O, to be a windmill planted firmly on the hillside
Arms turning peacefully in the wind
No resistance, no question about its place
No need to prove what it stands for
Driving along the 580 on the way to Yosemite, I’m struck by their quiet, yet purposeful presence. Windmills planted firmly on the hillside. Their arms are turning peacefully in the wind without resistance. There is no question about their place, their purpose. They know what they are meant to do.
I wonder if I am drawn to them for a particular reason. After some miles have passed, I hear a word aching to be whispered from within – equanimity. I know the windmills are trying to tell me something about equanimity in relationships.
Relationships, especially close ones are a mixture of joy and jabs, discovery and disappointment. What does it mean to be equanimous in relation to others? I believe it’s a balance between feeling arrogant and deficient. When I am self-righteous, I push others away with my shield of superiority. The armor is so thick, that we can’t hear each other or feel the beating of each other’s hearts. When I’m feeling deficient, a beggar asks others to fill her cup with a hole in it. No interaction can ever quench my thirst to be known completely.
I think of myself as a windmill, legs planted firmly wherever I stand. At first I raise my arms in self-defense, then soften them to be turned by the wind into a warm embrace. I don’t need to question or defend my place. I don’t need to prove what I stand for. A peaceful, purposeful presence will guide me.
The Universe has a strange way of knowing exactly what I need before I even know myself. A winter gale blows through our cabin this morning, depositing frosted tears on my eyelashes, chiseling angry lines on my husband’s granite face, stunning my daughter to silence. Though the concept of equanimity feels distant, I sense a trace of it within.
Arms are initially raised in self-defense, self-righteousness, then softened and turned by the wind into a warm embrace, for myself and then for them. A memorable New Year’s Eve ritual helps to warm us from the chill of the experience. We sit in a circle and take turns sharing what we appreciate most about each other, as well as what we would like to improve. Communication is a common theme for improvement.
As we drive home along the Merced River, I bow to Mother Nature and her wise teachings. I am also a river determined to meet her source, to know her True Nature. Stormy thoughts and feelings threaten to freeze me into old patterns, old ways of being. But I will never surrender to them. May a peaceful, purposeful presence guide me in the new year. May this presence guide us all.