let-go-2-1So lately I’ve been feeling pretty shitty. And while I’ve been hanging in there knowing that this too shall pass, and that all I can do is just ride it out, doing what I can in small ways to help myself feel better, I’ve also been putting a lot of pressure on myself.

The word ‘equanimity’ has been dancing back of mind for some days, as I’ve sought to understand what it really means, when it really counts, when it’s really bloody hard to find it.

The one thing I haven’t been doing a whole lot of though, is accepting. A quick glance at Facebook this morning blessed me with several posts that reminded me in the gentlest of ways that these fluctuations – the ups & downs of clarity & confusion, sickness & health, energy & exhaustion, inspiration & not-having-a-bloody-clue-what’s-next, are all a part of the play, the inevitable extremes between which my Life happens.

But in my very earnest desire to cultivate equanimity, I’ve actually been judging myself really harshly, expecting way too much.

Q: How can there be equanimity in a culture of such tension?
A: There can’t.

Aaaaaaaah. The relief. Body softens.

This happens a lot for me. A suffering-inspired closer inspection into these beautiful, precious, oh-so-subtle & noble yogic concepts shows me how often and how very cleverly ego tries to hijack them, and use them for itself.

We see it all the time right, the seemingly equanimous and detached yogi who is clearly terrified of feeling, of getting hurt again, or having to navigate and possibly drown in the messy soup of emotion that life just is sometimes.

And while stable and reliable, even inspirational, to me he lacks a certain depth and empathy. I can’t feel him or the ‘truth’ he attempts to share.

Because the thing is that inside and at the heart of all these intense emotions is wisdom, the reward perhaps for having the courage and patience to be broken down and emptied out of all of the lies we still believe about ourselves, over and over again.

I had defined equanimity as evenness; equalness of mind. The ability to remain undisturbed, steady at the centre while the boat of life rocks this way and that.

And while this may still be true, I feel I need to expand upon my definition out of compassion for myself. What remains undisturbed is the Self, not the ego. In order to know the Self, the ego needs a whole lot of disruption and rattling. It’s messy sometimes, but it’s also very beautiful. To keep the ego undisturbed takes a mother-load of control that is rigid and full of fear. No thanks.

A few days ago I was out and something upset me to the point of tears, but I really didn’t want to cry in that situation so I bit my quivering lip and held on tight. I would save my tears for the safety of home. Talking about it with my partner once I got there, all floppy on the couch, I felt the emotion rise up again but this time I let it come. I felt my face contort and get all scrunchy, the hot wetness of tears as they rolled down my cheek.

At that point I didn’t even know exactly why I was crying, only that I had to. There was no accompanying storyline, just pure emotion. I could literally feel the pressure releasing, like a garden hose that’s sprung a little leak. The pressure that I’d been piling up inside myself and upon myself for days, weeks, always?

And then my partner did the loveliest thing. He got me a tissue, first of all, and then he picked up his guitar, sat beside me on the edge of the couch, and sang “Om Namo Narayani” from beginning to end (thanks Jojo – your beautiful version).

He sang, I cried, and breathed. I just let it all go… let it wash away. I let the fear rise up and the tension of that just melt away into trust. Trust that whatever unfolds I will be OK. I will be held eternally in the embrace of the Mother. I don’t need to worry so much about the details. I can let go.

And there it was, my old friend Equanimity.

I remembered this, again: Equanimity doesn’t live aside from the pain or pleasure, but deep inside them.  At the heart of everything, there it is. Peace.

“You cannot let go of anything if you cannot notice that you are holding it. Admit your ‘weaknesses’ and watch them morph into your greatest strengths.”   ~ Neale Donald Walsch

Om Namo Narayani