Breath is the bridge which connects life to consciousness, which unites your body to your thoughts. Whenever your mind becomes scattered, use your breath as the means to take hold of your mind again. ~ Thich Nhat Hanh
In my meditation times during this lovely season of soul-clearing and house-cleaning, I’ve been sitting again with the concept of balance. For years when the Lenten (spring) weeks circle round, I focus on practices of intentional breathing, reviewing breath exercises and wearing a ring that reminds me to “take time” and turn my noticing inward to monitor my breath as often during the day as I’m able. After all these years, it’s still not easy for me to maintain rhythmic breathing naturally. I hold my breath at times, or tighten my throat and jaw, or breathe less deeply than is truly nurturing.
To me, it seems that the spring equinox blesses us with the invitation to return, again, to sacred balance. I’ve written about balance many times, I know, for the simple reason that the energy of the world is stronger than our own individual energy, and humanity still does not—if it ever has–honor the balance that nurtures and sanctifies our earth, our spirits, our bodies, or our minds. We pull ourselves and each other into imbalance when we lose our own commitment to the sacred equanimity to which we—and all life—naturally cohere when we enter and honor the rhythm I believe we’re called to by Love, a kind of dance that co-creates compassion in our hearts which waters and feeds our spirits, and empties, simultaneously, in an out-pouring to the world. Love becomes the food that’s most needed, in myriad forms, and we the gardeners that feed our own and each other’s well-being.
I felt this so deeply when Phillip and I went to a “home and garden” show in Milwaukee last weekend. Instead of focusing on sustainability, or new gardening techniques and plants that conserve and honor life, it focused solely on products and excess, the conspicuous consumption we’ve become so accustomed to that we don’t even notice the grotesque imbalance we accept as “natural.” The simple and glorious beauty and sustenance a garden provides was lost in all the false glamour of “must-have” purchases few could afford and all were meant to desire. All ego-food and no true soul-food.
But it was an excellent reminder to return to my own balance and monitor my energy for the balance required to live with equanimity. In/Out. Give/Receive. Endeavor/Rest. Create/Surrender. Action/Stillness. And all sailing on the sea of Love.
Peace to your equinox, and may the blessings of spring enrich your spirit, your self-care and care for the world, your creativity and well-being.
Wakan Tanka, Great Mystery,
teach me how to trust my heart,
my mind, my intuition,
my inner knowing,
the senses of my body,
the blessings of my spirit.
Teach me to trust these things
so that I may enter my Sacred Space
and love beyond my fear,
and thus Walk in Balance
with the passing of each glorious Sun.
~ Lakota Prayer
As a poet I hold the most archaic values on earth . . . the fertility of the soil, the magic of animals, the power-vision in solitude, the terrifying initiation and rebirth, the love and ecstasy of the dance, the common work of the tribe. I try to hold both history and the wilderness in mind, that my poems may approach the true measure of things and stand against the unbalance and ignorance of our times. ~ Gary Snyder
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15 thoughts on “Equanimity”
OMG! The chipmunk is so sweet! Makes you want to scoop him up and hold him. I just have to ask how on earth you have so many birds with cats? I could never feed them on my railings or close by or they would be a pile of feathers. I miss having birds close by. I have my swallow houses but that is as close as they come. Thanks for sharing. Are you green and spring already or was that last years photos? I’m jealous if you are already in spring. Enjoy! Blessings…VK
Oh, goodness, no: today’s high is 19 and our warmest day this week looks to be a balmy 36! All the photos are from last year, but they feed my spirit with hope! 🙂
My cats are all confined indoors, and though they love to bird-watch from window perches, the birds seem to have become accustomed and ignore them.
The tricky part of the year is summer, because all the cats have figured out ways to escape through screens. (Cats of Monte Cristo). So, the windows have to be opened to precise degrees that prevent this and do not stifle those of us longing for fresh air. 🙂
Such a perfect title for this post, Kitty! I love the idea of balance and equanimity at every level. I’m sorry to hear that the home show was less than a joyful experience for you. Our local Pittsburgh show is like that, mostly about product and less about gardening; that is why I like the Philly show so much. They always have both beauty and education in the mix.
I wish you a new season of balance and joy. It doesn’t feel like spring here with our wintry temps but the birds are busy nest building and the dawn chorus grows fuller every morning. Your bird images are stunning, thank you for sharing 🙂 Namaste and happy spring!
Must get to the Philly Show one year! I so appreciate your blessing and generous comments: Peace to the flow of your spring, too, Lynn!
What a lovely post. This, like all your posts reminds me to be mindful, and this one reminded me to be more aware of my breathing. I used to meditate, but often get out of the habit. It is a wonderful thing to do and I intend to do it more often.
I agree with all your sentiments, I get very frustrated whenever I visit garden centers now. The plants sold are grown simply for looks and length of flowering, all goodness for pollinating insects has gone. These plants have no nectar, no scent and are infertile hybrid’s. You never see an insect near them, and sadly, that’s what a lot of people like. When I see my wildflower borders teeming with insect life I can’t imagine why anyone would ever buy such a plant.
Oh my, those birds are SOOOOO colourful, absolutely gorgeous!That orange bird is glowing like a little jewel! It was lovely seeing your pictures from last year, I’ll be looking forward to this years!xxxxx
Oh….forgot to say….I LOVE the cheeky chipmonk!!!!
I love those cute chipmunks, too; such daring feistiness, and then when they glance my way, I always hear them saying (Brooklyn gangster accents), “Whaddya lookin’ at? You lookin’ at me?”
The orioles are sweet indeed and their song is beautiful.
Peace to your day and the rhythm of your breath, dear Snow Bird!
What a pleasure to listen to your heart, and receive your blessings… and yes, we should not go to ‘events’ with great expectations. Better to slip in an take a peek, always ready to take flight… You reminded me of a ring my sister used to wear, on which was carved the words, ‘this too shall pass’. Beautiful post.
Thank you, Shimon; you have been in my heart and prayers. Thank you for visiting and telling me of your sister’s wonderful ring. May peace come with the arrival of your spring!
Equanimity- what a sublime word and a sublime state of being. I thank you for sharing your thoughts on the life and times of the age we live in with so much grace and gentleness. There is so much truth and wisdom bursting from this post Kitty and yet it doesn’t shout out but draws one in to a place of quiet contemplation of ourselves, our values and the direction we are going. And to be reminded that this perfect state of equanimity can only be held in the presence of balance in all things. Thank you for showing it so clearly it was like a dawning light.
Beautiful verses and a delight to see the gorgeous photos here which made me smile. Happy Spring and to all things fresh and new waiting to be birthed! Sharon
And to you, as well, Sharon.The illumination you bring to my words surely helps them shine far more brightly than my skill allows. Thank you, so much, for your kindness, wisdom, and gentle sharing. Peace to your sweet heart.
Lovely post, Kitty! In this time and age when we are busy trying to keep up with competing priorities and having a tough balancing act on family, career, community involvement, etc., it is easy to lose the way. Stress, depression, burn-out — they are the aftermath if we don’t take a bit of time off to meditate, be still, breath in and out. 😉
You are so right…thank you for taking the time to visit and share, Malou. Self-care is the key to caring for those we love; that’s for sure!
The citrus fruit was quite popular I see 🙂 Nice essay!
Thank you; yes, everyone loves the oranges! So kind of you to read and share; much appreciated!