The Helping Hand of Grace

"All the individuals on a team may each be brilliant by themselves, but if they don't shift their story from personal success to team success, their net effectiveness will be greatly reduced. When people experience themselves as part of a group with a shared purpose, team spirit flows through them, and their central organizing principle changes. The guiding question moves from 'What can I gain?' to 'What can I give?'

"We can develop a similar team spirit with life. When we are guided by our willingness to find and play our part, we can feel as if we are acting not just alone but as part of a larger team of life that acts with us and through us. Since this team involves many other players, unsuspected allies can emerge at crucial moments; unseen helpers can remove obstacles we didn't even know were there. When we're guided by questions such as 'What can I offer?' and 'What can I give?' we might sometimes play the role of stepping out in front and at other times that of being the ally giving support. Either way, we think of the additional support behind our actions as a form of grace. Based on an interview with Joanna, this poem, edited into verse by Tom Atlee, founder of the Co-Intelligence Institute, expresses well the grace that comes from belonging to life:

"When you act on behalf
of something greater than yourself,
you begin
to feel it acting through you
with a power that is greater than your own.

"This is grace.

"Today, as we take risks
for the sake of something greater
than our separate, individual lives,
we are feeling graced
by other beings and by Earth itself.

"Those with whom and on whose behalf we act
give us strength
and eloquence
and staying power
we didn't know we had.

"We just need to practice knowing that
and remembering that we are sustained
by each other
in the web of life.
Our true power comes as a gift, like grace,
because in truth it is sustained by others.

"If we practice drawing on the wisdom
and beauty
and strengths
of our fellow human beings
and our fellow species
we can go into any situation
and trust
that the courage and intelligence required
will be supplied."