“… Without cost, you have received. Without cost, you are to give.” Matthew 10:8
Verb 1. Accept or support (a belief, theory, or change) willingly & enthusiastically
Noun 1. the freely given, unmerited favor and love of God
Purpose: to explore what it means to accept willingly and enthusiastically the free and unmerited love of God, and to witness to that in our lives
Method: Enter into the rhythm of Action (Co-Creation) & Contemplation (Connection) in a safe space & community
Embrace Grace is the deliberate creation of community to anchor us as we navigate the difficult work of deep transformation. As a physician, when speaking with people about lifestyle changes, I often hear people say that they don’t have the willpower to make long-term, consistently healthy choices. However, I believe the issue isn’t as much about willpower as it is discerning out deepest desires- the true motivations that will keep us inspired. It can be scary, because the revelation of deep truths can challenge the long-term relationships that both support us and keep us from making radical change. And too much change in too short a period of time makes it easy to gloss over the deep work and also makes it difficult to anchor ourselves in habits that can be maintained through the seasons of the years and the ups & downs of our personal & professional lives.
Within the chaotic frenzy of the world, the way to create sustainable changes requires an opposite energy and rhythm- a contemplative stillness, an intentional asking and listening that allows the emergence of answers, and a faithful exploration of the unique path that gradually unfolds before us.
The constant pull of the world requires the anchored centeredness of community that helps you return to the silence & stillness, that connects you to the Truth of your inner wisdom and the Divine freedom that is yours to claim.
Because I am a Catholic, first-generation Filipino-American woman, wife, mother, physician, integrative health coach, and contemplative, then these are all the lenses through which I offer this program. I am not here to impose or force – I am here to invite and allow. But I want to be transparent about the anchors which hold me steady, the primary anchor being Love.
However, Love is mysterious and higher and wider and deeper than what the world defines. And so we have to get to know Love in all its light & shadow, in all its agony & ecstasy, in all its desire & delight; and then we have to be continually broken and made anew so that we have greater and greater capacity to embrace Love more fully.
Through Embrace Grace, we will protect time and create space in order to allow for the emergence of deep change. We’re not necessarily here to “Do things right” according to particular rules, but rather listen into a more expansive space that honors our individuality and our complexity. We will be working from a messy, vulnerable, and mysterious place.
The energy of Love is the most creative, generous, superabundant, risk-taking, heart-opening, powerful energy that not only believes in the extraordinary, but EXPERIENCES it as well. And when people who care for you and want to keep you safe notice that you are starting to change, they will often start offering you well-intentioned advice that feeds the fear. THIS will be the community that holds a safe space for you, and be loving witness, as you navigate deep change and give voice to your transformation.
The conversations we have with one another are not intended to be advice giving sessions, nor are they meant to be a place in which to simply vent. There is hard work to be done.
The space we create is meant to be one in which we
- Sit in community
- Listen in different ways
- Feel the words/ideas that resonate deeply with us
- Explore those ideas more fully in the weeks to follow
- Integrate those ideas into our personal lived experiences
- And reflect upon how the ideas illuminate deeper truths within us that need to be explored
We each want to feel safe to speak our deepest truths … without hearing anyone else’s judgement.
When we feel safe to speak our truth, then we feel safe to ask for what we really need in order to be fully transformed.
This space is not meant to be another place in which we have to give more of ourselves, but rather we receive the gift of knowing ourselves more fully.
It is a space in which we allow ourselves to hear our deepest self, to speak from our deepest self, and to feel ok with doing that.
Here, we explore 3 modules of Mindset, Movement, and Nourishment from January-September and then hold Sabbath time from October-December. We do this by entering into a rhythm of action and contemplation. Action is fostered in our co-creative space, a more unstructured time to work with some self-discovery tools one Friday a month between 3-5 pm. Contemplation is fostered in our connection evenings one Thursday evening a month for 2 months of a module from 6-8 pm. Generally there is a speaker and group discernment for those 2 months. The 3rd month is for the EG year 1 participants to gather together for additional work. Because contemplative time is so important, yet difficult to create for ourselves, contemplative time will fostered in October during a group retreat, and during an individual retreat with me in November or December.
The point of Embrace Grace is NOT a destination, rather it’s a space for exploration and continual transformation.
This program recognizes the importance of Rhythm (Time brings change), of Reflection (I navigated change), of Restoration (I integrate changes that align with who I really am and my vision for the future), and of Renewal (I am a new creation).
It is a sincere look at the depths of who we are as unique individuals, the heights of who we are as beloved children of God, and the fullness of who we are in connection with the people we love and the communities we serve.
Shadow work here KEY. As Carl Jung said, “To confront a person with his own shadow is to show him his own light.” The question is- WHO AM I really, not who the world defines or sees, but at the deepest part of me- BOTH LIGHT AND SHADOW? Can I accept all of me, remembering that the Divine knows every part of me and LOVES me as I am in this moment? Do I have the courage to explore the depths of me and allow light to illuminate the darkness? Can I be so anchored in love that I can face my shadow, sit with the pain and even shame it can bring, embrace it, and then allow myself to be transformed into the fullness who I’m meant to become?
And that’s where most of us find it difficult – We don’t want to accept all parts of ourselves. We don’t want to know or accept the fullness of our human frailty, nor do we want to love it.
This is where grace has to overwhelm us, move us, illuminate the entirety of our being. This is where we have to have the courage to EMBRACE the GRACE that is freely and continually being offered to us.
This inner work has to be done by each of us alone, and yet we need the strength & support of loving community to know that we are not alone and to hold us in the midst of what can feel like terrible, terrible storms.
This work is about asking questions, about sitting with the agony and ecstasy the questions often bring; of allowing grace to enter our lives to open us to answers; and of having enough faith in love to take the leap of inspired action that is our particular call.
We are each unique parts of an eternal love story, connecting with one another to add our voices and stories to the greatest love story ever told.
I don’t claim to know the fullness of how this program will unfold – it is an unveiling of mystery, even to me. But I do know that the gifts each participant brings to this community will grow the program into exactly what it is meant to become. We are creating this together.
And I also know that we can’t live anyone else’s life for them. We are called to live our lives so fully and so truly that we become a beacon of safety to others- we are called to be living examples that the leap of faith in Love is the only freedom that brings us fully alive and allows for true peace, and whole health, and complete healing.
And the way we will do this over the next 12 months is by Embracing Grace as we explore Mindset, Movement, Nourishment, and Sabbath – together.
If you feel called to Embrace Grace with us, we welcome you wholeheartedly.
Enneagram!! Free 38 question Rheti Test. Click here for additional information about the Enneagram at the Enneagram Institute. Also, starting February 23, 2020 Franciscan Richard Rohr will be offering daily meditations for 3 weeks, exploring the Enneagram.