Seeing the snowman standing all alone
In dusk and cold is more than he can bear.
The small boy weeps to hear the wind prepare
A night of gnashings and enormous moan.
His tearful sight can hardly reach to where
The pale-faced figure with bitumen eyes
Returns him such a god-forsaken stare
As outcast Adam gave to Paradise.
The man of snow is, nonetheless, content,
Having no wish to go inside and die.
Still, he is moved to see the youngster cry.
Though frozen water is his element,
He melts enough to drop from one soft eye
A trickle of the purest rain, a tear
For the child at the bright pane surrounded by
Such warmth, such light, such love, and so much fear.
Perform all thy actions with mind concentrated on the Divine, renouncing attachment and looking upon success and failure with an equal eye. Spirituality implies equanimity-
Three laps into a grueling mid summer Twilight Criterium. Sweat, pouring from your brow, the last of your patience – exhausted – three laps ago. All the training, the race prep, the money and time spent for this brilliant moment … And who the hell does this Mustached Cinelli Straddling Punk think he is?!? This Phil Wood spinning bastard better get his ass to the back of the line!!!
Your sympathetic nervous system rages, the surge of adrenaline as you grit your teeth, our fight or flight response shifts instantly into high gear. Equanimity, our parasympathetic nervous system, is waiting back at the car, or is it? There is a way to gently pull the brakes on your fight or flight response.
My “trick” to finding equanimity during such stressful and annoying moments, is to simply keep the concept of equanimity at the front of my mind (not in the boot of the car). We all know the feeling of anger taking over our bodies, causing our minds to wander and to spin out of control. Our breathing becomes more shallow, our hearts begins to race, we feel the pressure building behind our eyes, goosebumps, a nervous twitch, the veins in our temples – pulse rapidly.
Whenever and wherever I feel my fight or flight alarm begging to sound? I stop to take a deep breath and place a mental bookmark, a bookmark that reminds me that now is the time I need to bring equanimity back to the forefront of my true-self.
Here’s the no BS deal folks: Training and running a marathon is easy, an ultra distance gravel bike ride is a mere jot around the park in comparison to consciously keeping equanimity at the forefront of our minds. Practicing and learning how to bring evenness to your mind and spirit – Equanimity – Takes a lot of work! Although, at the end of the day … Its pretty damn cool to sit back, chill, watching the world unfold before our eyes. Without lamenting about some cyclist, during some silly ride.
Never let the future disturb you. You will meet it, if you have to, with the same weapons of reason which today arm you against the present-
Note: Over the course of the next few posts, I am going to try to write about – equanimity – Key word being try. Personally, writing and discussing equanimity is tricky and this is where I need your help! I implore you to share your thoughts and insights on this very “tricky” topic. Thank you for your help in advance!
Equanimity is not about being a doormat to others, the world. Nor is equanimity suppressing your emotions, your true spirit. So, what the hell is it?!?
Personally, as defined by yours truly – Equanimity means maintaining mental calmness, composure, an evenness of temper, during stressful situations. There are, throughout my day, certain folks or situations that trigger within me a deep-rooted sense of anger. Which, makes it rather difficult for me to be the cool dude people often think I am? What stops me from choke slamming an ignorant driver? Lashing out verbally at a yoga instructor who leaves a tired class in high plank, only to lament how tired and sore he is? Saving the best example for last … Thinking you are having a pleasant conversation with someone, only to find out they were not listening, enamored with their gadget instead.
I have found equanimity to be my most calming state of mind, especially when interacting with people who rub me the wrong way and push my “buttons“.
If you want to make it through the day with an inner sense of grace and calm, equanimity is going to take you a lot farther than hostility. Let’s play around with the wording … If you want to make it through a challenging power yoga class? Allow equanimity to guide you, instead of being a chump, a whining chump who spews hate and hostility having to do a plank for two minutes.
Popular culture is a place where pity is called compassion, flattery is called love, propaganda is called knowledge, tension is called peace, gossip is called news, and auto-tune is called singing-
*Continued from Wednesday*
When I first started to become aware and conscious of what was (is) happening in the present moment, both inside and outside my body: I tapped into a powerful life changing skill. Even more powerful than running a marathon or some whimsical power yoga class and even more powerful than lifting a ton of weights and boasting about my efforts. Mindfulness allowed me to witness my own thoughts and feelings, to observe them as they pass by, like clouds effortlessly floating through the warm, blue sky above. Mindfulness has graciously offered me a front row seat, to a show, that is my own mind, and what a messed up show it can be at times!
When I first started writing years ago, I recklessly held onto judgment, ego and reaction. Little did I care to know about the true purpose of mindfulness … To be able to see what is happening inside, without ownership, judgment, ego or reaction. Instead of simply witnessing the thoughts of my mind, its endless cravings for attention, bitching, and bloated opinions? I reacted to everything, everything that my mind suggested (look up the old posts). I flat-out refused to take a seat, where to place my attention, and consequently, how to live my life.
Mindfulness allowed me to discover the awareness to which my mind’s play appeared before me, in a comfy, velvety seat.
Mindfulness is a tremendously powerful practice and well deserving of the attention it is receiving of late. We should be tread lightly though, mindfulness is more than a social media trend, more that just posting your workout results on Facebook, for the world to marvel at. True mindfulness, the mindfulness I have surrendered to, is a challenge that requires the up most dedication, awareness and humility – But damn, mindfulness is well worth the effort.
Who brought the popcorn? The show is about to begin …
Only idiots fail to contradict themselves three times a day-
All the talk on the blog-o-sphere and down at the local bodega, is that everyone is “practicing” mindfulness and becoming spiritual folks. Sounds pretty cool to me!
While any sparkly toe dipped in the practice of “spiritual” awareness is beneficial, there is a trend in mindfulness, which will interfere with and obstruct the full power of a gentle mindfulness practice.
Without awareness of this “trend“, we spend years lost, wandering in yet another prison of our ego, another trap of the mind, and as a result; We miss out on the real gifts mindfulness practice so gently brings us. Mindfulness is trendy, it’s hip and its cool. This is fantastic news! Although, we must be careful that like other trends, mindfulness does not get swallowed up in the next stream of CrossFit, Flavor of the month Yoga, Fixie Bikes and enjoying a Gluten Free lifestyle.
This is why I am worried, and writing these pedantic, bloviated posts of late: These new -mindful folks- are becoming yet another form of their already, inflated ego(s). Prideful and Mindful do not play in the sandbox of life together – Kindly.
With mindfulness on the trendy “social media” radar?!? We cannot afford to miss the chance to change what this powerful practice can reveal to us: Who and How we are, and simply … Being.
Embracing mindfulness is a solid step along our paths in life. However, don’t rest quite yet, and don’t congratulate yourself yet either. For there is still much work to be done …
*Part two of this nauseating post will be posted this Friday*