In the recent past, I had an extremely difficult supervisor. I couldn't concentrate at work due to the on-going conflict with my supervisor. My stomach stayed in knots. No amount of asana (yoga poses) or pranayama (yogic breathing techniques) ever relieved the stress. My self-worth and confidence suffered.
So I Turned Up The Volume Of My Meditation Practice
Through meditation, I was able to think more clearly, and be less reactive or impulsive when dealing with him. In other words, I didn't quit my job due to my emotions and make myself and my family homeless. I was able to use reason instead of just my gut response.
Meditation enabled me to keep these aspects of my Self in sync-my head and my heart. It empowered me to think clearly, in a non-reactive (meaning destructive) manner, and it motivated me to find a new job by decreasing my negativity and increasing the innate confidence I already had in my abilities.
Obviously, looking for a new job was a reactive response to the on-going situation with my supervisor. However, it is a healthy and productive reactive response as opposed to just quitting my job. The on-going conflict increased my passion (my heart, my gut) to create a strategy (my head) necessary to illicit change in my employment and in my life.
By cultivating a balance between the head and the heart, I was able to develop a healthy response to a life situation.
What Is This Balance Called? Equanimity
There are many definitions of Equanimity. They usually say something like "mental calmness", "composure", or "even temper in difficult situations." I personally define is as "not loses my shit."
With equanimity, we are able to engage with the world around us and see the changing patterns. Equanimity enables us to recognize that difficult thoughts, worries and feelings will change and pass.
Think about the world around us in this past year-COVID, the presidential election, George Floyd, and list goes on. The news cycle was contained with events, people and actions that caused many of us anxiety, worry, fear, and anger. Cultivating equanimity is a resource that can help us navigate all this unpredictability of the world without losing our balance.
How Can We Cultivate Equanimity?
Meditation!! Bring our heart and head in sync with each other. Create a synergy between the rational and the emotional selfs. Meditation lets us dive deeper. It lets us explore how all the parts of our SELF are intertwined. It reduces those fluctuations of mind chatter (yogas chitta vritti nirodha). It reduces attachments to unhelpful emotions...so that you can have an even temper in difficult situations. Meditation gives us the tools to develop stillness...quieting the ruminations, the what ifs, the could have beens, the attachments to identity or self-worth and the attachment to things, people and outcomes you can't change.
An Equanimity Practice
Take a few moments and when you are ready journal about your experience and throughout the day bring some awareness to meeting everything (good and bad) anchored and balanced like a mountain.
Let’s discuss a topic near and dear to many yogis’ hearts-Journaling. Being a yoga instructor, I continually hear how my students love to journal, I take yoga trainings and they make me journal, and I constantly read how journaling is great for the soul.
Let’s be frank, I’m not the journaling type but I definitely can see the benefits and I’m working on being more consistent with it. Normally since I have a long commute to and from work, I process my daily life in my head. However, I think journaling may be faster—you remove yourself from the situation at hand and become the witness.
Sometimes, I get bogged down in the day-to-day activities and lose sight of what is truly important to me. Like everyone, I can lose sight of my connection to my dharma, my true identity, etc. and journaling can help bring everything back into focus.
Personally, when I take the time to journal it makes me less reactive towards others. Not necessarily kinder-but less likely to rip someone’s (say…like my husband) head off. Journaling makes me reflect on what I appreciate about others and why they are in my life (good or bad). It also makes me realize how I judge others based on the expectations I set for myself. Everyone is doing the best that they can and I’m learning how to be content with whatever the outcomes are…which is really hard for a control freak like me.
I also think journaling helps me grasp how it is related to Ego and identifying with the Ego. I’m learning to get out of the way of myself and the load of malarkey that I carry as if it were the true me. This creates barriers and walls that I use to protect myself…which impacts my relationships with others.
I realize this by seeing it laid out bare in a journal entry. It is very eye opening.
Journaling helps me process the information I already have (I know this stuff! Those duh! moments) and apply it to access a deeper place. I am a head-y person and analyzing logical information (journal entries) to gain wisdom is something I think I will always be working on.
Ultimately, I take the wisdom gained and apply it to understand the nature of SELF—that is a leap of faith-not only in the process but in myself and my inherent nature; that connection with something greater than myself. Journaling makes me step back and look at how my lifestyle and behaviors impact my true nature.
I hope to continue this process called journaling to make better choices.
NOW LET'S START JOURNALING:
Start easy...Keep it simple!
Journal every day for next two weeks (since i bet, you're cooped up in the house anyway!)
• Write down ONE thing that disturbed your peace
• Write down WHY it disturbed your peace
• Write down HOW you reacted
After two weeks, go back and re-read your entries. Did anything change? Did your reactions change? Did the things that bother you change? There is no right or wrong answer-just notice if anything shifted.
Then keep going...don't stop...keep writing!
Research has shown gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.
Gratitude is an action!
It is not happiness that brings us gratitude
It is gratitude that brings us happiness
Let's reflect on the many things we have been blessed with this year.
The quarantine has meant more time together as families and has reinforced the importance of human connection and friendship. Remember heroes come from all walks of life and as we enter the season of giving, now more than ever, be grateful for the support of your community.
Gratitude Exercise: Take some time to journal about how this year has brought gratitude into your life. Who might you add to this list (people, pets, things, events)?
Inspired by and adapted from Maryland University of Integrative Health's weekly gratitude email.
I AM Boundless Bliss Yoga. Just me. I'm a one-lady band. I'm a yoga therapist. I didn't start out to be a yoga therapist, I just wanted to learn more and SHAAAZZAMM...here I am.