Sep 22


Photo by Benjamin Random

Photo by Benjamin Random


/ˌēkwəˈlibrēəm,ˌekwə-/, noun
noun: equilibrium; plural noun: equilibria
1. a state in which opposing forces or influences are balanced.

We are a culture afraid of stillness. We move so quickly, as if our lives should compete with a 24-hour news cycle. Eating on the run, pot-watching, compulsive checks of the time and social media, burning our candles at both ends. We often don’t even enjoy ourselves wholeheartedly, our minds on work, relationships, or stressful forces in our lives that disrupt our equilibrium.

I do not judge. I fall prey to this busyness often. For instance, I currently have 22 open browser tabs. Sometimes, I am overwhelmed, overloaded, and I feel a sense of stagnation.

/stæɡˈneɪʃən/, noun
from Latin stagnatum, stagnatus, past participle of stagnare “to stagnate,” from stagnatum “standing water,” from PIE root *stag- “to seep drip”

  1. the state or condition of stagnating, or having stopped, as by ceasing to run or flow.
  2. a foulness or staleness.
  3. a failure to develop, progress, or advance.
  4. the state or quality of being or feeling sluggish and dull.
Stagnation is different from equilibrium, but in the incessant press of our lives, balance can often feel like stagnation. Where solstices have an extreme, relentless, driving energy, equinoxes are subtler, teeter-y stuff. It is a knife’s edge. Spring Equinox is a surfacing after immersion in darkness. Autumnal Equinoxes are the last gulping breath before we dive headlong into the depths of winter.
Even within the context of our equinox ritual, we were ruthlessly making conscious choices, cutting segments to allow the service to unfold in ways we had not expected, but felt moved to follow. We were winnowing our words, as farmers winnow wheat from chaff.
In my personal tradition, my people squander no part of the human experience: good or bad, we embrace it, even compost it if it needs to be transformed. We invite our Shadows in for tea, because without them as ballast, we cannot balance, we cannot be whole. Without Shadow, how else would we shine? Without experiencing pain, joy would be an ordinary emotion… status quo. We plant seeds in the cold black earth to know the fruits of summer.
I invite you to explore the tender wounds and darkened corners with me: to plumb the depths of the places within we would rather avoid. Balance with me on that narrow, shining edge, so that we together may dare to be still and know.
Come home to your whole self.

The time will come
when, with elation,
You will greet Yourself arriving
at Your own door, in Your own mirror,
and each will smile at the other’s welcome

and say, sit here. Eat.

You will love again the stranger who was Your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back Your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved You
all Your life, whom You have ignored
for another, who knows You by heart.

Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,
the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.

—Derek Walcott

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