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“[So that it is] not too crude, I covered it with grace. To make it not too heavy, I plunged it into water.” – Julie Gautier
On Grace & Elegance
Julie Gautier’s amazing five-minute artistic underwater dance video is mesmerizing. (Scroll down a tad to check it out)
Her amazing quote about the effect of her own work got me thinking about grace. Maybe dancers and artists aren’t the only ones who need a little grace in their lives. According to this article, Gautier created this piece to express her deepest sorrows in an elegant way. She found that the water brought elegance to her emotions, metaphorically lightening the load.
3 Ways To Add Grace To Your Work
So, what do elegance and grace have to do with being a teacher, or performing any other type of job? Before I saw the video, I really hadn’t considered a post on grace. I think the Merriam-Webster definition of grace that encompasses “charm” or “a pleasing appearance” is closest to what I think we can take from the video and put into our lives.
Here are three ideas that may help:
1. Slow Down To Find Mental Calm
If you ask anyone who knows me, they’ll tell you I’m the least mentally calm person they know – but I’m trying!
I can definitely tell you that both my swimming coach and surfing instructor (it’s a new activity I’m trying!) say that I need to be more calm and relaxed, in the water and out. Now that I actually enjoy being in the water, it’s a whole lot easier to be calm.
Not easy. Easier.
I do find that people who are mentally calm add a certain elegance to their work, and to themselves, actually. Perhaps calmness and grace go hand in hand together.
2. Find “Flow”
Flow is a psychological concept that relates to happiness, a term coined by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. It is the “moment when creativity and productivity spring from your mind smoothly”
I’ll dedicate another post to this concept, as it’s quite involved! For now:
Finding an activity you are passionate about and can get into a “flow state” with, will allow you to add elegance and grace to your work. Rather than seeming arduous, your work will be a passionate, evolving project.
3. Spend Time Alone To Get Creative
Personally, I find creativity can lead to elegance – a graceful flow to your work you wouldn’t get if you were surrounded by people. Don’t get me wrong, I love teamwork. However, sometimes a little time alone can be invigorating.
An 8am walk by the beach on a Sunday, for example, can stir a sense of calm and creativity (even if it is a city beach!). Some of my best ideas have come at random times when I’ve been alone and pensive.
Why Elegance + Effort Can Be Motivating
While putting in the effort is a great part of making sure our dreams come true, taking a few minutes to make sure our projects are elegantly autographed is important.
What does that mean? Well, I’ve always loved the idea that we should “autograph our work with excellence”; we shouldn’t hand in a project, submit an article, give a presentation until we are proud of our work.
I know it’s a simple concept, but I truly believe it makes a difference.
If we’re proud of our work, we’ll be motivated to show to others. If we are motivated to finish it, and the rule is we must be proud of it to do so, it’ll be the best work we produce.
What projects are you proud of? How do you add a sense of calm, elegance or grace to your work?
I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!
Have a lovely and productive week!
P.S. The photo for today’s post (and poster!) is one I took a couple days ago, right here at the beach in Barcelona, Spain
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