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Small Graces

--by Kent Neburn (Dec 04, 2017)



Night is closing in. It is time for sleep.

I have walked a quiet path today. I have done no great good, no great harm. I might have wished for more — some dramatic occurrence, something memorable. But there was no more. This was the day I was given, and I have tried to meet it with a humble heart.

How little it seems. We seek perfection in our days, always wanting more for ourselves and our lives, and striving for goals unattainable. We live between the vast infinites of past and future in the thin shaft of light we call 'today.' And yet today is never enough.

Where does it come from, this strange unquenchable human urge for 'more' that is both our blessing and our curse? It has caused us to lift our eyes to the heavens and thread together pieces of the universe until we can glimpse a shadow of the divine creation. Yet to gain this knowledge, we have sometimes lost the mystery of a cloud, the beauty of a garden, the joy of a single step.

We must learn to value the small as well as the great. [...]

"Confucius told his followers, 'Bring peace to the old, have trust in your friends, and cherish the young.'

"Do we really need much more than this? To honor the dawn. To visit a garden. To talk to a friend. To contemplate a cloud. To cherish a meal. To bow our heads before the mystery of the day. Are these not enough?

The world we shape is the world we touch — with our words, our actions, our dreams.

If we should be so lucky as to touch the lives of many, so be it. But if our lot is no more than the setting of a table, or the tending of a garden, or showing in a child a path in a wood, our lives are no less worthy.

I crawl into my bed, feel the growing warmth of the covers, hear the quiet rhythms of my wife's gentle breathing.

Outside, the wind blows softly, brushing a branch from the birch against the house.

To do justice. To love mercy. To walk humbly with our God.

To bring peace to the old. To have trust in our friends. To cherish the young.

Sometimes, it seems, we ask too much. Sometimes we forget that the small graces are enough.

Excerpted from Kent Neburn's book, Small Graces.

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Previous Reflections:

 
On Dec 1, 2017 rahul wrote:

 Enoughness of small graces is a paradox, akin to the concept of human perfection.  Shunryu Suzuki summed it up perfectly when he said, "Each of you is perfect the way you are ... and you can use a little improvement."  When we consider human evolution, paying attention to all the little things that are not quite right is what allowed our ancestors to survive on the savannah, whereas basking in the gratitude and sufficiency of small graces might lead to inattention toward fundamental survival threats.  In the modern world, we must balance the ever-rising tide of hedonic adapation-- where we get so used to every new comfort and advantage that it ceases to bring us joy-- with gratitude for both the blessings and challenges we encounter.  In my personal experience, this is very difficult to do without both a meditation and a gratitude practice.  Meditation is what trains and restrains the momentum of the powerful subconscious mind that operates wildly like our ancestors from the savannah.  Gratitude is the precious food that puts a higher clarity and perspective in charge.



On Dec 2, 2017 Jagdish P Dave wrote:

 I love reading  weekly Awakin Readings. I love reflecting on them. I am grateful for this precious gift. This reading is another  lovely gift.

I love to do both, big and small things.There are times when I get caught up in living in the big dream world missing the small graces right in front of me. This morning, my daughter was  lovingly offering me a cup of tea. She cherishes time spending with me  I missed seeing her right in front of me. I was with her physically but not really with her. I was in my dream world of designing a great and grand project. I missed the small offeringby being mentally occupied with the big thing.. I remember reading Rabindranath Tagore's poem.  While the poet is looking for majestic beauty on the far away Himalayan peaks, the little flower smiling in front him says to the poet, " O great poet! Can't you see the the tiny beauty right in front of you?"

Her question, "Dad, where are you?" wakes me up to taste the tea-her warm, affectionate presence. It is a small graceful act radiating heartfelt loving energy. This Saturday morning, she woke up early to make khichadi for my lunch before she took off for her work. Watching her making food for me joyfully was a blessing to me.Such small acts of kindness are indeed a great source of joy and contentment.

I fondly remember my mom singing a lullaby before I would go to sleep.Her lullaby still resonates in my heart. Such a small gracious gift! And that's the way she lived her life.. She exemplified the wise saying of St Francis of Assisi: " We cannot do great things. We can do little things with great love." I find the words of Kent Neburn very appealing: " The world we shape is the world we touch with our words, our actions, our dreams."

Let us make everyday a good day by doing small good things for us and for others and be grateful for small graces we give and receive!

Namaste!

Jagdish P Dave




On Dec 3, 2017 david doane wrote:

 All that is, living and not living, is God incarnate, and is a gift and a grace.  The gifts or graces are everything, including this day, my every breath, my every heart beat, my hand, the ability to move and think and feel, the ability to see, hear, taste, smell, and touch, other people, a glass of water, a butterfly, my cat, a tree, a rock, a lifetime, the entire world in which I live.  It is difficult for me to differentiate between small and great graces.  I think all graces are both small and great.  What helps me value and treasure the graces in my life is knowing how precarious and temporary they are and how little control I have.  What helps me feel complete with the graces in my life is being aware of and grateful for them.



On Dec 3, 2017 Kristin Pedemonti wrote:

Small graces to me are: the ability to pause and soak in the song of birds in trees outside my window, to savor the flavor of the soup I am eating slowly, to be witness for a friend simply sitting conversing or even in silence. Recently, I was home for Thanksgiving, it was a challenging week trying to serve my mother to see she is in need of assistance and she is not doing well mentally. The two small grace moments that stand out are: sitting with my friend Mary in a cafe and sharing appreciations of each other without any pressure, simply sharing softly while holding hands what we admired about the other, that spark we saw in each other that perhaps we couldn't see in ourselves. Another was watching my cousin's 2 dogs play together, the miracle here is both are rescues, one badly abused and I'd never seen her play like this. It was a reminder of the healing that can happen through love. 
Thank you for this post I needed the reminder of the impact we each make simply by being who we are. I've felt pressure (some my own, some from others) to reach more people with my healing Storytelling workshops. I've felt less than and not enough through some of the expansion process. I am reminded that what I am doing right now is enough. <3 



On Dec 4, 2017 Amy wrote:

 Less is more in my little world.  I am gifted the grace (by God) to love and serve my husband, parents, mother in law, aunt, grandson, immediate family and whom ever else I come in contact with (having a need).  I do NOT strive for perfection...(I simply cling to His).  I find myself "wanting" less (STUFF) ... Rather, wanting more and more "special moments".  (Like this evening, I observed the moon, rapid movement of clouds, the wind, rain and the sound of a train outside my open window.  Later ... Hanging out with my husband and then, going on a "silent retreat", walking my dog by the light of the moon, wind whipping around us ... And a slight baptism from Heaven in the form of precipitation).  Full of Grace (Jesus) are these moments.  There is ALOT of GREAT in the small!  BIG is just an illusion.



On Dec 4, 2017 meeran wrote:

 Beautiful. So well described.



On Dec 5, 2017 Deepak wrote:

 Small graces means to do mundane things in life , like picking up trash from the foot path and throwing it in the garbage bin , hearing the birds singing as I go for my morning walk in the early hours of the dawn and connect with my inner self . Small graces mean visiting my ex wife's mother who was sick in the hospital as I wanted to connect with her and find out how she was . Small graces means being and doing things for others however trival it may be which would bring a smile on their faces and would make me happy .



On Dec 5, 2017 Mish wrote:

 If my words or actions in a day enabled one person to smile , that's enough for me.



On Dec 5, 2017 Manuel Castrillo wrote:

 Every day I wake up giving thanks for waking up. I have learned to accept things as they come, not question but confront, with faith and patience, with courage and hope. And also to enjoy and be happy with the little things, with the "Instants" that we sometimes go unnoticed! The day is full of those moments, moments that can take us through infinite paths of well-being and Light.



On Dec 5, 2017 sakthi wrote:

 
Wonderful and my deep gratitude for this gift in  the emai box.  


 Reminds me of a scene in Gandhi movie …the whole leadership will be assembled in the ashram to  talk about the next steps etc and Gandhi  will excuse them to  take care of answering  a small  kid in nursing a wounded goat. A balanced mind of  not losing the  small while in the big  and living in the moment !!!!! Thank You


On Dec 5, 2017 me wrote:

 You make me smile!



On Dec 10, 2017 Shona Cameron wrote:

 wonderful x blessed to have read this today 



On Dec 10, 2017 Amy wrote:

 Amen:)



On Dec 18, 2017 Barbara wrote:

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THE HOMELESS, THE SENIOR CITIZENS, THE DISABLED 
AND THE PEOPLE WITH THE LOW INCOME!
IF YOU KNOW SOMEONE THAT IS ALONE! CALL THEM, EMAIL THEM, 
SEND AN E-CARD OR A POSTAL CARD SOMEONE IN NEED. 
VISIT THEM IN PERSON, SHARE YOUR TIME WITH THEM,PLEASE CALL, 
EMAIL, SEND FLOWERS OR A PET SAFE PLANT), GIVE CANDY, 
BAKED SWEETS OR FRUIT, DROP BY FOR A VISIT! BE KIND!
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XXXXXOOO <3 :) BELOVEDS, HOLIDAYS ARE VERY HARD FOR MANY PEOPLE.
THE HOMELESS, THE SENIOR CITIZENS, THE DISABLED 
AND THE PEOPLE WITH THE LOW INCOME!
IF YOU KNOW SOMEONE THAT IS ALONE! CALL THEM, EMAIL THEM, 
SEND AN E-CARD OR A POSTAL CARD SOMEONE IN NEED. 
VISIT THEM IN PERSON, SHARE YOUR TIME WITH THEM, PLEASE CALL, 
EMAIL, SEND FLOWERS OR A PET SAFE PLANT), GIVE CANDY, 
BAKED SWEETS OR FRUIT, DROP BY FOR A VISIT! BE KIND!
SHARE YOUR TIME!SHOW KINDNESS, SHOW LOVE TO OTHERS.
XXXXXOOO <3 :) 
======================================================
BELOVEDS, HAPPY HANUKKAH! HAPPY HOLIDAYS! MERRY CHRISTMAS!  
HAPPY CHRISTMAS! WITH LOVE AND HUGE WARMEST HUGS,  barbie
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