Equanimity at a Glance

May 17th, 2017 | By | Category: In the Classroom, Inner News
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(aka First Aid for Freaking Out)

new author pic of Lynn Francis

Lynn Francis


Mental calmness, composure, and evenness of temper,
especially in a difficult situation.

Are you struggling with the political climate right now? Is it causing problems in your ability to concentrate, relate to others—left and/or right—in relationships at home and work? Are you losing your equanimity? At this moment, this topic is relevant to us as educators and also bigger than us. It amplifies the need for our deep connection with ourselves, other people, and the planet at large. Ultimately, what we find is that there is no “other”—only our unawareness of reality beneath the dream that we come to think of as real.

feature art for inner news 2017An old Indian parable tells about six blind people who were invited to experience an elephant. Each person felt a different part of the elephant and argued that he then knew what this elephant was like. We all have a different perspective of “reality” and together it creates a whole, a one planet with unique manifestations that are our talents and service to the whole. When we live as if we were completely separate and independent, we miss the truth that science, religion, philosophy, and other disciplines have been increasingly showing us throughout the centuries. We really are interconnected.

Perhaps you have had the experience of the oneness of all, or believe that that is possible. As educators, we are fortunate to work in a field of diversity in which the idea of “other” fades into oblivion. As David Loy says, “Recognizing that we are not separate from the rest of the biosphere brings a deep sense that the whole earth is our body … we can choose to work … for the well-being of the whole.”

Longtime ESL teacher, life coach, and marriage family therapist Lynn Francis is interested in the inner life of the teacher. She writes, “Because the tools of our trade—methods, techniques, theories, activities—are so well covered at workshops, in-services, and conferences, I felt there was a need to address other aspects of the teacher that are not covered.”

We all have different ways of making an impact and having our voices heard. Some take to the streets, gather and plan, make signs, contact our politicians, write. What we all have in common is that we also have to take care of ourselves. Gandhi said, “I have so much to accomplish today that I must meditate for two hours instead of one.” Meditation may not be what helps you find your equanimity, but something else might. Below is some first aid for freaking out.

  • Breathe. Really underrated as a tool and center to which you can return 24/7.
  • Check in with body, emotions, and thoughts.
  • Process with a safe friend.
  • Exercise (go for a walk, dance, yoga, move your body).
  • Give yourself permission to disengage.
  • Do something just for fun.
  • Watch funny animal and baby videos.
  • Pause so that you can respond rather than react.
  • Listen to others without defensiveness, without having to be right, without judgment.
  • Do what you have control over and let go of the rest.

As we take care of ourselves, in ways that resonate with us, we wish the same for others, even those we perceive to be so different.  Beneath the culture, religion, ethnicity, we are first, and foremost, all human.

Lynn Francis is a part-time instructor for San Diego Community College Continuing Education. She has been a teacher trainer for more than 30 years. She also has a private practice as a life coach and licensed marriage family therapist. Readers of Inner News can reach her at lcfranci@sdccdedu.


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