I’ve tried doing Stoic week and I can conclude there is way to go before I am a real Stoic. I can do some of it, but my big stumbling block is non-attachment to outcomes, particularly in regard to those outcomes we can’t control… As the Alcoholics Anon Serenity prayer says:
I really get attached to outcomes – in fact my whole working life is about them – and it’s not always knowing the difference between those that I can control, and those that I can’t that regularly struggle with.
You see, what if, I, on my own can’t control an outcome… but if I find enough like-minded individuals and get together with them – perhaps we can. I realise I now sound like Barack Obama’s first presidential election campaign, and maybe that’s my trouble. I can’t quite see my limitations… well not at least until I’ve run into them. Head first usually. And when that happens and I am rubbing my head, then I usually repeat my other maxims for life (to myself).
And then, finally…
And then, I lie down, light a cigar and have a glass of wine. So maybe, just maybe, I too am a little Stoic round the edges. Or maybe it’s just that I’m a plain stubborn, hardhead. Who knows.
(I’ve been so busy trying to be Stoic this week, that I am quite behind on things I need to write about. First there is the Isa Muazu case and immigration to the UK in general. In true Stoic style I am waiting until my emotions settle before I embark on that post, and I am hoping the Home Secretary will be called to answer questions about his failed and inhumane deportation tomorrow in the House of Commons which may enlighten my own writing process – although I doubt it. Then there are the two films I saw this week which mixed profundity and pain with kitsch moments and conversation that don’t say the half of it – and ain’t that just about the size of real life? And finally, there was a beautiful moment of connection I witnessed this afternoon that I am determined shall not be lost to the busyness of existence and would like to reflect on here.)
Oh, and there is a new blog to be revealed as this one is now bulging at the seams.
Keep up at the back.
I was tempted to put an exclamation mark on that title above, but I don’t think it’s a form of punctuation the Roman Stoics: Seneca, Epictetus, and Marcus Aurelius would have gone in for themselves (had the exclamation mark even been invented back then).
I didn’t know it was Stoic Week until I heard it on the radio this morning, but I thought it would make a change from the usual run of Novembery things. As it turns out, some of the practice of Stoicism is rooted in mindfulness, which I try to incorporate in my day anyway (although never enough as it turns out).
Anyway, if you are interested, or want to join in, the link to the University of Exeter blog is here. If you want to be part of the research, you have to take the ratings questionnaires before midnight tonight. If you don’t want to go the whole hog (and I don’t think a Stoic would) then it’s still worth a visit for some interesting ideas.
I’ll report back tomorrow *if I remember* but if I am in the spiritual state of this man, then you’ll be bound to hear more from me.