis. Sometimes you find a way to keep it together, sometimes you don’t.

My sister and I have had our fair share of arguments. There’s things about each of us that drives the other nuts.

When I was 10, I got so enraged at her, it felt like I wanted to kill her. I screamed and slammed the door in her face, bruising her forehead. Thankfully she was ok.

But even though there wasn’t a physical scar, there was an emotional one.

To be the victim of someone else’s rage when you didn’t actually do anything wrong. To get the brunt of someone else’s anger, because they don’t have anywhere else to put it. To be named and shamed for who you are, just because the other person hasn’t come to terms and fully accepted who they are.

Those dynamics play out over and over. Between siblings, spouses, parents and children, and of course they spill out of private homes and into the streets, workplaces, prayer places, and everywhere else.

Until you notice, name, and accept the part of yourself that causes harm to another, it sneaks around in the shadows and turns into your worst nightmare: it destroys.

So what is another way? How do we attempt to reconcile the past and plant seeds for a more restorative future?

I’ve been playing with the word ‘grace’ as an acronym for relating to others.

Generosity & Gratitude

Respect & Reverence

Acceptance & Awe

Care, Cooperation & Curiosity

Empathy

This sums up what Amber and I are hoping to create within The Sanctuary. It’s the core message within the Conversations on Being Human that have been recorded so far. It’s the vision we hold for relationships, whether in your immediate family, or in across groups of people that look, pray, eat, think, drink, be different.

Below are the expanded values that you’re invited to embody with us in The Sanctuary and beyond. As you savor them, perhaps see what it feels like to try GRACE on with

  • a stranger.
  • a friend or someone you like.
  • someone in your family.

Notice how your body might respond as you imagine treating these individuals with GRACE. What feels easy and heart-warming? What feels challenging and maybe even stressful? How can you cooperate with your own experience, letting it be OK for there to be challenge, and breathing into what feels easy?

Values for The Sanctuary & Conversations on Being Human

We hold the vision for using GRACE as a bridge between individuals, groups, ideas, and differences.

Generosity & Gratitude: We stand for making the most generous assumption that I, you, and another is doing the best they can with what they have, and finding gratitude for the opportunity to learn and grow from interactions with those that are different to us.

Respect & Reverence: We treat each other with respect and dignity, even when our stuff gets triggered. We see each human as a divine creation and stand in reverence of the possibility that perhaps we might get a glimpse of God through interacting with another human.

Acceptance & Awe: We aim to accept our own imperfections and flaws so that we have a greater capacity to accept the imperfections and flaws of others. We also believe in the awesomeness of each person and hold a vision for the individual embodiment of our passion and purpose.

Care, Cooperation & Curiosity: We recognize that in community, we balance the different needs of each person as well as the group. We encourage taking good care of yourself in order to offer that care to others. Tread lightly. Cooperate, even with what feels difficult. When you don’t understand, ask a question. What can I learn in this moment?

Empathy: We are on the journey with you and each other. Even if we haven’t walked in your exact shoes we can imagine what it might be like to be you. You can ask any question even if you’re not sure it’s the right question to ask, name a belief even if you’re ashamed of it.

In a nutshell, you’re invited to come as you are, and we hope that by walking with GRACE, we chip away at the shackles that we all know all too well: the idolization of perfectionism, the fear of vulnerability, and shame projected as self-righteous judgement.

To allow ourselves to live in GRACE we do not tolerate blatant bullying, passive-aggressive comments, judgement, or shaming of ourselves or others in the Sanctuary. While you don’t have to be perfect, and we anticipate trip-ups and foot-in-mouth moments, we first and foremost invite your adult self to join us.

——

As you step into this week, consider what it would be like to start with GRACE. Remember that trip-ups are allowed. You don’t have to get it right from the get-go. You can plant one seed, lay one brick in the bridge, and take one step at a time.


How you can help expand the message of GRACE

I’m part of a new creation to bridge the gap across the many divides that create ‘us vs them’ and ‘the other’.

Conversations on Being Human is a podcast, with the first 6 episodes available to supporters of this movement.

We’re creating this on Patreon so we can easily invite others into the shared conversation through on-line community gatherings called The Sanctuary.

When you Listen, you are taking a stand that this message is important.

When you Gather with us, you turn GRACE into a practice.

When you Travel with us, you equip yourself to bring more GRACE into your home and community.

Our first online community gathering is scheduled for Saturday September 26th, and is open to all patrons. Check it out at patreon.com/conversationsonbeinghuman.

Photo by Valentin Antonucci on Unsplash

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