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Stoicism speaks of flourishing as an ideal. Many ask, “flourishing sounds great, but how do you do it?” By these itty-bitty shifts in attention. That’s it.
“Stillness is not a means to deny, submerge, or otherwise repudiate the self. It is simply through the wisdom of stillness we see that the self or the soul is healthiest and happiest when it is pointed outward rather than inward.”
Keeping the creative spark alive.
“The Ancient sage Booboo Baba described the healing powers of celery and skunk dung poultices.”
The storming of the United States Capitol with its mob violence and wanton destruction on January 6 sadly showcased the power of “The Big Lie” in action. “The Big Lie,” perpetrated by Hitler, Goebbles, and others during WWII is the notion that if you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it and act on it.
Mama warned me about roaming around dodgy neighborhoods, but I didn’t heed her advice. Old enough to prefer seeking most of my knowledge from physical books and other print sources, I decided to enlarge my world by poking around the internet to read some discussions in assorted self-described Stoic forums around the world.
Practice self-sufficiency. Don’t remain a dependent malleable patient: Become your own soul’s doctor. These lines, inspired by Epictetus, are from my book The Art of Living: The Classical Manual on Virtue, Happiness, and Effectiveness.
Be a citizen of the world (Epictetus, Discourses, 1.9) is an oft-quoted phrase. Other translations express this teaching as “citizen of the universe,” or “citizen of God.” However stated, there is a lot packed into this short assertion.
In Northern California, where I live, we can’t go outdoors because the air is fouled with noxious smoke from nearby wildfires and the countless other fires ravaging California, Oregon, and Washington State. A few days ago, the temperature outside was 115 degrees.
When things seem to fall apart
“Everything just feels like it’s falling apart, like we’re spinning out of control,” lamented an otherwise typically cheerful friend as we stared at each other over Zoom. “I’m tired of trying to fight the good fight. It used to seem like if I tried to be good and do good, it would make a difference. Now, I’m just tired.”
I write to you as a mere person. Neither as sage, prophet, saint, nor leader, I nevertheless have learned invaluable lessons for a life well-lived. I humbly offer them as an abbreviated ethical will.
The art of showing up - I practice yoga everyday, and probably do it wrong, but I show up and do it anyway, no matter what. It makes me better. Same with Stoicism.
A search for what’s true
Since the COVID-19 pandemic stunningly upended life as we knew it, we are pointedly challenged to reconsider what is true and enduring, what is worthy and what isn’t, and the daily questions of “Who will I be today?” and “How shall I act?” Our templates for facing each day have been jiggled at best.
The meaning of life
“What is the meaning of life?” I asked my friend Jan.
“Oh, that’s easy,” she shot back. “We’re here to love God, love each other, and eat pie.”
Getting stuck on Channel C
Has your mind ever gotten stuck on Channel C (the Crazy Channel)?