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An informal, stream-of-consciousness reflection on business ideas, events and issues in modern business, modern life and with some specifics to the web-software industry by Paul Tomori, Internet Entrepreneur

A State of Grace
By Paul Tomori
Monday, March 01, 2010 at 20:48:27 (EST)

Several years ago, I saw an interview of the Canadian poet/songwriter, Leonard Cohen. The interview was from the 1960's or thereabout. He said something to the effect of: "Every morning I wake up and ask myself if I am in a state of grace". At the time, I thought it was kind of an artsy, pretentious thing to say, but for some reason, it stuck with me. And now, I don't think it is either artsy or pretentious. I think it is a valuable way to face another day. Some people refer to "getting out of the wrong side of the bed" when they definitely are not starting their day in a state of grace. Mr. Cohen just put a little more poetically.

So what does it really mean to start the day in a state of grace? And why is it important?

When you start your day in a state of grace you:

  • feel rested and physically ready for the rigors of modern life
  • feel a certain serenity from knowing that you are competent to deal with any challenges that come along
  • feel worthy of the successes that the day might bring or that you might bring to the day
  • can reflect upon what you have in life and to truly want what you have got
  • will be present to each moment as it arrives, which means, for example, when someone speaks to you, you will be listening, not pre-formulating your response
  • you will give a lot of leeway to any children in your life knowing that their perspective, sensations, perceptions and embryonic concepts of the world will not necessarily give rise to behaviour that you should only really expect from adults
  • will understand that when other adults in your life act like children or when you yourself act like a child, it is only because not so deep within us is the child we once were fighting to reconcile itself with the mature people we are becoming
  • look forward to the work challenges knowing that they will not break you
  • are willing to engage your mind in mental stretches that will leave you a little more wise and a little more competent for the days ahead
  • won't have such a short fuse that trivial matters will send you into a fit of frustration or anger
  • will accept your own natural constraints and won't pity yourself for not measuring up to unrealistic expectations
  • will accept that even if others disagree with you, you will know that your intentions are good
  • will view setbacks and failures more as situational than as being symptomatic of you as a person
  • will go easy on yourself knowing that you are a work in progress and that the earlier versions of yourself are not a ball and chain to hold you back, rather, they are markers and milestones as to what you are becoming
  • will treat the physical needs of your body as complementary, not antagonistic to your thoughts and ambitions
  • treat others as if they also are in (or are attempting to be in) a state of grace, which means, you shall seek to respect all of the things in them that you seek to respect in yourself
  • will not be torn asunder emotionally by events you cannot change
  • will impart sympathy and empathy for those whose lives are burdened by matters beyond their control
  • know that if a total state of grace eludes you today, you will pursue a clear enough state of mind to achieve it tomorrow

The beautiful thing about a poet like Leonard Cohen is that he can condense into a few strong words all of the complex emotions and thoughts that are veiled behind those few strong words. Try this out. When you wake up tomorrow morning, ask yourself if you are in a state of grace. It may just set you up for a day that will give you much satisfaction and serenity.

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