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.
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.
People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf-
You Dear Reader(s), help me up, when I’m feeling down – Each and every one of you make me feel alive! It has been an inspiring week and I hope each of you, every one of you, have a wonderful weekend!
I know how I feel having you in my life – I’m feeling good!
Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable. Be honest and frank anyway-
Dear yoga studio,
Not long ago, I visited you after settling into your lovely city. This letter is nothing personal, it’s just that you remind me of who I am not: someone who is vain and self-centered.
To clarify, I’m not the least bit upset with the caring teacher(s) and the helpful staff. It’s just frustrating to be surrounded in a studio environment, by things I can’t stand, and embarrassing to acknowledge how I used to act that way.
My Saturday morning vinyasa flow “experience” also made me realize that I live in a world full of “things” I don’t love, and sometimes, its me.
Which makes me wish for one of two things this dreary Cambridge morning: to become a vain, “look at me yoga student” in a trendy studio, or to become more compassionate towards myself and those around me. And seeing I’m too cheap to play the lottery, I’m striving for compassion. Besides, I suspect that compassion is considerably more fulfilling than being sweaty and having a chiseled body (or so I tell myself in the mirror every morning).
Understand, I have nothing against your Lulu clad, and mirror adorned studio. And yes! It is possible to attend some classes without falling upon the hedonic treadmill that is egotism and vanity.
I guess what I’m just trying to say is, that I ache for a more nurturing and compassionate yoga studio environment. What seemingly began as a harshly toned letter, has gently evolved into a “Thank you” note.
Without the heart opening class in your studio, I never would have fully realized who I’m not: someone who needs to look “good” in order to feel good.