Finding Equinimity as Parents

A tough thing about this gig is the polarity of moods. From great to terrible and back again. I can hardly keep up. Yesterday I had a major mommy win in which I fulfilled my vision of coaxing both little girls to sleep in their carseats so I could watch the ocean crash against the shore.

While they slept I indulged in my guiltiest pleasure (Instagram). And I started listening to a new audio book: "Yes, Please" by Amy Poehler. Before I could get too settled in the baby woke up and then the big one woke up and the peace quickly morphed into loud tears.

The rest of the day followed suit. Skyla cried the whole way home. Messes ensued, forming faster than I could fix. The baby is becoming a munchkin. She rarely stops moving and she can climb onto our bed by herself. She has teeth and a mischievous giggle.

My children, they lasso my heart with ribbons of sweet baby's breath, and they squeeze out of me all the energy and patience and resources I have to give. They are relentless demanding little bosses and they kick my ass on a regular basis.

The joy and the misery are two sides of the same coin. I can't have a front without a back, an up without a down.

Buddhism teaches about equanimity: seeing good and bad as essentially the same. Not letting yourself be pulled too low or high. Practicing nonattachment. When I start feeling strong negative emotions (and when I remember) I pray for equanimity. Not indifference but evenness. So that my heart stops beating to the rhythm of anger. So that I don't slip and say something I regret. So that I can give my little loves a decent example to follow.

It's hard. A continuous practice. But when I write about it, it becomes that much easier.

By default we take our troubles with the utmost seriousness even when we know they will dissolve should we allow them.

Ultimately, we have control over very little, but we do have control over our moods.

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To read more of my thoughts on motherhood, mindfulness and the creative life, please follow my blog or subscribe via feedburner.

Have you heard of resistance?

Have you heard of resistance? Resistance is the force that stops us from doing what we want to be doing.

The force that feeds fundamentalism, addiction, hate and depression. A proliferating fungus, a tumor of stagnant energy, a cloud that suffocates our brains and chases our hearts every time we so much as think about doing it. Whatever "it" is.

Maybe the resistance comes in the form of silence. Maybe in the form of distraction. Maybe you don't use your voice even though you've found it. Maybe you don't ask for help even when you know who to ask. Maybe you type the words but you never send, or never post. Maybe you have a demanding day job or children at home and you never make the time.

No one is going to give you the time. You have to take it. If you feel in the seat of your soul that there is something you need to be doing whether it be swimming daily or playing team sports or writing a story or painting a picture or traveling the world--and you're not doing it--you have succumbed to resistance.

Sometimes we bury our desires under so many layers of ego and opinion and appearance, that we forget what they are. But we can't ignore the tug at our hearts.

Something's missing.

Society, loved ones, corporations, jobs, bosses, other people, they usually have ideas on what we should be doing. Where we should live. How we should live. People are quick to speak, declaring what is best for us, what we need, what we don't need. They believe themselves the authority and because they don't have ill intentions, because they probably love us, we might think to listen.

But the only person who knows what's best for you is you. Only you know where the resistance hides, and what it's hiding.

When I saw the Dalai Lama speak, a man asked him a tough question. The Dalai Lama responded, "I don't know." His audience of thousands waited patiently for him to continue. He did not. He demonstrated that it's okay not knowing. We don't need to pretend we are authorities. We don't need to know everything. We can feel our way through darkness when we don't know the way. We can cast aside our egos and revel in the mystery.

I enjoy growing older because I feel as if I am growing into myself. Growing stronger into myself. So that when someone tells me what to do, I know that I don't have to listen. When someone says something about me or makes a judgment either implicit or explicit, I don't have to believe them.

They don't know me, not all of me. I know me. And I know resistance. And I know that when the resistance builds up like plaque on dirty teeth or toxins in the blood that the only cure is not a deep cleaning nor a drastic detox, but time. And when I grow bored of whatever it is that's scaring me from blogging or writing or submitting, whether it be exposure or self-doubt or judgment, I can start again and be further along than where I left off. Because overcoming resistance is a story in and of itself. 

"Resistance is directly proportional to love. If you're feeling massive Resistance, the good news is, it means there's tremendous love there too. If you didn't love the project that is terrifying you, you wouldn't feel anything. The opposite of love isn't hate; it's indifference."

-- from the book that inspired today's blog: "The War of Art" by Steven Pressfield

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To read more of my musings on motherhood, mindfulness and the creative life, please follow my blog or subscribe via feedburner.