It is first day of Stoic Week 2017!
In the morning reflection we were asked to read a quote from part 4.3 from Meditations, the one where Marcus urges us to retreat into our own minds and find peace there, whenever we need. Then he advices us to keep in mind and ready to hand maxims that will help you to return without resentment to whatever one has to return to.
For today, I chose from the list provided these:
“Sickness is a hindrance to the body, but not to the will.”
“Some things are under my control and other things are not.”
“Everything has two handles, and can be picked up and carried either wisely or foolishly.”
“Endure and renounce”
“Remember you must die.”
They seemed appropriate to me because of these two themes of the day:
- I am still a bit ill so I will remind myself often today that the ailment will not hinder my will, I can still do my best and be cheerful.
- I have failed in a pretty spectacular way in my efforts to lose weight recently, so today as I will pick up my project, I will carry it wisely, I will endure and renounce when needed, and I will remember that my cravings are not in my control but my deliberate actions and choices are. That should me it quite difficult to fool myself.
Midday exercise was values clarification. Asking yourself and writing down what you’d like your life to be about, what are your hopes and fears and what is most important to you.
I usually enjoy this exercise and did so now too, although it was a difficult one this time. There seems to be lack of clarity and direction right now in my life. The obvious fundamentals of family and earning an honest living are still at the top but other than that, was really hard to come by “what am I about”. But I also believe that in this exercise, it’s not only the answers you come by but the questions, and specifically the processes that are ignited in your head as you ask these intense questions from yourself.
Pondering on this, I also found that whatever goodies I would get in this life, they should come to me in a way that would not make me ashamed of myself, and they should not be destructive things. So I do believe in the Stoic idea of living according to my nature as a social animal. So even if something would be good, it would not be truly good and make me happy if it was causing misery, being unjust, unreasonable or foolish.
Some time ago I thought that my biggest problem in life is that I don’t have enough time to do things I’d like to do. Now I don’t think that would be my problem at all. Although I am often busy with work and other obligations, the main problem is that often I don’t know for sure what I want in the big picture. There is indecision and fear of missing out. Maybe I need to participate in ExistentialWeek, not StoicWeek?
But if you get nothing else, it’s good to acknowledge that this is where you’re at. Let’s work from there.
Stoic Week material: