Are you someone who likes to participate in archaic traditions?
Yeah, me neither.
Like most people, I’ve retired from the increasingly obsolete tradition of setting a New Year’s Resolution because I never stay loyal to the resolution itself. So, if it isn’t really an effective strategy for personal growth or success, why use it?
I’ve been seeing this new tradition sprouting up like wildflowers on my social media recently and I’m kind of intrigued. It suggests choosing just one solitary word to represent that which you’d like to see manifested in the New Year. I admired the simplicity of this. When I began researching this tradition (AKA conducting a quick Google search on the subject), I discovered this wasn’t so new after all. Anyway, I’m glad I stumbled upon it because I’d like to start implementing it now.
After little deliberation, I decided on my word of 2018…
It is: equanimity
(noun) “calmness and composure, especially in a difficult situation” (Oxford Dictionary)
Why e q u a n i m i t y ?
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what freedom would look like in the context of my own life, which has led me to question what is at the root of my personal suffering.
In short, I think my own mind and thoughts are likely the sources of much of my suffering and impede my ability to be truly free. Pardon me in advance if this sounds a tad melodramatic, but these last few years (yes, years) have been heavy with personal upheaval and immense grief (but that’s a story for another day). I want so desperately to think that 2018 will finally be my year, a wholly joyous year, a year in which my thoughts are lucid, my relationships are drenched in nothing but love and stability, my professional life is flourishing, and there is no personal trauma/tragedy in sight. Much to my dismay, though, I don’t get to decide these things. This is exactly where “equanimity” enters the equation. In 2018, I hope to cultivate practices and habits that move me closer to the state of equanimity—a state of serenity—*even in the midst of heartache and hardships.*
*This is the particularly crucial part about the concept of equanimity for me. See, I am generally a pretty chill person. It’s actually one of my better qualities. However, I notice that virtue is mostly present if circumstances are relatively positive or neutral. When situations that are deeply unpleasant or otherwise uncomfortable arise, I often find a way to create more suffering for myself by engaging in some unhealthy patterns. Instead, in 2018, I hope to hold the single word ‘equanimity’ in my mind to remind myself to stay calm, even as things are changing, to accept that I am not always in control. In 2018, I hope to extend the same grace and patience toward myself that I’d give to a child in my care by allowing myself to slow down, acknowledge the feelings, give said feelings a name (“You are experiencing anger” or “sadness”) and just give myself the space and permission to feel angry or sad. In 2018, may I give up the temptation to A) resist what is unfolding B) worry excessively about that which I cannot change. More and more, I believe that I will never be liberated until I can be the master of my own mind and find balance.
What’s your word?