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levels of grit

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I believe there is no universal barometer for grit.

It's regional. Relative to zip codes.

In 11104 (Sunnyside, NY) I had coarse level grit, around 50. After a very long day of catering an event on Ellis Island, I called the NY ferry back to the dock when it pulled away 5 minutes earlier than scheduled… Channeling a woman I’d never met before, I stood at the edge of the water, my mouth opened and out words flew until the captain returned to pick us up…

In 47303 (Indiana), it was closer to an 80 grit. I learned to climb up on a roof and clean out my own gutters, mow diagonal lines in the lawn, and rip up carpet with a hammer and putty knife. 

Here in 59715 (Montana), turns out I am a fine grit gal, closer to a 240 or 320…

These past few days, it was like living in a snowglobe. The most beautiful snowflakes fell steadily for days. Gentle and disarming. I woke up yesterday and saw it added up to over a foot… (Yoshi was up to his legpits and the deck had completely disappeared). After digging both cars out, I grabbed the snow shovel to tackle the sidewalk… It wasn’t the cold, I’ve learned to layer up. It was the scraping to get to the cement – because we learned last year, you don’t wait around to shovel or you won’t see that cement again until June - and it will be an ice rink until then...

Our 80+ year old neighbor was out shoveling her walk at the same time I was, and I swear it took her less time and effort. She had it down… I’m fairly certain she has the coarsest grit on the block – maybe on all of 3rd Avenue…

It might be all the sanding we’re doing right now for the storyblocks and sculptures, but I started questioning this whole grit thing… wondering when I’d worn mine down and how I could create a practice to get it back. I don't want to be a fine grit, I want to do big work in this lifetime. 

But after a bit of time away from the sawdust, I see that grit level has nothing to do with aging, or even physical limitations. Grit is not reserved for the young and perfectly healthy. It doesn't care how much money you have, if you're single or married with a family. Grit level is the balance between perseverance and passion.  It's the level of willingness as it meets desire. 

So, maybe it's more about living as loudly and deeply as we can -learning which level of grit is required in any given moment...

abrasive enough to shape without doing damage...

preparing the way for what comes next...

attending to details...

always in motion,

fia

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  • Eleanor Roosevelt said ‘You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do.’ I might substitute the word ‘challenge’ for fear to fit the circumstance. I love the term ‘grit’! I made a list, once, using the last part of the quote as a prompt, of all the things I’ve done that I thought I could not do. I knocked my own socks off! It was an impressive list, for me. I’ve got grit! I’d guess rather a course grit, at that! :)

    Juliakay Clark on

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