The Positive Side of Medicine


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A.K.A. Don’t Get CAUGHT UP!

Balanced rocks
In the physical world we say that a person or something has lost balance if it falls to one side or another. In the mental and spiritual

realm, our balance is the ability to remain composed and receive the ebb and flow of life and all of her gifts with grace. This acceptance and receiving is also known as equanimity. Equanimity comes from the Latin word aequus meaning balanced, and animus meaning spirit or internal state. It is our ability to experience without judgement or labeling while learning to “accept loss and gain, praise and blame, and success and failure, all with detachment, equally, for oneself and for others.” English translation: Equanimity refers to our ability to not get “caught up” in stuff, circumstances, emotions, people, the good, the bad, and especially the ugly.

Consider your life situations like the waves at sea. I know what you’re thinking, “That’s easy when you’re talking about a traffic jam or a slow barista at Starbucks that didn’t make a perfect latte. But what about something real like losing a job, divorce, or a the lost of a loved one?” I don’t pretend to be an expert at cultivating equanimity. However, I do know that no balance of mind will be achieved without at least attempting to cultivate equanimity in our everyday life challenges such as difficult relationships, not getting that thing you had your hopes on, or even watching a situation that seemed so good fall apart in front of your eyes.

Equanimity doesn’t just refer to our ability to stay balanced when things seemingly are not going well. It also speaks to how we react when things are going great. You got the loan, the house, the car, he finally proposed, you’ve graduated or won a million dollars. In the end the goal is to equally receive life and it’s flow whatever it is and however you perceive it. Equanimity is the composure that stems from our awareness and acceptance of each moment. The total highs and lows are never sustained but “somewhere in the middle” has a lot of staying power.

Balancing our internal state and spirit is a tall order only achieved through cultivation of equanimity. Start with baby steps and attempt to quite your mind in neutral awareness. Strive for neutrality and presence, not the ecstatic highs and desperate lows that never remain constant. Remove the labels and the judgements of the everyday happenings. It is what it is. In time your equanimity will help you find peace when you need it the most.

Affirmation: I am composed with awareness and acceptance of each moment.
~ Dr. Arianna

Arianna Sholes Douglas, MD
Uplift, Empower, Create



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