Equanimity is defined as “mental calmness, composure, and evenness of temper, especially in a difficult situation.” It’s the last part of that definition that we tend to struggle with most in the moment. When we complain about something, that’s a sign that whatever is happening is stirring up something emotional in us. Let us not forget that this emotional response is signaling that something in us needs to change – likely our perspective. It’s foolish to expect that something or someone else is going to change simply because it/they bother us.
When we care enough about ourselves, something else or someone else, there is no predetermined quota for improvement. If we care, we do. And, we will continue to do until better than good enough is achieved.
There will be days that kick the crap out of us. Days that make us feel like hope is an antiquity and purpose is a mirage. Days that knock us down for the count. Accept this truth. Then accept the good news that follows this truth. Once we’re down there’s only one place to go…up! It doesn’t matter how fast we get up. It may take a while and be tedious. If we truly seek to be governed by reason, nothing can keep us down. For there is nothing reasonable about giving up. Perhaps what knocked us down in the first place was a swift dose of reality. The reality that we need to get up in order to move towards something new. Reason doesn’t condone stagnation, but it does tend to knock sense into us when we get the crap kicked out of us.
Everyone has opinions. It’s even popular opinion that we must have opinions on everything. If we were to tell someone we don’t hold an opinion on a given topic, they will then hold the opinion that we are ignorant, choosing apathy, or they will give us their opinion disguised as certainty. However, what could be more of an act of caring than reserving the formulation of an opinion? Why should choosing not to waste good energy on speculation be anything but the right thing to do? People living in the moment don’t have opinions about it because their energy is being used to live the truth in each moment.
The root of accountability comes from an Old French word acontable, which means “answerable” or literally, “liable to be called to account.” Acontaphobia is not a word, but it should be: the fear of accountability. Hypengiaphobia is the fear of responsibility, which is close enough.
Of all the fears we know, the fear of accountability is rarely discussed, but seems to be right up there on the leaderboard with Death and Public Speaking. Even more interesting is that people with a fear of accountability also tend to fear people who actively practice accountability. They spend a great deal of time and energy trying to irrationally rationalize their own resistance to accountability instead of working towards being more accountable. They often do so by referring to people that hold them accountable as being inflexible or worse intimidating. As lopsided as it may be, make no mistake – no amount of bullshit or lies will ever amount to a truth.
Soldiers are trained for war – for active duty. They train to be put into the worst situations and do so selflessly in order to protect. Statistically, total strangers and ideas make up more than 99% for whom they are fighting. Such a small percentage is for their own families, friends and loved ones – the people they actually know personally. That’s heroic! In society, we are often fighting for ourselves and do so without much heroism. We are fighting to get more – more money, more status, more power, more material things. Yes, we do so to provide for those we know and love. However, we are constantly at war with this idea of what it means to be successful.
Such internal struggles blind us to the idea that we are really searching for peace. The peace of piece of mind. We fight so we can “relax” and “enjoy” life, but we rarely do so. We often rest only to regain the energy we need to fight another day. Life is complicated. Life is a struggle. But choosing war and wanting war for the sake of thinking it’s the only way to gain piece of mind is perhaps missing the mark of what it means to find peace. Peace is not achieved through war. War is the reaction to a reality without peace. There’s wisdom in choosing to not engage in warfare for the sake of validating an inability to be at peace. In these moments, may we learn to first question the core of our unrest.
Life is not lived on a Pass/Fail grading scale. However, many of us feel the need to end each day with such extreme weighted grades. The day was either success or failure. That’s absolute thinking and life is far more relative than absolute. That’s why the grading scale goes from A+ all the way down to F. Both success and failure have wiggle room. We also don’t often allow ourselves the luxury of marking periods; a duration of time to reflect back on a periods in our lives to gather up enough data to make informed decisions about how we are doing. Moreover, we often overlook the beauty of getting a C.
The slogan “Life is Good” really means to appreciate the notion that balance is what we need. Life’s grading scale: C is good, B is better, A is best, A+ is stellar, D is not great, E is worse, F is rock bottom. In reality, are our days either “stellar” or “rock bottom?” Likely not, yet we likely know people who devote their energy to such extremes. How draining it must be to live only knowing extreme highs and lows. There’s no balance. Life teeters! Teetering gives us perspective to know the difference between what we want to push ourselves towards, and what we want to move away from. That’s balance! When life is good, we have the energy to push for excellence. Energy comes from knowing the value of balance.