Achieving Equanimity

Equanimity: mental calmness, composure, and evenness of temper, especially in a difficult situation.

The mind has five aspects, which as they develop, bring equanimity to the mind. These are: Faith, Self-control, Determination, Concentration, and Patience. (full disclosure: I learned this from Bikram Yoga Theory)

This is true for moving through the changes life inevitably throws at us.

I believe the trick is in knowing when to use which.


We can work so hard (concentration, determination, self-discipline) to get where we want to go, and when it instantly doesn’t look or feel like we planned, we freak the fuck out.

This is the time for patience and faith.

Recently, one of my clients engineered a (albeit complicated) dream scenario of relocating closer to family (once you have kids, I guarantee, this IS a dream scenario for most people). The complicated part is – their jobs are in other locations. The amount of hard work to get to this unconventional lifestyle was grueling and filled with perplexity about how to make it happen. But this client did make it happen through desire, force of will, ingenuity and creativity.

But it’s a heck of a lot of change all at once, and that is daunting too.

Often times, when we get what we want, fear and loathing immediately sets in – what have I done?

This is too much change. Too much to manage. Too much uncertainty. Too many logistics. Change is terribly difficult.

When we transition to something new and different, there’s an in between period (William Bridges calls it the “neutral zone”) where you don’t have a routine, and everything feels nearly impossible. It hasn’t normalized yet.

And when it isn’t instant equanimity, we fear we’ve made the wrong choice.

That’s when you say – it’s harder than I thought it would be, and that’s ok.

When we deny the discomfort, that’s when it overtakes and overwhelms us.

At this point, it’s simply too early to decide whether you’ve made a big mistake.

So add in a little faith and patience.

Faith in self, faith in choice, and faith in the universe supporting your growth.

And patience through all the bumps and second guessing.

Some of it is simply time, and some of it is out of our control.

For some semblance of control, maybe get real focused on the present and the immediate, and concentrate a bit on what needs tending.

This is when I encourage going “small” – surgical even.

Don’t sweat the big picture. Because you will not be able to see it at this point.

You are RIGHT in the middle of a huge adjustment, a huge change. And when we’re stressed in this way, our fight flight instinct kicks in, and our vision narrows.

Take a breath. And only tend to what’s right in front of you.

Believe it or not, but this take an incredible amount of self-discipline and determination.

Especially for hard charging type A (I’ve got the world by the balls) folks.

Once things equalize and there is an actual new normal – THAT is when we can decide if it’s right for us.

And if it’s not, fuck it.
Change again.

This is what we do as humans. We’re destined to evolve.

As soon as one challenge is surmounted, we will look for a new one.

But give it a beat at the top of the hill, or you’ll miss the view.



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