I have misplaced my equanimity. I suspect it fell in the 30 inch wide by 5 foot deep hole in the concrete slab in our condominium, and now that it has fallen, it can’t get up. Certainly there were no plumbers or gravel-diggers or building engineers to catch it, or break its fall, as we’ve had no workers on site for three weeks. I suspect my equanimity is awfully lonely down there by itself.
I miss it. Having spent most of the last week or so trying to articulate in writing, multiple times, our concerns about the delays and inaction in the work on our unit to our condo board and management company, I have struggled to ‘downregulate.’ (‘Downregulate’ is a medical term that means that cells are less sensitive or receptive to a drug or other stimulus. I use it here to describe not being able get to a state of calm, where I’m not hyper-reactive, or even just plain reactive.) My sleep is disrupted, and I find myself re-playing conversations and re-writing emails in my head. None of this is helpful or productive, and I can’t seem to get ‘unhooked’ from my anger and frustration.
I’d like my equanimity back, please. In the vacuum of perspective, I’ve had a few poignant platitudes rolling around in my head, underscoring the urgency of my want for peace. For example: “Holding on to anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.” I have lately experienced the cost to me of my anger on my health and well being, and I see the cost of David’s anger on him, our relationship and our home. To put it mildly, we agree that it isn’t good for us.
Also on my mind are words attributed to Eleanor Roosevelt: “No one can make you feel inferior (or angry) without your consent.” While Eleanor’s words are wise, I know we can all agree that they are really hard to live. I have to acknowledge here that I have consented to be upset. I believe, on some level, it is the only way to fuel an authentic voice that will generate the right response and action in my audience, in this case our condo board and management company. But like a car, once you turn the key to ‘off’ and the fuel stops pumping, the motor still runs hot for awhile. It has been hard for me to cool down.
So, yet another quote has been trying to guide me: “Happiness and freedom begin with a clear understanding of one principle. Some things are within your control and some things are not,” attributed to Epictetus (a Greek stoic philosopher who died in AD/CE 135). A few thoughts here (and perhaps a glimmer of perspective): Living in a condominium, or a community with a homeowners’ association, is an opportunity to practice not having control. It is an attractive notion to have a condo association responsible for tending the lawn or managing facilities. However, having the same association be responsible for the effort of repairing something inside one’s home, even if technically “owned” by the condominium – you know, like the plumbing under a concrete slab, is disconcerting and very uncomfortable. If this were our house, we’d be on top of the vendors, and project-managing the heck out of the effort. But it isn’t, and we are bird-dogging people whose expertise and project management skills aren’t up to the complexity of the challenge.
Oh no, I think my sense of control is now probably in the hole with my equanimity! I hope they are good company for each other.
Still, as I write this, I feel better. It is helpful to put a name to the noise in my head, and to sort through some of the themes that constitute the noise, as is trying to find some humor in the mess. That, and the fact that our condo board just emailed to provide us with a project plan that might have the work completed, and concrete poured (!) within 2 ½ weeks. At our urging, they are also hiring a project manager to oversee the work, improve updates and communications, with the intent to improve our experience with the already disruptive process.
Of course, I’ll believe it when it happens…
Maybe losing my equanimity was helpful to getting us to this point, and to an appropriate condo board response. Still, I’d like to trade in my newly sharpened cynicism for my equanimity, along with my illusion of control. While I’m at it, maybe I have some other personal ‘qualities’ that belong at the bottom of the hole…Good thing I have at least two weeks to consider what else to throw in there before the fresh concrete is sealed for good.
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