Here is a quote that I just loved to end on. Pema Chodron said: “Cultivating equanimity is a work in progress. We aspire to spend our lives training in the loving-kindness and courage that it takes to receive whatever appears—sickness, health, poverty, wealth, sorrow, and joy. We welcome and get to know them all.
This week we’re handing the reigns to our community correspondent, Laura. She’s talking about her relationship with the word ‘equanimity’ and facing big emotions. Her words and pictures are below.
I’ve always had a love of words and their meanings, but I’ve never found a word that has helped my mindset and progress in my practise of self compassion and mindfulness, until I found ‘equanimity’. The term equanimity is used in Buddhist practices and is defined as the ability to stand in the middle of intensity, to develop patience with uncomfortable experiences.
Equanimity is sometimes inaccurately thought of as an attitude of distance and detachment. In reality, you build equanimity by learning how to sit in uncomfortable emotions like embarrassment, shame, discouragement, frustration, anger or grief. However you are navigating life, whether it’s through the changes to our lives with Covid and the increased anxiety as life goes back to normal or something else.
Ultimately, in order to change, you must step outside of your comfort zone and take risks. This could be going to a fitness class and feeling like you’re out of shape, or joining a club based on something you love, despite worrying you won’t fit in. That hobby might even turn into a business. Or maybe this means journaling instead of eating when you feel sad – as I am just now – by writing this and posting it online I am stepping into that uncomfortable place.
You might go to a long awaited doctors appointment for your health that’s being playing on your mind for a long time. Maybe your challenge is to show your vulnerable emotions to a loved one instead of hiding your true feelings. In what ways do you need to step out of your avoidance and face your fears? Write them down if you can!
For myself, my decision to temporarily close my Photography website was just one of those choices and the right one for just now. I wasn’t giving it the love and attention that it deserved, so it had been constantly taking my thoughts up and distracting me and my self-growth. I try and prioritise self-growth and self-care, because if you’re not right then nothing will be. I made a temporary decision for a longterm goal, and my head and my heart are at peace with that. I’m back on the recovery track now.
Opening yourself up to the intensity of big emotions requires a groundwork of support and safety; maybe it’s even finding that support that is causing you to be fearful. What gives you the courage to step into your difficult emotions, to allow yourself to feel chaotic, raw, fearful, or sad?
Thanks so much for sending in your post Laura. We would love to publish more personal stories like this on Mind Waves, so if you’re interested in sharing your own mental health story, we would love to read it!
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Have a great weekend!