It has been quite a while since I last updated this blog—I took on a new full-time job in my career field, and the training has been intense, leaving me little to no energy outside of work to update the blog. But after five and a half months, I have more or less reached a level of stability in my job, and what better time to rev up the Stoic studies once more than with the arrival of Stoic Week 2015?
My own adventure into ancient Stoic philosophy began only a couple of weeks before Stoic Week 2014, and so this roughly marks a year of Stoicism. Despite inadvertently discontinuing my regular studies, it seems that my previous studies permeated into everyday life, and while I haven’t necessarily consciously thought about Stoicism on a daily basis, I have seen that it was continued to work its way naturally into my days. All the hullabaloo around Stoic Week has brought to mind just how much I identify and how much comfort I feel from quotes like this:
This stuff just speaks to me. It’s gold. It’s fantastic. It’s real. It’s logical. It’s crazy. I love it.
I’ve been actually amazed how much studying Stoicism has managed to gently but effectively change my outlook on life. Stoic philosophy generally just “makes sense.” It follows a fairly logical path. And if you follow this path in your studies, you will find yourself basically agreeing with the main points, with very little to argue. Over time you will hear some similar principles from Hinduism, Buddhism, and some other religions, and you might find yourself suddenly agreeing with those as well, wondering in amazement how religions that are thousands of years old were really on to something that even today seems “ahead of its time”! “Stoicism has great points, but that doesn’t mean that I’m Buddhist or Hindu now.” Certainly. But I guarantee your view will shift. Consider how your friends or relatives think of Hinduism or Buddhism. Spout a principle or two that Stoicism shares with Hinduism and your relatives might think you’ve turned hippie or have gone off the deep end. But when you think of the Stoic principles, you completely understand how they make sense to you. Just thinking about this is how I check in from time to time, just to consider how my view has shifted from mainstream views, and to keep in mind where the “rest of the society” is at compared to my own views. It just helps me keep track of things and remember where others may be coming from.
Stoicism has taught me to try to remain objective. I’ve had a client at work who was just terrible. She would yell at me on the phone regularly, come to the office and yell and make demands… I was experiencing a lot of stress from dealing with her. As I would drive to work and begin stressing about dealing with this client, I caught myself saying at one point, “Why are you stressed or anxious, Kirsten? [Jessica] isn’t even here right now, so there’s absolutely no logical reason for you to be feeling stress at this moment.” It might be small, but it was effective. Stoicism for the win.
I’m also on the lookout for a pleasing design or pattern to cross stitch with some Stoic quotes. I’ve wanted to cross stitch Marcus Aurelius’ “The happiness of your life depends on the quality of your thoughts,” for a while now. I’d like to cross stitch the quotes, patterns, even comics, and hang them in my cubicle for me (and my clients) to read while at work…
Stoic philosophy has also ingrained in me a stronger point of “live and let live.” I have my Stoic principles, my own thoughts and ideas, my opinions. They seem to work well for me. Do I need to engrain them in you, as well? No. I will offer them, but you get to decide if you want to take a bite. Stoicism has somehow managed to transform me into a sovereign island somehow interconnected as part of a swirling Cosmos. Does that make sense somehow?
I’d like to take a moment to thank you readers. The other day I logged back into the website to work on a new post, and I was honestly shocked that despite remaining idle for five months, the website has continued a stream of several hundred visitors each month. I am pleased that there are some thoughts and information that are still useful to some readers, and I hope that as we continue on, we will continue to learn more together.
So where shall we begin again? Head on over to Stoic Week at Modern Stoicism, enroll in the course if you haven’t already (It begins November 2nd!), and take some time to look over the preliminary material. Let’s get ready to be intrigued, amazed, empowered, and enlightened!