My life goes up. My life goes down.
I’m told that the smart way to handle this is a concept called equanimity.
Equanimity is defined as “mental calmness, composure, and evenness of temper, especially in a difficult situation”.
Evenness of temper. I like that.
But I don’t think I want to do it.
Once upon a time, my life was all about trying to even out the peaks and troughs, to find balance in the sometimes scanty, meandering river that was my life.
I don’t see things that way anymore.
I recently read the story of an 80 year-old man whose wife had recently died. He talked about how he had lived his life with equanimity. He never felt too happy; he never got that sad. It had served him well. And then his wife died.
He said that he despite this practice, he was completely unprepared for the sheer, unrelenting pain that he experienced when she died. As he came to terms with his loss, he wished that he had truly experienced all the highs, even if it meant facing crushing lows. Nothing could have prepared him for this low.
He said that some things were worth suffering for - and I am inclined to agree.
There are experiences in my life that have brought deep sadness and loss, but even if I got a do-over, I’d do them all over again – because of the tremendous joy in those experiences too. I like the humanness that being attached to things gives me.
I like my peaks. I like my troughs.
But I also like the middle, the space where there is room to heal, to grow, to acclimatise, to shine.
We need all of it to make a full life: the tears, the laughter, the nail-biting frustration and mind-numbing boredom. We need the aching loneliness, that crazed passion, the seething anger. And some days, you’re even allowed to stamp your feet like a two year-old and say you just don’t want to do it.
We are human.
We can train ourselves to be aware of all of this and even to change and improve. It’s the choice we make in this world of duality that we live in. Love-hate. Faith-fear. Darkness-light.
So though I choose the light, I do so knowing full well what the darkness is like.
I choose light. Lots of light.
Oh, and some rainbows.
And maybe even some unicorns.