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Lions Roar : November 2016
experience when interacting with those who are suffering. GRACE is a process I created to move out of such distress and into grounded and principled compassion. The mnemonic for GRACE is this: • Gathering attention • Recalling intention • Attuning to self/other • Considering what will serve • Engaging and ending G Gather your attention by pausing, tak- ing an in-breath, and giving yourself time to get grounded. On your exhale, invite yourself to be present in a place of stability in your body. You can also bring your attention to a phrase or an object. Use this moment of gather- ing your attention to interrupt your assumptions and expectations and to allow yourself to relax and be present. R Recall that your intention is to serve others, act with integrity, and preserve the integrity of others. Your motiva- tion keeps you on track, morally grounded, and connected to your highest values. A Attune to self by first noticing what’s going on in your own body, heart, and mind. Notice whatever biases might be present and shift your perspective accordingly. Then attune to the other person and what they might be expe- riencing physically, emotionally, and mentally. C Consider what will really serve by let- ting assumptions go and insights arise. As the encounter with the other person unfolds, notice what he or she might be offering in this moment. What are you sensing, seeing, learning? Ask yourself, what will really serve here? Draw on your expertise, knowledge, and experience, and at the same time, be open to seeing things in a fresh way. Don’t jump to conclusions too quickly. E Engage, enact ethically, and then end the interaction and allow for emergence of the next step. Compas- sionate action emerges from the field of openness, connection, and discernment you have cocreated with the other per- son. Draw on your expertise, intuition, and insight and look for common ground consistent with your values and supportive of mutual integrity. Catching myself in a distressing and fragile situation as I watched the young Nepali girl in pain, I shifted my attention to the simple sensation of my feet on the floor. I took an in-breath and allowed myself to get grounded. I then recalled briefly that I was there to serve, as were all those who were working on the child. I kept my awareness on my situation and stayed grounded. When my heart rate slowed and my head cleared, I lent my attention again to the child. All this occurred in a matter of a few seconds. I recognized that though this was a very hard thing for this child to go through (and for the clinicians as well), the doctors and nurses and aides were saving the child’s life. As soon as I had this thought, I was flooded with warmth and a deep sense of gratitude that the man had brought his daughter to the clinic and that our team, including these compassionate Nepali nurses, were there to keep this little girl alive. I took in the whole room and sent love and strength to all who were there, including the child. I was to see her and her father hours later, as he departed the clinic with her in his arms. Her face was bright and relaxed, and her eyes were luminous, as were the eyes of her father. Years had dropped from his face. I lightly hugged them both, bowed, and saw in her father’s hands the medicines that would help her to continue to heal. After I watched him moving carefully down the trail with his daughter held close, I had the thought that if this was the only person who was aided by our work, the months of preparation for Upaya’s Nomads Clinic were worth it. Then I dropped that thought quickly. It was “extra.” ♦ LION’S ROAR | NOVEMBER 2016 22 CULTURE • LIFE • PRACTICE