Tag Archives: equanimity

Year of Self-Compassion #27 #Equanimity

I have written a blog, in fact two for today, but neither of them will find their ways to the public space just yet. I can’t bring myself to be that vulnerable and make another part of my story visible. Writing can leave me thread bare and that is not always the best thing for my own wellbeing. Over sharing can be bad for your health, yet the constant yearning to be more transparent, bringing all of myself and wholeheartedness to conversations invites me to see-saw through my own expectations. Vulnerability has a price I am not always prepared to pay.

Paying attention to small, scratchy thoughts, can be a distraction, a way to skip through decisions that yearn to not be made. The daffodils will however break through the icy, cold soil with all their power and might to bloom in the spring. Inviting these new flowers to appear in the landscape, means they have to be planted first, and in the dark they begin to transform long before they are visible to the light, yet it is still the light that calls them forth. Such an obvious metaphor in songs and poems for as long as humans have not been able to find the words to explain transformation.

Every tradition has its stories of butterflies and bulbs, seasonal changes and the rhythm of life. Everything we need to know is in our bodies and everywhere we look. Setting out in the dark on any journey might well be a helpful reminder in these times. My habits of the years, to pack my bags the night before, place them by the door, leave before dawn breaks and watch the night give way to shards of light to welcome me to a new day, another step on my way. I like to travel light and give myself a badge of honour for taking only what I need and improvising as unexpected opportunities or challenges come (which is inevitable).

Setting out in the dark is with the knowledge that the morning will come regardless of anything I will do, I have to do absolute nothing for the sun to rise. It will rise with or without me. My insignificance is a great comfort. I show up. But of course just showing up isn’t enough, its what you do with the day, how you leave it at the end and what bags you might pack for the next day and the next and the next as you once again leave in the dark. And even when you are fully prepared or perhaps a bit over prepared, something unexpected is going to happen, the plane will be delayed, you will run into someone you don’t want to see, you will find an extra $5 in the pocket of your jacket – all wonderfully, sometimes intoxicating invitations to move away or towards, invitations to say but instead of and, invitations to stay the course or take a tiny detour in self-talk you call a correction or edit. Whatever the day holds for you, you have already shown up, that’s the first step in the dance with your day, it’s not the only one.

In this year of self-compassion, the amygdala, those almond shaped parts of my brain are getting a daily workout. Their job is to support me to be ready for fear or emergency situations,and offer up playing possum, processing emotions and memory. Recognising and understanding emotions are carrying memories of bags not packed, of not showing up, or perhaps even not getting out the door in the dark, are designed just for me. While it is a circular process, it is not going around in circles, and holding on to a proven process, is, perhaps the self-compassion piece inviting more equanimity. And now I remember I have packed a poem for this purpose (originally appearing in this blog post from 2013).

Blessing For Equanimity
As the dawn breaks and your head aches
May you be blessed with a still mind

As the morning opens to the day
May you put down divisions and look for synergies

As the sun reaches its height
May you call on your higher self

As vespers arrives and unfinished business haunts
May you gratefully gather up the remains of the day

As evening comes and you toss and turn
May you be rested and refreshed by a deep sleep

As the darkness settles in
May you be filled with starlight.

And may the Man in Sapphire Blue
Bless you with equanimity.
(c) M Deslandes, 2013

Hildegard-Trinity-1200x857

Hildegard of Bingen – Man in Sapphire Blue

Study in Blue

Hildegard Man in Sapphire Blue

I decided to mediate on one of Hildegard’s illuminations this week and see what she had to tell me. I chose the Man in Sapphire Blue. When I looked at it, I was reminded of finger stitching we all learnt as youngsters and created on the top of cotton reels with a square of four little tacks or nails. Do you remember creating one? Then winding it round and round into a circle?

In this image the weave surrounds the Man in Sapphire Blue and has one entrance and exit. Matthew Fox invites us to notice “the aperture at the man’s head, so that this powerful healing energy can leave his own field and mix with others – and vice versa” (Fox, M Illuminations of Hildegard of Bingen, 1985 p.23). The energy we have to heal and to receive to be healed can seem to seep into and out of us if we allow ourselves to receive that energy and let it soak in. The outer concentric circles remind me of two things – the planets pathways circling around the sun and ripples on a pool when a stone in thrown in. Both these images require something solid and steady and energised at the centre and here she has the Man in Sapphire Blue holding that space.

I have held the Man in Sapphire Blue at the centre of my meditation, and considered what healing energy might ooze out to me this week. Interestingly I was surprised that the focus I drew was on the little (and big) prejudices I hold and how I allow them to be reinforced. When I hear about the tragedies of shootings in USA, it reinforces my attitudes to the US as gun toting, war mongers who don’t appreciate their place in the geo-political realities of being a super power. When I hear someone shouting at their children in the shopping mall I wonder how long it will be before child protection services will need to be called in. When I see a man being extra helpful and kind to a woman I am suspicious of his motives. All irrational and illogical connections, but ones built on some flimsy facts and experiences.

As this has been a Study in Blue, I also was drawn back of a song of Sinead O’Connor’s: We People are Darker than Blue and with the choir and a mixture of musical styles yearns for the end of prejudice, segregation and separation.

Divisions are big and small – from the Gaza strip to the internal conflict between our false and true selves. It seems to me that there are big and small prejudices just below the surface for those of us who think we may be above them. None of us are really exempt from the virus of division, and it is an act of constant vigilance to keep above it all. There are many times however where I hang on to my prejudices and they even serve to protect me – but isn’t that the lesson? To learn to be vulnerable in spite of our differences?

Hildegard’s Man in Sapphire Blue seems to be reaching out with outstretched hands as if to channel a blessing for equanimity to me – surely the antidote to division.

I wrote this little Blessing for Equanimity in the genre of Blessings shared by John O’Donohue.

Blessing For Equanimity
As the dawn breaks and your head aches
May you be blessed with a still mind

As the morning opens to the day
May you put down divisions and look for synergies

As the sun reaches its height
May you call on your higher self

As vespers arrives and unfinished business haunts
May you gratefully gather up the remains of the day

As evening comes and you toss and turn
May you be rested and refreshed by a deep sleep

As the darkness settles in
May you be filled with starlight.

And may the Man in Sapphire Blue
Bless you with equanimity.
(c) M Deslandes, 2013