Energized Presence and the Practice of GRACE

The beautiful gift of the Kata is that it can be done anytime and anywhere. This tool doesn’t require any special equipment or specific environment, and it offers an invaluable transformative experience.

Starting off the Kata is the acronym GRACE (Ground, Relax, Aware, Center, Energize). It is my go-to for when I need to get back to center and infuse myself with an energetic boost, especially in the morning. Progressing through the first four stages of GRACE quiets the whirring to-do list in my head and brings me back into the body. The final element, the ENERGIZE component, allows me to then move into action from a grounded and centered space. It is a calm, yet alert sense of aliveness. I wish my morning cup of coffee could offer the same sensation.

Rooted into the present moment, aligned with Spirit, I draw from both the Earth and the Cosmos, an energy flows through my body that seems to shake away the dust and stagnation of overthinking or worry and anxiety. Physically, I expand my posture, extending my arms and fingertips making myself larger. In this state, my body and forehead tingle with electricity. It is one of my favorite parts of the Kata experience.

I then like to imagine sharing this joyful and nourishing energy with my family, friends and outward into the community and planet. Like love, this energy amplifies and strengthens by keeping it in flow. 

With my arms wide open and fingers spread, I'm also engaging in a “power pose.” During the Kata, we have the opportunity to step into our authentic selves, affirming our place in the world. Bundled within the sequence of GRACE is an incredible practice for witnessing and experiencing our own inner-strength and potential. As Amy Cuddy writes in her book Presence: “How you carry yourself--your facial expressions, your postures, your breathing--all clearly affect the way you think, feel and behave.” Practicing GRACE is a launchpad for embodying our transformative power. 

I will repeat the GRACE sequence throughout the day if needed. Even mentally visualizing this progression is helpful (especially in tense times negotiating with a small child). When I’m unable to fit a Kata practice in my morning routine, I still feel the positive benefits of moving through this short meditation.

What I appreciate about this thoughtful mental imagery is how the progression of GRACE enhances the quality of presence. Grounded in the present moment, we are able to relax and soften, which in-turn allows us to attune to our integral state of being. Aware of what adjustments we might need to make mentally, emotionally and physically, we can re-balance ourselves. All this on its own is wonderfully healing, and when the progression transitions to being “energized,” there is a sense of stepping into the moment newly transformed.

In The Life We Are Given, GRACE is described as “a sort of pilot’s checklist for balancing and centering.” It is also a springboard for experiencing our inner strength. Nourished and revitalized, we’re better able to navigate the day feeling ”balanced, vital and healthy.”