Grace

Some spaces like a garden, evoke grace. But exactly what is ‘grace’?

I browsed the dictionary trying to find a definition that properly defined what I meant by a garden having grace. There were so many meanings to choose from.

I ventured further and found the Three Graces (Charites) in Greek mythology, said to be daughters of Zeus, the king of all gods.

three_graces_louvre_ma287

The Three Graces

The Three Graces were: ‘Aglaia, the Grace that symbolized Beauty, Euphrosyne, the Grace of Delight and Thalia, the Grace of Blossom. According to Greek poet Pindar, these enchanting goddesses were created to fill the world with pleasant moments and goodwill’ (ref).

Now I was getting close. Beauty, delight and blossoms, created for pleasant moments and goodwill, isn’t that an apt description for a garden? I think of the moments of peace my garden gives me at the end of the day. The graceful arching fronds of the Fijian Hairs foot fern, or the recently spiking Cymbidium orchids with their cascading strappy leaves. I delight in the beauty of my massed pink petunias. They’re called Shockwave and that describes their colour and form perfectly. Beauty, delight and blossoms abound, in my tiny garden, even at this time of the year.

 

 

However, there is something more about the idea of grace that transcends worldly or even mythological description. For me, grace is a deep-seated feeling, a state of mind; elusive, fleeting and intangible. The state of being I have when I meditate successfully or when I am in my garden. A kind of blissful, boundless interconnectedness.

There is no separation between the garden and the gardener

Ark Redwood

 

For my garden, grace is inherent, but for me it is something I constantly have to work on.

I wonder gentle reader, what grace is for you?

 

Many thanks to my gracious friend Ann, for introducing me to Ark Redwood with the gift of his book The Art of Mindful Gardening.
Image of The Three Graces: commons.wikimedia.org
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40 responses to “Grace

  1. Grace! As you say, it has so many many meanings. I don’t think It’s a word I use much as a noun, but I remember once thinking of a house as “graceful” when I entered it. By which I meant (I think) welcoming but self-contained, with a sense of quiet pleasure in itself. Or perhaps delight? The house was small, modestly furnished and decorated, but it had its own spirit.

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    • I love that idea: a space which exudes grace. I feel sensitive to houses and other buildings too. I remember visiting the old Melbourne jail once after it had become a museum. There was such an absence of grace there. No, I wasn’t an inmate! It was where the hanging of Ned Kelly took place. He was an Australian outlaw who became a folk hero.The place was so foreboding and oppressively sad I couldn’t wait to leave.

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  2. That’s a nice way to think about grace. A you know, I don’t have a garden (sniff), but I feel an interconnectedness with nature when I go walking in the hills, so perhaps that counts. 🙂

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  3. For me grace implies movement – either in space or in time. A fern frond, unfurling in a graceful curve, a bird swooping in to a perfect landing, a runner with an apparently effortless gait. In a garden, as in a home, grace seems to be a pause when everything fits perfectly. It can’t be captured or tied down!

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  4. I find it hard to describe grace with words too. The feeling in meditation, the pause in nature, the movement of dance, the quiet peace when one just “is”

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  5. Hmmm…I think your post has perfectly described how I felt on Saturday when I went to see Mum. This time she was in a very deep sleep, courtesy of some pain medication they have had her on for a little while. If I was to put a word on my interaction with her over the past year, it would be for the most part, disconnection. But on Saturday, despite her not being aware that I was sitting beside her bed (I don’t think so anyway), I felt connected. I sat and watched her and at some point, fell asleep myself. Your comment “A kind of blissful, boundless interconnectedness” is exactly how it felt during that visit. Peaceful. Blissful. Soft. GRACE.

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    • I’m so glad for you Kim. Grace and all it contains is there for us all if we just remember to pause to allow it. It has been a long journey for you but looking back, one I know you’ll appreciate greatly when you have time and space to reflect.

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  6. As a former journalist it’s not surprising Penny would use those elements as background. It creates complexity and great tension for sure. Like you I need to read up on this subject.

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    • Rachel, your comment sent me off into contemplation. Is grace unasked for? Yes. Sometimes. Although I know I strive for a state of grace – even though it seems inherent in some people. But I agree, trying or striving is less effective than simply being ‘open’ to grace. Perhaps that’s where the striving comes in – striving to be open to it. I suppose a great deal also rests on how we define grace. I’m speaking of being in that zone of connectedness with all that is, in the absence of ego or even self awareness. Just being.

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