As we roll out onto the other side of this weekends full blue moon, here on the east coast we are being drizzled with April snow and showers. I thought I was still dreaming when I looked out the window Monday and saw giant gregarious flakes falling. Beautiful and playful, I hid my annoyance! And then my computer, my support team, my top assistant after seven years of loyal service decided to quit. I saw the signs and knew it was inevitable, but made the choice to pretend that nothing was wrong!
What do we do when our inner expectations are not in alignment with our outer landscape? This is when our yoga practice becomes most relevant in a significant way. This is when we are offered the opportunity to practice being present. To respond with curiosity rather than reacting with habit. To pause and step into what is, not what we want to be. To really be fully in our bodies and explore what is happening internally and how it feels. To breathe and make space for our whole self and our whole experience.
This week is a perfect time to realign, rebalance and are be reminded to connect with a sense of equanimity. Equanimity can be defined as having an even tempered mind and a calm composure. As you observe your outer landscape fluctuate, fickle and provocative – welcome your conscious mind to your body and land. Ground your feet. Take a slow even inhale followed by an equally slow even exhale.
As Pema Chodron defines in The Places That Scare You – “The traditional image of equanimity is a banquet to which everyone is invited. That means that everyone and everything with out exception is on the guest list.“ Just imagine who would come to that party! We are asked to welcome all experiences without bias. But, we are human – we have opinions, attractions and aversions. The challenge becomes the practice. We can practice with smaller things that get in our way at first – we wake up and see that we are out of almond milk for our coffee, a meeting has been rescheduled and we can’t make it to our favorite yoga class, or a stranger cuts us off while we are driving to work. Then we move on to bigger things – the boss that is patronizing and disrespectful, the person on the news who seems so intelligent but begins to speak and releases a string of words that express an idea that we just can’t comprehend and we feel our edges tighten, or the feeling of separation we feel when we have a strong disagreement with someone we love. ‘When we have a feeling of spaciousness and ease that is not caught up in our preference or prejudice, this is equanimity.”
Equanimity is a relevant quality to cultivate because it brings us into a space where we will sit with our shared humanity. We will watch ourself contract with engaged resistance, and then maybe, one breath at a time, we will mange to expand, and soften. We will release our tension and breathe into a space that has no borders, no boundaries, no limits. This is to arrive with freedom.