Equanimity and Restoration
How was your week? Were you able to focus on staying calm and non-reactive? Did you get many opportunities to practice Equanimity? Have you noticed any physical signals in your body that you are having a reaction rather than action? For me, when I feel a tightness in my chest and throat is a signal that I am beginning to move into a reactive state. Have you noticed any link between what you eat and drink and how well you stay in a balanced state of mind? Like so many people, I love coffee. Yet I notice that caffeine can make me feel jittery, anxious, and irritable. Not a really great way to start the day. I found this coffee on Amazon that is the best decaf coffee ever and what a cute name, No Fun Jo! I prefer to drink it black to savor the depth of flavor and I make it 1 cup at a time using this little pour-over. I don’t bother with special filters, preferring either my permanent coffee filter as you can see here, even though it is a size larger than the pour-over, or making do with a paper towel. Minimalists can’t have everything.
There are many fancier pour-overs but I love being able to throw this into my bag when traveling without fear of breaking it. Lessening my caffeine intake certainly assists in maintaining equanimity for me. How about you? What have you found serves you best in your path?
Here is my favorite coffee set up. Click the links to learn more about them on Amazon. As usual, if you make a purchase from my link it will not cost you one cent more and Amazon tosses a few cents my way. (This is a required disclaimer on every post, btw.)
OKAY! This coming week is themed Restoration. Show of hands, who here is actually good about restoring when your body says it needs it? I know, hardly anyone does until we start feeling on the brink of collapse. Some of us push until we are exhausted mentally, physically, have stressed the relationships with those we love, and have even ignored our pets as we collapse each night in a quivering heap. So this week we will focus on restoring. I like to differentiate restore from relax. Restore is active and purposeful, it has a bigger view than the immediate fix and holds sway over instant gratification.
My biggest challenge to restore is sleep. I am not a good sleeper, never have been according to my mom who put up with a sleepless infant. I do all the things one is supposed to do regarding exercise, screen time, etc. Either I have trouble falling asleep or I sleep for a few hours then wake up for a few hours. I used to fret over this and kept trying to fix it. Now I allow the sleeplessness and use the time for what I call “beditation” which is mediation in bed. If I fall asleep, fabulous! If I do not fall asleep then I have gotten lots of meditation practice in. The end result is the same, I am tired and less able to focus mentally the next day but at least now I am not fighting the inevitable. Having been enmeshed in a struggle, I can definitely say that putting down the struggle and just letting it be is easier and has to be healthier.
During this week of Restoration we do get to do my favorite fast- the 3 day fruit fast. So why a food fast at all? Many of us have a difficult-at-times relationship with food. This fast will shake that up a bit and begin to shed light on how you use food in ways other than to nourish your body. You are not required to do anything about this relationship with food other than notice it. I do think that this week in particular it is good to bring multiple short meditation moments into your daily routine. There are tons of guided meditations. I really like this one by Jack Kornfield. I have used it since 2017 and, while it took a few moments for me to get used to his voice perhaps because most of my other guided meditations have been led by women, however the meditations were and are amazing. When I have a moment of craving I use a meditation to get really interested in the craving. Do not try and fight against it, we are working on restoring not tearing down.
Here is how I plan to eat during my cleanse. Yes, not all of these are fruits, it is true. But this is what works great for me at this time. Check out my foraged food post on rose hips to see an addition to the typical apple/banana/berry fruits that I will be eating.
Zucchini noodles with lemon-apple juice dressing. I love using this zoodler. Seriously, I like this so much I have one at home and one in my camper.
Grapefruit,lettuce, avocado salad with lime because taking the time to arrange a lovely salad infuses the food with love
Apple slices, carrot coins, and berries on a bed of spinach with a squeeze of lemon as much as you want to eat, eat. No limits to the amount of raw leaves in my opinion.
I will be eating the apples, bananas, grapefruits etc that are hanging out in the fruit bowl. Yet at least one meal a day will be composed.
Wow, did you really read this far? I want to give you a tool to experiment with during this restoration week. It just might be that you need to restore more than your physical body. You may find that there is something hurt inside and through this intense period of self-care and love that you make a space for that perhaps ancient hurt to rear its head a little. If this is the case, use what you have been learning in your meditations to hold a little space for it. Allow unconditionally. Just for 3 minutes. You are not broken or damaged. Try this journaling technique that is adapted from John Bradshaw’s book, Homecoming. Sit in a quiet meditative space and allow 20 breaths with loving focus on each breath. Next, in your dominant hand (for me it is my right hand) write in your journal something like, “Hello, (your name). How are you today?” Move the pen to your non-dominant hand (my left) and write whatever flows out of you. You can allow a back and forth conversation for a few minutes but remember not to get too technical, analytical, or explanatory. You want to create a space where the little voice inside can speak openly about anything and you will allow unconditionally. If you find you tense up or are no longer present with that little voice, restore the openness with loving quiet. Do this for a few minutes and then finish with a 20 breath round of maitri meditation*.
I will be thinking of you during this coming week of Restoration. Take care of yourself, Darling. And remember we are all in this together, even though it sometimes feels otherwise.
*What is maitri meditation? In short you breathe in your pain or hurt with an allowing and accepting heart, then you breathe out love and compassion for you and for all beings who share this same hurt. Pema Chodron is a wonderful teacher in many forms of meditation, especially because she admits that she has a busy mind and meditation is a challenge for her. Her honesty and authenticity is so welcoming! I have several of her books and CDs, this one is a favorite and will teach you how to do mini-maitri meditations.