I flew back home from Phoenix last night, with a connecting flight at O’Hare in Chicago.
It seems I had the usual O’Hare experience everyone complains about.
- The plane from Phoenix was late.
- I had 15 minutes to go the one mile to my next gate to catch the connecting flight to Louisville.
- I ran like hell to get there.
- I didn’t really need to run, after all. The Louisville flight was delayed anyway.
I’ve spent most of today finishing my blog posts from notes made during my Phoenix trip. I wanted to experience my trip, rather than spend the whole trip blogging.
Clearing blue sky,
A promise in bare branches.
In winter, there are sunny days.
In adulthood, childhood can return.
-Deng Ming-Dao, 365 Tao: Daily Meditations
- There is optimism in doing things in disagreeable weather to prepare for when the weather gets better.
- Adults often see these responsibilities as obligations.
- The gratification comes when these efforts bear fruits that can be enjoyed.
Self Mastery work this week:
After returning from vacation, I will now resume Week One of “Self Mastery: Personal Empowerment for Creating the Life You Desire” by Dr. Marcus Chacos.
Goal: Seven straight days of waking up at 5:00AM for breakfast, meditation, and blogging.
Working with The Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday:
“Some things are in our control, while others are not.” – Epictetus, The Enchiridion
As I mentioned on Day One, I was taken by the sheriff’s department to a Crisis Stabilization Unit in Elizabethtown, Kentucky, where I was absolutely crazy, freaking out, having all kinds of bizarre delusions, which eventually led to being sent to Hardin County Memorial Hospital for 72 hours, and later to the psych ward at Central State Hospital in Louisville.
While I was in the Crisis Stabilization Unit, we had a group exercise, asking the basic question while going through our the problems of our lives: What is in your control and what is not? Mind you, we all lived with some degree of dysfunction, substance abuse, any other problems which made us no longer functional adults.
Although the counselors base this work on The Serenity Prayer, made famous by 12 step programs, its roots are in Stoicism.
Epictetus says we control:
- Our opinion
- Everything of our own doing
Epictetus says we don’t control:
- Everything not of our own doing.
Lose your job?- You can’t control the loss of your job. You can control the choice to search for a new job.
Lose everything you own?- You can’t control your property. It can all be lost at any time, whether you like it or not. You can control your attachments and desire for ownership, and make a choice to take the steps to replace the things you once owned.
Someone close to you died and you are devastated?- It is okay to have emotions about the situation, but you cannot control your own body or someone else’s. You can’t control your own death.
Sounds too simple?
“What about when innocent victims such as children are beaten and murdered?” you might ask, for example.
Again, you could have only controlled that situation if you were present to save the child’s life, or least make the attempt. It doesn’t mean you can’t get angry about it happening, or help in some way to get justice.
The idea is very black and white, but it’s a good place to start working when you are suffering from a crisis. It doesn’t mean you will instantly get over everything in one moment after reading some Epictetus.
You only have so much control over the health of your body (You do have some control.) You don’t have control over thieves taking your property and getting away with it. You only have so much control over keeping your job. You have no control over what other people think of you. In fact, Epictetus might even argue that another person’s opinion of you isn’t your business- it’s their business!
Tomorrow, I go back to work. Special thanks to Brian & Jan Sandwich, Frank & Sharon Labor, The Earps, and everyone who came out to Chopper John’s to visit me during the trip.