Category Archives: Equanimity

A Monday State of Mind

Often, Monday mind seems an enemy but as the Buddha taught, the mind is both friend and enemy. There is now a word for that—frenemy. I find it helpful.

For me, Mondays are no longer much different than any other day but when I lived my life through a different lens, Mondays were ragged around the edges.

Repeatedly, I told myself that Monday was a day like any other, and just as stubbornly, I refused to believe it. Then, it came true, and it wasn’t even a wish. I have known weeks of Mondays; some have lasted years.

Now what frames every day is rest, and it is relentless, its own “means to a meaning.” Without respect for rest, I discover my old Monday state of mind, more enemy than friend.

What are we to one another

but a means to a meaning we

have not yet discovered.

Camille Rankine

It seems to me that what we are to ourselves is what we are to everyone else, a means to a meaning, an ongoing discovery. We can stay stuck in an infinite loop, be more enemy than friend but life is impermanent.

No one hour will stay nor will its day. Each is yet another means to a meaning and another and another….

I look to the many-hued hours. They offer a kaleidoscope of experience, some scintillating while others offer fog. I don’t always find meaning.

Some remain a Monday state of mind, at best a frenemy.

Aim for Even posts offer equanimity a dose at a time. No day or dose is ever the same, even if the aim is. You may read about the origins of Aim for Even here or on this site’s About page.

Walking Around Holes

This continues to be a week of discovery for me. So many new streets to walk, not without pitfalls, as it turns out.

Chapter One

I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in.
I am lost… I am helpless.
It isn’t my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.

(Portia Nelson, There’s a Hole in My Sidewalk: The Romance of Self-Discovery)

There are five stanzas–chapters–in Nelson’s poem. The hole does get deeper but it takes less than forever to find a way out.

Finally, the repetition—doing the same thing over and over and getting the same results— becomes apparent. She walks around the hole. The final stanza or chapter is a single line, “I walk down another street.”

With new holes to discover, no doubt. 🙂 Similarly, I have walked such streets but less so, now.

Walking requires focus and without it, I fall in a hole every time. When I focus, I find a way around. As well, it does not take me as long to realize that certain streets were never a way for me. Never.

I don’t feel denied for there are so many streets I’ve yet to travel. It is mine to keep my life lens open.

Aim for Even posts offer equanimity a dose at a time. No day or dose is ever the same, even if the aim is. You may read about the origins of Aim for Even here or on this site’s About page.

 

Lose the Questions

Frequently, I write about questions. For me, they best express not only my awe of life but also when I am least enamored.

In other words, a question sparks my curiosity, like a match. It explodes into the light of beginning.

A question takes me into my own energy, the reality that is my now. For me, questions are eternal–they return–unlike answers that are ephemeral at best.

Yet, I know I cannot cling to my questions any more than I can avoid what they reveal to me. Not if I want to immerse myself in every moment that is my life.

In Zen, we don’t find the answers; we lose the questions.

It’s impossible to comprehend the marvel of what we are,

or to understand the mystery of life’s impeccable genius.

Weed out the confusion that comes from trying to understand.

(Mary Maezen Miller, Paradise in Plain Sight)

Now, best I get to weeding my plot of paradise.

Aim for Even posts offer equanimity a dose at a time. No day or dose is ever the same, even if the aim is. You may read about the origins of Aim for Even here or on this site’s About page.

Feats of Thoughtfulness

I cannot think of a moment when kindness is not essential. Yet, it remains a hard practice for me.

Always, I start with the small stuff–especially on difficult days—when I want to shout, not necessarily to be heard but just to shout at senselessness.

I “can build a whole world around the tiniest of touches” (Carol Rifka Brunt)–world building, moment by moment. A kind word or a gentle touch—a hug— interrupts my momentum, perhaps saving me from a slide down yet another slippery slope.

I like to think of world building as a balancing act with kindness keeping me in the middle-of-the-road, providing me perspective on both sides of the spectrum, saving me from the tipping point.

Perhaps this is how we effect change everywhere—in tiny touches with surprising feats of thoughtfulness.

Aim for Even posts offer equanimity a dose at a time. No day or dose is ever the same, even if the aim is. You may read about the origins of Aim for Even here or on this site’s About page.

Love’s Other Name

Suffering seems like it’s everywhere because it is. Always has been. The Buddha taught nothing but suffering and the end of suffering. The teaching is still with us for we still suffer.

I find it hard not to turn away from others’ suffering. I’m not much better with my own. How can I extend compassion to anyone else when I’m so reluctant to understand my own suffering?

When I wrap myself up in my own pain, be it emotional, physical or both, the tighter wound I am, the more I suffer. My suffering releases only when I remember that experiencing pain is part of my human experience

Understanding releases my suffering and love–“understanding’s other name”–awaits. Even in my worst moments, no love is not an option. Self-compassion brings understanding to my suffering.

It’s nourishing, this love. A good friend calls it the “ginormous heart.” Each of us has so much of it to give.

Understanding someone’s suffering is the best gift

you can give another person.

Understanding is love’s

other name. If you don’t understand,

you can’t love.

When we feed and support our own happiness,

we are nourishing our ability to love.

That’s why to love means to learn

the art of nourishing our happiness.

Thich Nhat Hanh

Aim for Even posts offer equanimity a dose at a time. No day or dose is ever the same, even if the aim is. You may read about the origins of Aim for Even here or on this site’s About page.

Groundless in the Time of the Impossible

While it seems impossible at first,

you soon recognize that with everything

there is a point of balance

and you just have to find it.

(Amy Tan)

Experience has shown me that in each day a point of balance exists no matter how pervasive the impossible.

I find my fulcrum in the unlikeliest of places. It means going groundless as Pema Chödrön calls it.

I must trust in myself, go all in. After all, becoming comfortable with “getting tossed around with right and wrong” is a lifetime experience (Chödrön). No two times are the same but with practice comes acceptance.

Less and less am I concerned with sides. If I’m on one, I am not on the other. I am separate. It seems to me that survival in this physical dimension relies on connecting separate shores.

Maybe staying connected is our #DailyDose of the impossible. After all, each of us is unique in our expression as a human being. We are born to difference but animated by the same energy. We are all star dust.

Each moment is mine to find my fulcrum, some days a tipping point, some days not.

Every day you may have broken

down in guilt and failure.

Every day may have shown you

your helplessness a thousandfold.

Yet each new day brings

new sun, new air, and new grace.

(Eberhard Arnold)

Groundless in the time of the impossible.

Aim for Even posts offer equanimity a dose at a time. No day or dose is ever the same, even if the aim is. You may read about the origins of Aim for Even here or on this site’s About page.

What Better Thing to Do

Yesterday, Mary Oliver posted a bit of her poem, ” Mockingbirds,” on Facebook. The Atlantic featured it on April 30 as the poem of the day but as Oliver pointed out, a poem can be the poem of the day on any day. Indeed.

This morning
two mockingbirds
in the green field
were spinning and tossing

the white ribbons
of their songs
into the air.
I had nothing

better to do
than listen.*

My mother taught me listening but it was decades before I heard her. Now, I wonder if I ever have anything better to do.

*For the rest of  the poem, please click here.

Aim for Even posts offer equanimity a dose at a time. No day or dose is ever the same, even if the aim is. You may read about the origins of Aim for Even here or on this site’s About page.