Equanimity: Learning as We Grow

Imperfections are part of the process. It’s okay to struggle. Just as the lotus flower grows from the muck: no mud, no bloom.

a quality or condition that cannot be improved.
a flawless state where everything is exactly right.

As the storm approached, my neighbor continued to move his tractor through the field, baling the hay that had finally dried, two days after the last big rain.

Just two days to let sunshine cure the hay, that’s all he had. No way perfect, but there was no telling how long it would be until he’d have two more.

So as thunder rumbled and the lightening struck closer, my neighbor kept going. He wouldn’t beat it. Not even close.

Still, there he was. Doing what he could.

Making hay while the sun still shines.

Weather in Montana is fierce and unpredictable. Extreme winters turn to a stubborn snow that can easily hang on well into spring. Summer comes and with it, wicked storms.

I admire folks that make their living off the land here. Every year, a near roll of the dice. And they almost never complain. 

That’s why you really can’t call me a true Montanan.

Because when that same storm struck with its high winds and marble-sized hail, destroying my two biggest sunflower plants – I was far less composed.

Nearly six feet tall, I’d started them from seed three months before. I was proud of those plants. Another week and they would’ve bloomed. Instead, I was dragging them to the compost pile, grumbling the whole way.

Meghan walked with me and in an attempt to ease my disappointment, recited a verse from Bhagavad Gita:

“Yoga is the act of directing our mind and senses fully upon our work while maintaining our equanimity and focus in the face of both success and failure.” BG 2.48

Not sure it was quite the comfort I was hoping for, but true. This is my practice.

Cultivating Patience

the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without complaint.

I often find myself dealing with frustration and disappointment – mostly at my snail-paced speed of progress. And truth be known, I planted those sunflowers way too early. What I thought was a head start was actually the root of their demise.

You see, it’s true what they say: The bigger they are, the harder they fall. The sunflowers I planted later, still young and flexible enough to withstand July’s boisterous outbursts, all survived.

Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience. // Ralph Waldo Emerson

We live in an instant culture and have become used to having whatever we want, whenever we want. But some things need time and space to grow.

Not just my sunflowers, but people too. Like me. Like us all.

It’s okay to struggle.

Struggle isn’t a sign of failure. And maybe there’s no such thing as failure at all if each comes with an opportunity to learn and to grow.

Just as the lotus flower grows out of the muck, the same goes for us: no mud, no bloom. Both part of the same process.

I saw my neighbor the day after the storm. All that hay would have to be raked and turned again. He’d need at least two more consecutive days of sunshine to dry it out again before it could be baled. I felt bad for him and told him so. But he just shrugged his shoulders:

“That’s just how it goes. Can’t control nature.”

Meghan and I have been working on our upcoming yoga practice journal, A Field Guide to the 8-Limbed Path. And during the month of August, we’ll be sending out sample pages through our email. If you’d like to receive, please sign up below.


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