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  • Pamela D. Marshall

My Gift to You in 2023: Forgiveness & Equanimity

Updated: Jan 17



My gift to you in 2023, an enlarged territory thru Forgiveness, and spherical Peace thru embracing Equanimity.


Our book, The Art of Forgiveness was scheduled for release September 21, 2023. Then I was told by Christmas, my fault, I should have asked which year. But today I can report that I am now proofing the formatted version of The Art of Forgiveness. It looks like a book and I am moving forward with expectancy. This has been a process shaping and molding Pamela, as I have had to surrender attachments to feelings and emotions about things that I could not control. I have had moments of simply being paralyzed by the disappointment of not meeting deadlines and getting a copy of our book in your hands, and to other readers who have been patiently waiting. Little did I know - my Creator had enrolled me in a PhD program on Equanimity in the University of Life.

Equanimity, I have learned, is the ability to be present with whatever is happening, whether it is positive, negative, or neutral, without reacting to it. It means you’d have the same, non-emotional reaction to cleaning the garage, eating dinner, or getting snide comments from a person that you paid to complete a task, but they didn't deliver. Emotionally, you’re okay with whatever happens. So I'm expected to just smile? Really? Now let's be clear, equanimity is different from apathy. Apathy is the state of not caring. Not only do I care, I am extremely passionate about The Art of Forgiveness and it answering the prayers of so many people as it has done for me.

Equanimity is about not suffering or worrying needlessly. My mother would often say, "If you are going to pray, don't worry. But if you are going to worry, don't pray." Or in my case I have had to pray, "Lord help me not to worry," and...

"God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference." Equanimity is the only way of maintaining a neutral mind, arriving at a place of Peace that surpasses BREAKING NEWS and the most recent annoying text or uncertainty with health challenges. Equanimity is challenging to develop, but doable. Last week, I got a pop quiz in maintaining a neutral mind. As I was leaving the Farmer's Market in downtown Gainesville, I heard an announcement over the PA system, that a Blue Ford Flex was blocking a car and ask the driver to move their vehicle. As I was approaching my parked blue Ford Flex, I noticed that someone had keyed the drivers side of my vehicle. From the other end of the grassy makeshift parking area, the driver started toward me and ask me to move. I responded, "You keyed my car and I have the police on the phone and an office is en-route". Well, I guess I really didn't have him so blocked in after all. The young man was able to exit the parking area before the officer got to the scene of my Equanimity Pop Quiz. When the officer arrived, he began to explain that if I didn't see the young man who rushed away in action keying my car, I didn't any proof that he did it. In a moment of potentially getting a 'C' on my pop quiz, I suggested the officer get a description from the announcer. He further explained that a description wouldn't matter any more than someone describing me as a black woman with dreads, that doesn't mean that I did anytime.

Now forgetting about my scratched up Flex, I had to get his terminology straight about my hair. "I don't have dreads, I explained, I have Sisterloc. Dreads in a negative term used to describe Rastafarian".

He threw in a Bonus Statement. "Well loc...weave or whatever you call it," as he continued to explain why he wasn't going to write a report unless I just wanted me to write one. "Sir you don't have to write a report but I would like for you to be professional and polite. Would your mother approve of you insulting me about my hair?" As I am failing my Equanimity Pop Quiz, he annoyingly asks again, "Do you want me to write a report or not?" The last thing I wanted was to get into an altercation with a someone authorized to carry a gun. So I simply turned and opened my scraped up door and got in my Flex and drove to the police department so I could file a report on the fine upstanding gentleman in blue. Why should I be bother about scratches on my car? Why should I be concerned about what the officer called my hair?

We develop preferences throughout our lives. Don't touch my stuff, disrespect my hairstyle or don't vandalize my car. It’s not easy to avoid being triggered by these preferences. As a matter of fact, it is a societal norm to be triggered, but we must reject this acceptance of allowing external forces to disrupt our Peace. The more you practice Peace though, the more equanimity you’ll develop. It’s not just a state of mind, but also a skill and must become apart of our daily practice.


1. Meditate. Few things can provide a peaceful mental space like meditation. You learn a lot about how your mind works. You also learn that your thoughts and reactions to the world are separate from the world ◦ You begin to see that everything in life is neutral. It’s only your reaction to it that gives it a particular meaning.


2. Stop emotions in their tracks. Your mental state is constantly veering off in emotional or negative directions. It’s your job to bring it back on track. Accept the emotion and then let it go. 3. Avoid judging. When you judge, you’re creating emotions. Judging someone’s house, clothes, or others bad behavior misses the whole point of equanimity. Equanimity is about acceptance. The moment you judge it, you’re not accepting it as it is. When you want something to be other than what it is, you’re not at Peace. 4. Non-judging doesn’t mean tolerating. Some people jump to the conclusion that equanimity means putting up with everything. That’s not true. Equanimity means taking care of your business but doing so without unnecessary emotion. ◦ You can mow your grass without being annoyed by it. You can do your taxes or have a difficult conversation with a calm and peaceful mental state. 5. Eliminate the drama from your life. Does your job create a lot of misery in your life? Do you have a friend that’s constantly draining you emotionally? It might be time to make a few changes. Your life should be viewed as a sacred space. Be wary whom you allow to enter and stay. Control what you can. 6. Practice. Try to remain in a smiling, peaceful mental state throughout the day. See how well you can do this while doing your household chores, driving to work, and waiting in line. ◦ Start with easy situations. Then, move on to more challenging situations, and eventually, everything becomes easy. Life provides endless practice opportunities. ◦ When you feel yourself becoming bothered, relax your mind and body. Focus on your breath. Imagine you’re watching this scene in a movie. Then, just do what needs to be done without any internal drama. Equanimity is the ability to avoid reactivity. With equanimity, you’re not attached to a particular outcome. You accept the situation and deal with it. Emotional reactivity is unnecessary. Equanimity is powerful, because it gives you the ability to persist and handle difficult situations with greater ease. You’re open to success and failure, because you’re not emotionally attached to the outcome.

Not being emotionally attached to the outcome allowed me to be thankful that only $1800 worth of damage was done to my Flex and I was not physically harmed. Equanimity also helped me release the officer's choice of words when describing my hair. In as exercise of reclaiming my Peace, I released the need to file a complaint against the officer and I pray for him as he works to keep my community safe.

I'm thankful for the gift of Peace thru Equanimity. This is real power. I pray that you accept your gift of equanimity too.



 

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