Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Word of the Day: Equanimity

We haven’t had one of these for a very long time, have we? According to Zeppo Bakunin’s old Concise Oxford, equanimity is:

Evenness of mind or temper; composure; resignation, acceptance of

It’s a mood that I’ve learnt to treasure, especially in times when gladness, joy and happiness have seemed hopelessly out of reach, thanks either to external circumstances or internal brain-chemistry. When equanimity is as good as it gets, you take it, not gladly of course but equably. With equanimity.
Sometimes I’m foolish enough to accept an inferior substitute – an afternoon of deluded hope perhaps, or the false equanimity of the writing mood, giving an account of that afternoon and subsequent events, distanced from them emotionally by the role of author. This false equanimity doesn’t last – when you’ve just sent off an E-mail asking someone to post a snarky comment on a blog, under your blog persona because your net connection isn’t working too well or you have an "Oh for crying out loud! Can’t you read!" attack at a comment on a recent post – the counterfeit becomes obvious.

An obvious counterfeit immediately loses its value. So I’m not exactly writing this in a mood of equanimity either. So I’m off to lie down and let the sadness and despair wash over me for a while until I’m comfortably numb again. Then maybe I’ll be able to tackle the topic of what "welfare dependency" looks like from the inside. Starting with the obsessive, but very necessary habit, of asking every time you see a potential exit from the maze, "Am I going to lose money by going this way?"

Postscript: in between writing the rest of this post and publishing (or re-publishing) it, I did the sensible thing and called a friend to invite myself over to her place. I got coffee, empathy, a sense of perspective reboot and a brand new hand me down wok. As soon as it’s cleaned up I plan to get in some serious pleasant activitity therapy involving chicken, vegetables, rice stick noodles and various condiments and spices.

Bonus Kitchen Tip: the Stanley 65-549 screwdriver is very handy for separating chicken thigh fillets that have frozen into a solid block.

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