We are six weeks from Christmas and seven weeks from the end of the 2013. How are you managing?

I like the tension implied in the title of this blogpost – The Inner Pull and Outer Push of the Season. It is just so simply put! To help you manage the tension and the distance between surviving and thriving I want to share a key set of distinctions that formed in the Inner Equanimity workshop I just gave to a wonderful group at Sound Circle in Seattle.

First, I want to suggest that you spend a little time (yes, give some precious time to your precious self – a cup of tea time) writing two lists: The Inner Pull List of your soul needs (the so easily forgotten or abandoned) and The Outer Push List of all the daily and seasonal needs (the ones that feel like demands and necessities). This is just a recognizing and naming activity and once named you can use your creative imagination to organize and categorize, evaluate and regulate, and, even consciously choose to sacrifice and evolve. You can with dynamic equanimity begin to design and live the best seven weeks of your year and celebrate the push and pull of your very special life.

Here are the helpful distinctions: They focus on the five challenges to equanimity and they all begin with “c.”

Complexity is a human condition. Animals don’t experience complexity the way we do. When we wake up to complexity in our lives, our feelings, our intentions we tend to get overwhelmed. To manage complexity we learn to focus in. We revere (not resist) the complexity of the whole, but consciously focus our attention and energy on the part and keep clear boundaries. The steps I suggest above of recognizing and naming, organizing and categorizing, evaluating and regulating, sacrificing and evolving are the tools for managing overwhelm.

Contradiction lives in everything since we have so many opposing choices/demands/desires/needs. This one always gets to me and I usually lose myself in ambivalence and disorientation. I’ve learned to stop worrying about making the right choice. I choose and move…I let go of the fear consequence. We revere the contradictory nature of our desires and choices by setting and prioritizing clear goals and making the choices that move us toward the completion.

Conditions dictate how things should, could, or would be, if only things weren’t so complex and contradictory. Childhood is a conditional state of fairytale-like challenges and it shapes a habit of mind that our intentions and achievements be happily-ever-after perfect. I love the adult moments of grounded grace when everything is okay just the way it is. We revere our expectations in relationship to what is real and realizable.

Capacities are about our limitations. We do not have superpowers. We have limitations and we must honor them and set limits based on them. When we revere our limited capacities we can then form resourceful relationships, asking others for help and support.

Competition & Comparison
Competition and comparison put emphasis on measuring what you are doing in relationship to what others are doing (or what you did in the past). Equanimity is an inner response to self and cannot be found in living notions of winning and losing or being the best or worst.

There are three comforts that insure equanimity which also begin with “c.”

I’ll leave it up to you to define these three. They will guide you through the challenges of the Inner Pull and Outer Push of the season. Please share your definitions by leaving a comment.

And then remember always keep goodwill and good humor alive in your soul. They are the core elements of Inner Equanimity.