March 17, 2015
We are approaching the vernal equinox. That's when day and night are equal in length. Winter's deep freeze and long, dark nights are coming to an end, and the water from melting snow and ice is beginning to flow. Tiny green shoots are poking up out of the ground. With all this growth and vitality, there is an exuberance to spring much like the energy of young children. It is powerful and changeable. One day can be warm and sunny and another cold and windy. With all this changing weather, we can feel blown about emotionally as well. It is a good time of year to deepen our practice of equanimity, especially if we work with young children. We need to hold firm to the ground under our feet, even if it is muddy. That is where objectivity, clear decision-making and stability come from: feet on the ground and thoughts uplifted. How do we achieve emotional equanimity? It helps to begin recognizing our emotions, including joy and its expansiveness. Rather than letting joy carry us away and outside of ourselves, we can work to keep it close. If we can manage our joy, we will find it easier to manage sorrow when it comes. Sorrow has a contracting quality that might bring us to go deep within and lose touch with others and with the uplifted quality to life. Whatever life presents, we can strive to find the middle ground. That is our challenge: finding balance in spite of life's ups and downs. In addition to recognizing our own emotional state and striving for the middle ground, it is helpful to develop a belief that there is good in everything. There are several tips recommended on the "Center for Resilient Children" website. They apply for adults as well, for we are the model for what we want our children to learn. The practices are: cultivate gratitude, laugh a lot, ask for help, set realistic expectations for yourself, take time for self care, develop self calming techniques, and get plenty of rest. Just as we might experiment with standing an egg upright on the equinox, we can experiment with uprightness in spite of life's wobbliness. When I experiment with eggs, I look for one with a broad base. We can strengthen our base by consciously practicing the tips above. It is not only a gift to our children but to ourselves. It takes daily practice and some days we will succeed more than others. If we fall down, equanimity and its product, resiliency, are what we need to get back up and try again. Let life, let spring do what it does, even if we are blown over, with equanimity we have strength.