Equanimity. What does it mean and how will this help me heal?
Equanimity is a word I have been studying and a mindset I have been working towards for a while. I first heard it in a yoga class a couple of years ago and had no idea what it meant. But now that I have gained a much better understanding of the word and mindset, it feels like an evenness of spirit and emotion. Not indifference, but a gentler and kinder approach towards outside circumstances, other people and toward myself.
The dictionaries describe equanimity as a state of psychological stability and composure which is undisturbed by experience of or exposure to emotions, pain, or other phenomena that may cause others to lose the balance of their mind.
But most of my research on this state of mind directed me towards the Buddhist explanation which described a mind filled with equanimity as “abundant, exalted, immeasurable, without hostility, and without ill-will.
Now try to adopt this stable composure and lack of hostility and ill-will as you think about your ex, your family, and anyone else who might trigger you emotionally… Suddenly equanimity can feel really hard.
I have just returned home from a visit with my family in Norway. It’s where I am from and my parents and sister still live there. We had a great visit which was my goal because when I was there in the fall it was much more strained and at times contentious. My mom and I fought; my sister and I disagreed and I felt my dad was disappointed in me. And truth be told I was disappointed with myself for having engaged in fights with my mom like that. It’s not who I endeavor to be and it is certainly not what I teach or coach. In fact when I came home in the fall I shared this with my students, clients and members to show that this work is never done and that we must always strive to grow and do better where needed.
As soon as I came home from the fall trip I told my husband what had happened and that I needed to go back soon. This couldn’t be the last time I saw my mom or dad. And because we live so far from each other I didn’t want this uncomfortable feeling to be the one we all had inside us when we spoke and corresponded.
So I did what I do – I did “the work”. Meaning I spent time reflecting on what happened and my role as that is all that I can control and change. I journaled to understand better and to play out scenarios to see how they felt. Scenarios of what and why. I used moon rituals to release negative emotions and grudges and to set intentions for better relationships with them. And I want to take a moment here to share with you how incredibly grateful I am for these practices and the knowledge of how to use them to guide me in my desire to be and do better.
And it worked! I went back with an entirely different mindset and we had an entirely different visit.
Equanimity can be summed up in 5 words – it is what it is.
Did my mom ever say anything that could potentially trigger me? Sure she did! The thing that changed was my reaction to those moments. I chose to say to myself “she is who she is” and this is not going to change my enjoyment of this day. I learned that I can disagree with her but still really enjoy my time with her. I saw that when I approached from a place of peace instead of having to be right, then it really wasn’t a big deal. And the peace that followed was so much nicer than any feeling that comes with having “said my peace” or something like that.
I used to feel that I needed to stand up for myself so they (whoever) won’t treat me with disrespect or cross my boundaries. I spent years being disrespected and treated badly by my ex husband so I have often felt a real need to stand up and be heard in a way that I couldn’t do all those years. To stand in my power. But I have realized that I feel much more powerful when I can find peace and grace in a challenging situation instead of engaging in a fight or taking a more aggressive stand.
I thoroughly enjoyed my time with my parents and my sister. And I think I can confidently say they enjoyed me more as well as I was calm, happy and clearly comfortable with myself instead of being on edge as I had been in the fall when I was quick to cry and feel hurt and judged.
I am grateful for the work I did on myself and so happy to have spent this wonderful time with them, enjoying each other’s company, and could feel their love and appreciation for me being there.
I arrived home feeling great while also missing them as they are once again so far away. But now I also know that it will be easy to return and they know they don’t need to worry about my mental state when I do. 🤪
Tomorrow I will be holding a group coaching call with my Rising Free members and we will work through this together. This is what lights up my day!
In fact, if you are a woman going through separation and divorce I would love for you to join us on this call and future calls as we discuss all the issues related to adjusting to this new life without your partner and the healing that must follow. We meet every week and there is a spot there just for you! 😍 Click the picture below to learn more.