Equanimity is the hallmark of spirituality. It is neither chasing nor avoiding but just being in the middle-
Equanimity, surrender, bliss when our heart(s) are graced with them? Is a pure gift. When we surrender to our soul and acknowledge that, we can’t do it, this, anymore. When we pause to feel the stream of life carrying us, taking us where we need to go, even though we have no idea where that might be? Some pretty cool “things” happen.
Equanimity (to me), is the willingness to meet life as it is, to stop fighting against myself or trying to change what is, right now. Feet up, surrender, and enjoy the weekend my friends 🙂
Some of us think holding on makes us strong but sometimes it is letting go-
Late last year I found myself working and “living” in our fair city, Cambridge, UK. Having fallen back in love with cycling after trying to kill myself running, instinctively I brought a few bikes with me. Riding in Cambridge is not the horror show many would lead you to believe. The streets, bridleways and footpaths this spring and summer have been refreshingly pleasant. I wake early, and not long after that, I’m out finding a pedaling flow before the sun comes up – Bliss! My almost daily rides have truly been wonderful, that is until last Sunday morning.
As I approached a blind corner near the top of Chapel Hill, which runs into a lovely, peaceful wooded path. There was a woman walking ahead of me, and my presence startled her.
“You need to be riding back on Chapel Hill road with the other cyclist,” she told me hastily.
“Good morning ma’am?” I replied, as my unquestionable ‘Murican accent wafted in the still air.
“Why don’t you cyclist follow the rules like everyone else” she replied.
I dismounted slightly ahead of her, and as softly spoken as the world awakening around us … “My name is Jeremy, and I’m out here for the same reasons you are – Peace, kindness, finding equanimity in this mad world. Plus, my bike is filthy dirty … The road weenies don’t like it when I spray them with mud.”
Kate smiled and laughed at my “Cars R Coffins” jersey. I on the other hand, melted, as Kate let down her startled guard. We walked for a short while, then parted ways further down the dirt path that was unfolding in front of us … I had broken into her peaceful temple, and for that I was deeply sorry.
Cambridge, the United Kingdom, Europe and little ‘ole Omaha, Nebraska are desperately trying to “fix” cycling related things. My solution to our (yes our) epidemic of hostility and intolerance involves a fundamental change in the prevailing attitude(s) of each one of us. Kindness, gratitude, honesty and a smile are free 🙂
Toutes les opinions ne se valent pas, et il ne faut pas confondre l’éloquence d’une parole avec la justesse d’une pensée-
I used to describe my yoga “practice” as something to do when it was too cold or wet outside to go for a bike ride, better yet – Cleaning the garage. My practice this afternoon, in this moment … Is much different.
Some years ago at 8th Avenue Yoga in Omaha, I was kindly invited to attend a yoga for “beginners” workshop by a close and dear friend. This was a profound step for me personally. The instructor was kind, a caring bully you could say. I feared I wouldn’t measure up to Jeff’s standards and the rest of the class for that matter. I was dead nervous unrolling out my mat for the first time, as the fresh rubber smell wafted in the studio air, my heart pounding with anticipation of what was soon to come.
I tucked myself away in a back corner, near a set of blinds that were gently drawn back to let the morning sunlight pour in. Worrying about how my fellow classmates would see me as they walked into the warmly lit studio, I thought about how I should appear like I belonged, to seek their approval. My mind, fixed on me, and I was deeply shaken as we were asked to step to the top of our mats.
Before the workshop, I was exploring an increasing number of possible paths to seeking what I thought was perfection: Researching “mindfulness” … Self-confidence books, self-esteem courses, self-acceptance whatever, forgiveness from others, inner peace mantras and yoga “body” classes online. At each turn along this path, it was consistently suggested to me that I was living my life in the wrong way. I needed to do this, in order to became that.
Fondly remembering my first class, I recall not being open to the idea that I was “okay” and that only I know what is best for me. I learned, slowly, over the years that it’s perfectly fine to have flaws, that it’s okay to be different, and it’s absolutely essential to smile (I still struggle with this).
What I failed to realize after gathering my sweaty self from the mat after that first class was that, you are okay, and you have what it takes to be the person you are meant to become.
My imagination functions much better when I don’t have to speak to people-
The moment I finally surrendered my heart and mind to being alone, solitude became so, so sweet.
Equanimity, allowing the world to unfold before your very eyes. Steady, kind, compassionate thoughts. Your mind not grasping, reaching, or recoiling from the unpleasant words sitting just behind your pursed lips and brow. When this happens? The sweet pulse of the universe, resonates deeply.
Cultivating self-compassion softens the loneliness that often makes finding equanimity unbearable. I often have to remind myself that the pain of loneliness, ebbs and flows. Sure, my loneliness is burning deep right now. Although if I’m patient?!? This loneliness too shale pass, and the sweetness of equanimity will soon take its place.
The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper-
From an early age, I was led to believe that I needed to become a “better” and “improved” version of myself, even if at first I didn’t exactly understand why. When I was young lad, I found myself inured with the basic belief that the main underlying issue to all my problems was – Me. I’m what’s wrong in the world. These thoughts have stayed with me my entire life, even now, writing to you with an open heart and mind. I have traveled the world far and wide; taken to heart many self-help books, sought out the best doctors and healers, consulted spiritual folks whose motives were unclear at the time. Everything and anything else you can imagine, all in an effort to make myself just good enough.
Many of you reading tenderly this early Spring morning, may be thinking that mindfulness, spirituality and self-help are one in the same – the latest trend to follow or a conversation starter at your local yoga studio. I don’t believe they are. Using myself as a relatively small sample size, I believe they are fundamentally different. Our society is currently in the process of turning mindfulness into an endless stream of self-help profits – Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction seminars and many other method(s) for correcting our life long ailments. What these programs do, is to misrepresent the awakening that discovering our own spirit offers.
Mindfulness is not about “fixing” anything even remotely spiritual or becoming spiritually better off than anyone else. There is no price tag attached to mindfulness. For myself, mindfulness is freedom. Freedom from the belief of my unworthiness in our mad world … Mindfulness is about acceptance. Mindfulness, when I find myself at the edge of tears after a bad day, is about meeting (again) who we really are, and allowing ourselves to experience this amazing world, in this raw, unsettling moment.
My deepest apologies for being absent Dear Readers. May all your hearts be filled with warmth and happiness this weekend – Take care!
His boredom was like a nostalgia for the whole world. He was homesick for everywhere but here-
When I close my eyes, and dream of being back home in Omaha? Sometimes, when everything is just right, Cambridge can look a lot like Nebraska! Minus Tower Bridge and the thousand-year old churches of course …
Gracious acceptance is an art – an art which most never bother to cultivate. We think that we have to learn how to give, but we forget about accepting things, which can be much harder than giving…. Accepting another person’s gift is allowing him to express his feelings for you-
Throughout our live(s) we have been led to believe that giving outweighs receiving. During the Christmas/Holiday/Festivus season, the humble “art” of giving serves as a counterbalance to society(s) increasing narcissism and isolation. Witnessing what others need to be happy requires compassion and kindness, your head to be up, eyes forward, heart open … As I walk along Regent Street, I asked myself – aloud– waiting to cross Lensfield road, a rather simple question walking to class yesterday afternoon:
Can we openly allow ourselves to be nourished by a strangers kindness? If so, how deeply do we let it in?
Weaving through the arriviste crowd onto Hills Road, I turn a corner. Life goes on.
I love going on lazy walks (especially when its 60°F in December), and as strange and awkward as it may seem (those of you who know my true shy nature) I really enjoy sharing a smile, or a “good afternoon” to those passing along in the opposite direction. In Cambridge, when I pass along a favor of stepping aside for another cyclist, the hammering of their affectionately adorned brass cycling bell, ringing in my ears … When I smile and say “hello” to a group of walkers sauntering closer to me? I’m not sure if they feel awkward, shy, or are they simply not used to people sharing kindness?
Lost in the folds of these fleeting greetings, my awkwardness and whatever, the beauty of the gift slips out of their hands. This slight on their part, eats away at me, and my mind often travels to a dark area. Where each and every question I ask myself, diminishes my ability to share compassion and kindness. I feel guilty, I continue moving on with my head down. Life goes on.
A salve for my loneliness, my increasing isolation walking to yoga class along Union Road? Is taking a moment to pause, to seek out more opportunities to share compassion and kindness when the odium comes flying in my general direction.