In the 1800s, the term “doldrum” meant a sluggish fellow. This term was then applied to the maritime region around the equator where trade winds effectively cancel each other out, leading to days-long periods of calm. In modern usage, it implies a listlessness, despondency, or stagnation.
It’s fascinating to observe how we have conflated “calm” with “stagnation”. Recently, I was wondering why I was feeling tired. When I looked a little more closely, I realized that what I had identified as fatigue was actually serenity. When our minds are active, we live a virtual life up in our heads, moving from fear about a future outcome to a replay of a past event to anticipation about an upcoming possibility to anger over a past injustice. We are very aware of the big emotions and, if we aren’t paying attention, we believe that they remain even after they have really subsided.
Test it out. Ask yourself, “How am I?” and see what your immediate response is. Now, ask yourself, “How am I right now?” Really pause and check in, rather than answering reflexively. Was there a difference? There might not have been. Or, you may observe that the first response involved a memory of an emotion from earlier in the day: “I’m great - I had a lovely call with my mom”, or “I’m really frustrated. Our water main broke and it’s going to cost a fortune to fix it”. But when you checked in on how you were right now, in this moment, you may realize that you’re not actually feeling that strong emotion anymore. There may be a sense of blandness, even maybe the sense of a void.
This state may feel unfamiliar to us because we tend not to pay attention to it. We’re like the news media: if something isn’t really big and stimulating, we don’t give it airtime. But maybe, just maybe, we can reframe this sensation as …. peace…. or calm….. or serenity. And maybe when we practice paying attention to our emotional states we might just find that we’re at peace a lot more often than we ever realized.
And we might find that the more familiar we are with serenity, the less we go looking for distraction.
We hope you can join us this week as we explore our emotional experience.
Community Sits This Week
Monday 6:30 PM - Ridgefield Library 472 Main Street, Ridgefield
Monday 7:30 PM - Sama Yoga, 45 Grove Street, New Canaan
Tuesday 1:00 PM - Ferguson Library*, 1 Public Library Plaza, Stamford
Wednesday 12:00 PM - New Canaan Library, 151 Main Street, New Canaan
Wednesday 7:30 PM - Trumbull Recovery Group, Grace Episcopal, 5958 Main St., Trumbull (This is our final session at this time and place)
May all beings everywhere without exception feel at peace,
Your friends at CMP