Tag Archives: Stoic Week

Stoic Week 2015: Day 7: Nature

Here we are; the final day of Stoic Week 2015. Have you learned something? Are you inspired? Are you curious and hungry for more? Read more of this post

Stoic Week 2015: Day 6: Resilience

Resilience and Preparation for Adversity

Wow, it’s hard to believe it’s already Day 6. Stoic Week has been significantly more successful for me than last year. Last year, Stoic Week was held the same week as American Thanksgiving. My family traveled over 1500 miles to see me, and although I tried making an effort to take my bite of philosophy each day, it simply wasn’t working. Not to mention I also had to bear witness at a court trial, and had something very painful and unexpected happen that week. Here we are a year later. My own life is looking up compared to where I was a year ago. It has taken lots of courage and support, but quite seriously, Stoic philosophy has made a significant impact.

A year ago, I was submerged in depression. I had lost my job, and was in a really difficult point in my relationship with my Signifiant Other. You can read my “About Me” stuff for more details. But the truth is, I couldn’t get out of bed. If you’ve never experienced depression, I’m not referring to a “I’m sad and don’t feel like getting out of my bed and facing the world” type of attitude. I mean, quite physically, I could not get out of bed. In fact, it was difficult enough for me to even wake up. I would struggle to open my eyes in the morning and quickly drift off again, continuing until 3:00pm. Not. Normal. If I did finally manage to wake up and get out of bed, I was quickly drained of energy and would collapse on the couch in the living room.

I stopped eating. If I ate, it was one biscuit each day. Like I said, in summary, I was enveloped by depression. But Stoicism is largely responsible for pulling me out of that place. Stoic philosophy spoke to my character. You might be depressed, Kirsten, but at the heart of everything, you truly do want to be a good person. Stoic texts encouraged me, inspired me, gave me ground to stand on. Stoicism isn’t a magic philosophy that will fix the problems in your life. Those same problems will still be there. In fact, Stoicism won’t fix a damn thing outside of yourself. It won’t always bring you the news you were hoping for, and it won’t be easy. But Stoicism will bring you to reality, and it will give you the tools to deal with reality. Stoicism is a philosophy of empowerment.

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Stoic Week 2015: Day 5: Relationships

My apologies for the delay in yesterday’s post. Publishing a day late in a course that is time-sensitive and covers a topic each day and an entire philosophy in a week isn’t exactly ideal. It’s not that I forgot about the blog, or got lazy, or anything like that. All week I’ve been fighting a cold, and yesterday evening when I came home from work, I was just too congested and too sick to concentrate. So I loaded myself up with various medicines from yesterday’s doctor visit (indeed, it went well with Thursday’s theme, but that’s another story), and I forced myself to wait for sleep. Without further ado, I finally present to you…

“The Post that Should Have Been Published Yesterday”

Or rather…

Relationships with Other People and Society

Morning Reflection

Say to yourself first thing in the morning: I shall meet with people who are meddling, ungrateful, violent, treacherous, envious, and unsociable. They are subject to these faults because of their ignorance of what is good and bad. But I have recognized the nature of the good and seen that it is right, and the nature of the bad and seen that it is  wrong, and the nature of the wrongdoer himself, and seen that he is related to me, not because he has the same blood or seed, but because he shares in the same mind and portion of divinity. So I cannot be harmed by any of them, as no one will involve me in what is wrong. Nor can I be angry with my relative or hate him. We were born for cooperation, like feet, like hands, like eyelids, like the rows of upper and lower teeth. So to work against each other is contrary to nature; and resentment and rejection count as working against someone.

(Marcus Aurelius, Meditations 2.1)

Those are some powerful words, Marcus. He certainly calls it like it is. I actually had to open up this quote on Monday and read it to give me some strength to face the day. I think I will print this quote and keep it somewhere hidden at my desk for only myself to read. I work with people who are living in poverty. Working with some of the people can be really difficult. Someone who lives in poverty thinks differently than someone who does not face poverty on a daily basis. Poverty can direct a person’s way of thinking from being future-oriented, or planning, to being focused only on immediate concerns or needs. Read more of this post

Stoic Week 2015: Day 4: Virtue

Morning Reflection:

If you ever find anything better in life than justice, truthfulness, self-control, and courage…by all means, turn it it with all your heart and enjoy the supreme good that you have found… But if you find everything that, compared to Virtue, proves to be trivial and valueless, then give no room to it, because once you turn towards that and divert from your proper path, you will no longer be able to give the highest honor to that which is properly good without experiencing inner conflict. It’s not right to set up any rival to Virtue, such as popularity, powerful office, wealth, or enjoyment of pleasures.

(Marcus Aurelius, Meditations 3.6)

I listened to the Morning Meditation Audio again this morning. Here are some of my favorite bits from it: Read more of this post

Stoic Week 2015: Day 3: Mindfulness

Stoic Mindfulness and Examining your Impressions

Morning Reflection:

People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills… And you too are especially inclined to feel this desire. But this is altogether unphilosophical, when it is possible for you to retreat into yourself at any time you wish. Nowhere can a person find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind; especially if he has within himself the kind of thoughts that let him dip into them and so at once gain complete ease of mind—and by ease of mind, I mean nothing but having one’s own mind in good order. Therefore, constantly give yourself this retreat and renew yourself. You should have concise and fundamental principles at hand. These will be enough, as soon as you encounter disturbances, to cleanse you from all distress and send you back without resentment at the activities to which you return.

(Marcus Aurelius, Meditations 1.3.1-3)

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Stoic Week 2015: Day 2: Control

What is in our Control and Wishing with Reservation

 Morning Reflection:

Early in the morning, when you are finding it hard to wake up, hold this thought in your mind: “I am getting up to do the work of a human being. Do I still resent waking up, if I am going out to do the work which I was born for and for which I was brought into the world? Or was I designed for this, to lie under the blanket and keep myself warm?” “But this is more pleasant.” So were you born for pleasure? In general, were you born for feeling or affection? Don’t you see the plants, the little sparrows, the ants, the spiders, the bees, all doing their own work and playing their part in making up an ordered world? And yet you are unwilling to do the work of a human being? Won’t you race to do what is in line with your nature?

(Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, 5.1)

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Stoic Week 2015: Day 1: Life

Today is the first official day of Stoic Week 2015. The theme for the day is:

Life as a Project and Role Models

I kicked the day off with the morning reflection: Read more of this post

Stoic Quotes

Yesterday I read through the preliminary material for Stoic Week 2015. (If you haven’t enrolled already, I urge you to do so now. The course officially starts tomorrow, November 2). It included a couple of excerpts on Marcus Aurelius which were mildly intriguing. Today I opened up the Stoic Week Handbook and am reading up through the material for Monday. The Stoic Handbook includes a brief section on “Self-Statements,” or maxims, which are short quips or adages that help us to remember core Stoic principles in our daily lives. They are words of wisdom to conjure up when we feel the need. I felt inspired to share a handful of my favorite Stoic quotes, the first of which I shared yesterday:

12049729_10156214241165164_2287718011158567209_n Read more of this post

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