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Brenda has truly opened up a space for introverted types on the ‘net, and her self-revelations are always inspiring. Her voice is one I always look forward to. She is one of the writers that actually played a part in my return to writing.  — S.E. of Sunflower Solace Farms
S.E. of Sunflower Solace Farms

“I was struggling with my daughter (16 at the time) and our constant fighting. You said something to me that changed my life! You were speaking about your own situation and you said to me “my child could not handle my emotions”. This was a HUGE “lightbulb moment” for me and it forever changed the way I dealt with my emotions when I was around my daughter!

I am happy to say that things have never been better between my soon to be 18 year old daughter and myself! I honestly never thought we would…

Mom M
THANK YOU….. you just summed up my swirling thoughts into something i can read with out everything else in my head meshing with it. I finally feel like i can explain what happens within without getting distracted. I’m an Introvert with ADD and it makes it so hard to explain quite what im feeling sometimes. — M.G. on space2live
BRENDA: thank you SO much! Your advice is exactly what I need to do. I am amazed how much you “get” me after only exchanging a few messages!… Again, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. You’ve helped me more than a year of therapy sessions! – Megan on space2live
That courage and dedication you so generously share with the world, has inspired me to push myself a little harder, persevere at each task a little longer, dig a little bit deeper to where the answers just “feel” right to both my humanity AND my spirit. Your insights have reinforced my direction and given me additional tools that help me clear my path. I’m wired into my creativity as never before and the new music is pouring out of me faster than I can record and produce it; this is the Un…
During one of the harder times in my life I found Brenda’s website
and reached out to her. To say the least it has been one of the best
decisions I have made. Being an extrovert I never quite understood
what it meant to romantically involved with an introvert. Brenda does
an incredible job listening, giving in the moment feedback, and helped
me understand the how an introvert functions. She helped explain to me
that I am introspective extrovert, and this gave something to identify
with and allowed me t…
Evan H.
Your words are my lifeline.  I sit down to your posts and as I read I can feel my acceptance of myself and my needs grow.  Your words validate my feelings about my life, motherhood, relationships and it is something I hold onto.  And during the times when I feel like I am not able to be a mother or a wife or a sister or a friend or whatever someone needs me to be, I go back to your words and find some peace…I send your posts to my husband when I need him to understand that I love him but I need …
This is me. This is me from the day I was born. For so long I felt misunderstood and rejected, even by the people closest to me, because they could never understand my need for solitude, and I had no idea how to explain it to them. Even now that I know more about Introversion and have a more informed understanding of my hard-wired need for solitude, it’s still very difficult sometimes to help my loved ones understand this profound craving for time and space all to myself. This is one of the best…
I have been dating an introverted man who I am very in love with for almost 2 years.  Reading your posts have helped me to be more supportive and understanding to him especially during the times when he needs space.  I just wanted to thank you for your weekly posts and let you know how helpful they are for someone who is in a relationship with an introvert. C.M. on space2live
Thank you for all the words. You’ve created the magic drug I’ve been looking for all my life. Your blog has transformed my life, and I feel like I am on the brink of a most satisfying fulfilling journey…You’ve made me see everything in a new light. I now feel calmer, able to care better for my toddler, less hateful of people around, and hopeful for my future. I am not so afraid for our marriage anymore. — Shilpa CB
Shilpa CB

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Six Ways to Equanimity

woman on wire

Photo credit Leio Mclaren of Unsplash

In last week’s post, I promised to tell you how I reached my current state of equanimity. First, I would like to give you a working definition of equanimity. Here is Wikipedia’s version:

Equanimity (Latin: æquanimitas having an even mind; aequus even animus mind/soul) is a state of psychological stability and composure which is undisturbed by experience of or exposure to emotions, pain, or other phenomena that may cause others to lose the balance of their mind.

For me, equanimity means:

I feel calm most of the time.

I can spend more time socializing and engaging with others without getting drained.

I sleep well.

I don’t feel tightness in my chest or stomach.

My emotions fluctuate but then return to a baseline comfortable state.

Things roll off my back easier.

I am more playful.

I am more patient.

I am more compassionate.

It doesn’t happen overnight

My current feeling of balance and composure has been simmering and building for over a year. It has its origins in practices I discovered almost ten years ago. My point is I’ve sought and worked at this kind of contentedness for a long time. I had to learn how to be open to it.

I also know this feeling of comfort and goodness will not last forever. Everything changes. Everything passes. New obstacles will topple my carefully poised assuredness. But I now know the bones or structure of equanimity. I can rebuild it again when needed.

Here are the key components of well-being.

Having time to pay attention and work consciously

I’ve said no to attractive opportunities in the last year. In the past, I’d jump on them because I was desperate for joy and distraction. Now, I find joy in what I already have. For example, I was asked to join the board of trustees for my church this year. I know I would have loved the position and its duties, but instead I left the time and space in my schedule for family. I’ve learned to find more joy in my time at home with my children and my boyfriend.

When I am not rushed from one responsibility to another, I am present with the space and people around me. That calms me and makes me more open to whatever arises.


I started seeing a therapist regularly (about every two weeks) last June. There is something quite freeing about being able to say whatever you feel. I have very close friends. They serve as amazing listeners and witnesses to my experiences but I still hold back from telling them everything. Mostly because I don’t want to burden them with my long-ass tales of self-reflection and inertia. My therapist is there for me, for that hour. I’m not burdening her. She wants me to share and move through everything I’m experiencing. I can tell her my deepest worries and shame without risk of her leaving our relationship. Our sessions have given me insight and a sense of peace. She helps me feel ‘normal’, supported and understood, which eases my mind and body.


I realize this topic may turn off some people. I’m going to advocate for it anyway because I think it is that important. I started doing yoga and gaining awareness about the breath and presence 18 years ago. Being in touch with my body internally, observing my thoughts and taking the time to quiet my mind, give me a sense of peace. I’ve trained myself to pause and take conscious breaths when I feel overwhelmed. Such a pause grounds me.

The real advances in my meditative practice took place just a few months ago when I started to meditate again daily. I’ve done 60 days of very consistent meditation. I’ve missed two days in the last 65. I believe the consistency is the key to the durable effects I feel from the practice. Every morning before anything else, I meditate. I look forward to it. It starts my day on a solid foundation. I gain clarity and calmness from breathing and listening to words of gratitude, focus and motivation.

Meditation trains my brain to notice distractions but return to a purpose. It relaxes my nervous system. It stops the runaway train of thoughts.

Fitness routine rebooted

I’m a staunch advocate for fitness. There are many benefits to it, such as improved physical health and mood boosting endorphins. We all know it is good for us, but we still put it off. I admit, my workout habits were starting to become afterthoughts. My thighs were expanding and my pants were getting tighter.

We had snow before Halloween here in Minnesota this year. That put an early end to my trail jogging. I started to do more strength training workouts inside. Over the last few years, I had put weights and strength training on the back burner.

I did a squat challenge for the month of October. Squats are amazing! A bonus of squats is they work your abdominals too. Between the squat challenge and the work I did with weights, I saw significant changes in my body. Results motivate.

I’m still doing squats every day (80+). They take me less time than one song on my iPhone. Feeling fit gives me energy and agility to do more.


I’ve added two communities to my life in the last two years. One is the church I joined last year. I’ve never met such an accepting and interesting group of people. They are kind, caring, supportive and fun! The church provides a space for me to give and receive. The other congregants have been some of the biggest champions of my book. I know there is always something I can do at the church, if I ever feel at loose ends. The environment and people are so positive I want to give back there as much as possible.

The other valuable community I’ve joined recently is that of the local elementary school where I substitute as a paraprofessional in the special ed. department. I feel purposeful there. I love the kids and the staff. They are familiar now and I am comfortable. I would like to work there more but I protect my other work and family time. See Having Time to Pay Attention and Work Consciously. 

Introverts need community and belonging. So often, we focus on introverts needing solitude. That is important but so is connection. I would say connection has been the biggest boost to my sense of joy. It takes a village to raise adults too.

Loving relationship

Probably the biggest contributor to my equanimity is my loving relationship with my boyfriend, M. Feeling loved is an incredible elixir. The solid connection we have makes all other relationships easier. Honestly, it makes all other work and life struggles easier.

Photo credit Jonathon Pendleton via Unsplash

M reassures and supports me 100 different ways every day. He makes me laugh. He makes me feel beautiful. He listens when I ramble on about work and kid stuff. He also makes it easy to be a loving partner to him. He’s a favorite friend I love to spend time with. Incorporating each other into our friend and family circles has been a breeze too. In fact, his friends and family are yet another community I’ve happily gained in the last two years.

Our relationship has given me an emotional security I haven’t had in a long time.

What it comes down to

These factors have created new neural pathways in my brain. My old ruts of I’m overlooked, I’m not valued, I am alone, I have to do it all myself and I am not deeply loved have been paved over with fresh synapse firings that say, You are seen, you are valuable, you are not alone, you belong and you are loved and cared for. 

The feeling of stability and joy flows over onto everyone around me. They know they can depend on me. My composure helps them feel at ease.

Photo credit Nathan Dumlao of Unsplash

How much equanimity do you feel? What do you need to feel at ease? What is missing? What is working? 

If you feel alone or ready for a change, contact me for guidance on taking steps toward more fulfilling ways of living and relating. Click on the link in this sentence (dark black font) or click on the coaching tab at the top of the page.


The Quiet Rise of Introverts is out! Perhaps it would make a nice gift for the introvert in your life. Perhaps you want to make changes in your life toward better relationships and self-compassion. The Quiet Rise is for you.

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  1. michaelrbuley December 1, 2017 at 9:46 pm - Reply

    Wow. Great post, Brenda! Awesome stuff personally, and great stuff that you recommend, that combination of things that work for you — and can have benefit for others.

    You pointed out — and it’s critical — that you have worked at this for a long time. There is no easy, shortcut route to happiness. I’ve come to realize that happiness is a state of mind that we achieve, over time. Just like we achieve physical fitness, we achieve emotional fitness — happiness if we want that — over time. A long period of time. We must work at it, constantly, daily, moment by moment … and if we persist, we ‘suddenly’ find that we are there. Not every second. But we got there, to being happy — regardless of circumstances. Affected by circumstances, but not in the same as before.

    I think that when we learn that happiness truly is an inside job — not dependent on circumstances, or for things to ‘be right’ — then we have achieved a kind of freedom that is perhaps rare. Happiness that doesn’t depend on any other person, or any particular outcomes — that’s a state of mind and heart, within.

    We think we are ‘just happy’ … or not. Like it happens. It doesn’t. Just like physical fitness doesn’t just happen to the lucky ones. We work at it. And for it. And keep after it!

    Happiness, at least in part — perhaps large part — comes from being at peace with who we really are. Independent of anyone else loving us or any of that. i.e., when we love ourselves enough to be who we really are … well, that brings a definite happiness.

    Your M sounds wonderful. He makes you laugh … he makes you feel beautiful … he listens to you. Tell your M ‘thanks from Michael over in the Northwest for loving Brenda who is dear to so many of us!’ Obviously, he is pretty cool, and you are pretty cool … and when two good, happy people get together, then that’s good stuff. I’m very happy for you, Brenda.

    Thanks for a wonderful and encouraging and insightful and provocative note to us!


    • Brenda Knowles December 5, 2017 at 11:36 am - Reply

      Thanks Michael. I’ll pass on your message to M. 🙂 He’s good to me and for me and I think I am the same for him. I’m finally in a relationship where I can relax, enjoy life and be myself. I still have struggle days — mostly related to connecting with my children — but M’s there and my work is there. I have love and purpose. I know better how to get to my peaceful self.
      Wishing you all the love and personal joy in the world Michael. I so appreciate your weekly contribution and insight.

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