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Maria Gonzalez Blog
Mindful Leadership

Letting Go Without Giving Up

Equanimity is often misunderstood and as a result considered to be unattainable or undesirable.  The term refers to surrendering to what is arising in your sensory experience.  It means to go with the flow or not fight what you can’t change.  But it carries with it negative and misunderstood connotations of giving up, not fighting the good fight, not caring, being indifferent, being passive, allowing others to take advantage of you – you get the picture.  How could anyone aspire or attempt to gain equanimity with that interpretation?

But that is not what equanimity means at all.  It actually refers to a full acceptance of yourself and what is arising within you at any given moment.  And this is done, of course, without acting out.  It means that if you are angry, sad, anxious, you experience the anger, sadness or anxiety fully.  You locate it in the body, recognize it in your internal talk and images, and experience it as it is arising, without interfering.  At no time does this include acting out the emotion or fueling the emotion.  By doing this you will experience the pain of anger, sadness or anxiety, but without suffering.

What you let go is the illusion of control and the struggle to maintain control.  You also give up any fear you might have.  It is fear that often gets in the way of experiencing equanimity.  What you don’t give up is your awareness, your openness, your resolve to be with what is and your full acceptance of yourself.  Ironically, as we let go without giving up a deep inner peace arises that leads to appropriate action.

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One Response to Letting Go Without Giving Up

  1. Wendy Dines says:

    Hi Maria,
    This morning I posted an email to my daughters detailing how I no longer ‘angst’ about deadlines – have finally learned how to manage them WITHOUT STRESS – and then I read this article.

    Love how themes often dovetail.