• Elise V Allan

The Freedom of Radical Grace

Guest Post by LA Bourgeois

All living beings make mistakes. And, we hate to make mistakes. We go to crazy lengths not to make mistakes.

However, mistakes are part of our process. One of the tenets of adult education is that, as adults, we learn best by making mistakes and fixing them. So you can see, errors must occur in order to fully learn our lessons from our work, as well as understanding the work itself. Trying to avoid them can stall or even block our progress in our process or, worse yet, leave us producing work that lacks inspiration and passion.

So, add making mistakes to that list that includes death and taxes. With their inevitability, what can we do?

Embrace the idea of radical grace. Among the definitions of grace, my favourite is forgiveness. When you begin to see grace as forgiveness, suddenly your life fills with elegance. Mistakes become the lessons they are meant to be, revealing cracks in your world and work that the education of experience mends.

Radical grace means forgiving ourselves and others for every perceived misstep. When you allow yourself to work in radical grace, you approach that effort with a certain abandon. Certainly, we will make mistakes but they are intrinsic to the piece instead of separate. Consider the ethos of Wabi Sabi. This traditional Japanese aesthetic embraces the mistake as part of the journey of the work. Imperfection adds to the ultimate value and beauty of the piece. Working with the form, repairs weave glistening lines to enhance the project.

“One must always be prepared for riotous and endless waves of transformation.” - Elizabeth Gilbert

Resisting transformation because of the mistakes we know we will make is normal. However, radical grace elegantly encourages us to embrace the change and everything that flows from it. To see how those mistakes make our final piece more beautiful, how they expand our knowledge, how they illuminate and transform our creative project.

And, as we embrace radical grace, our mistakes transform into lessons. This one change of view reduces our reaction of fear, bringing us to a position of curiosity and clarity.

Practicing radical grace allows your creative journey more of the rambunctious fling of Robin Hood slinging himself across the melee, all fun and exuberance in his rescue. The difference is that, instead of Maid Marian, we're rescuing ourselves and our art. We grant ourselves freedom.

So, practice radical grace. Go make art. Make mistakes. Forgive yourself. Repeat until your piece is shining before you in all its perfect imperfection.

LA (as in tra-la-la) Bourgeois supports writers, makers, and other creatives in growing their creative businesses and breaking away from their day jobs. As a creativity & business coach, she believes that exploring your creativity invites joy into your life, embracing your creativity infuses your life with joy, and manifesting your creativity gives you a joyous purpose. Writing and knitting are her nonnegotiable mediums, and she can usually be found with a pen or knitting needles in her hands. Find her free guide, “Tricking Yourself into a Creative Habit” online at and start making art today.

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first posted May 2019 This week I was invited to be Eric Maisel's guest blogger on Fine Arts America