Day Fifty Five: Division

Daily Journal:

Dr. Martens 1460 Eight-Eye Aztec boots I bought this week.

I’ve spent the week shopping for new clothes, something I haven’t done that has been long overdue, especially following butt blowout on three pairs of old jeans in the last month. Lifestyle changes usually seem to result in changes to the wardrobe in my closet. For example, I spent about 10 years in cubicles in offices and call centers and have been working in warehouses for the last six years. I donated all “business casual” attire. Every last pair of Dockers-style slacks and every golf shirt. I’ve switched over to jeans (shorts in the summer) and t-shirt with comfortable shoes and backwards baseball cap for my present warehouse job. The other half of my clothes are “rock star clothes”, consisting of super tight stretching jeans, denims, cowboy boots, etc. (I basically mix rock fashion with western wear, a little 70s, a little 80s…) After getting out of the music scene, I’m finding that I no longer wear the rock star clothes.

I found some good simple men’s fashion advice from Models: Attract Women Through Honesty by Mark Manson, which I read probably two years ago. He says to buy a “black set” and a “brown set”: Brown jacket, brown shoes, brown belt. Black jacket, black shoes, black belt. From there, buy several pairs of jeans, ranging from light to black and different shades. About a dozen or so shirts. I went a step further, adding brown and black hats. I wear a lot of hats because (a) my hair is not easy to manage and look presentable and (b) I look great in hats.

As he says, start with jeans and t-shirt you want to wear. Then match with either brown or black. I thought it was simple and brilliant advice.

I bought a pair of brown Dr. Martens 8 eye boots, black Levi’s engineer boots, 4 pairs of jeans from American Eagle Outfitters, a brown leather motorcycle jacket, brown Justin cowboy hat, several baseball caps, $3.99 each, from Rural King farm store.

This week, I will declutter the closet, removing clothing that doesn’t fit, I never wear, I don’t like, etc. and donating it.

Deng Ming-Dao on Division:

Today is another simple entry in 365 Tao, it begins with a poem:

Problems cannot be
Resolved at once.
Slowly until knots
Divide to conquer.

You may have heard the old expression “Eat the elephant one bite at a time”. That’s what Deng Ming-Dao is basically saying today.

First, he breaks down into three types of problems:

  1. Puzzle- needs to be analyzed carefully, requiring patience.
  2. Obstacle- must be overcome. Use force or move around it.
  3. Entanglement- requires us to extricate ourselves from a “maze of limitations”

This is an area of my life that has improved a lot. Typically, I’m overwhelmed with problems I feel that I can’t handle sometimes. In the past, I would ignore them until they could no longer be ignored anymore. Over the last two years, I’ve gotten better at breaking down problems into smaller goals, especially in terms of getting out of debt, removing bad habits like drinking and smoking, improvements with cleaning the house, and so on. I loved Deng Ming-Dao’s phrase “maze of limitations”. More than ever, I have more limitations. Having children, you can’t just move anywhere you want, take any work schedule, or work too far from their schools, etc. Aging brings its own limitations as well.

As he says, fracture bigger problems down to their basic elements, which you slowly reduce until they are untangled.

Daily Stoic:

Today’s entry is another area where cognitive behavioral therapy owes a debt to Stoicism. Excellent quote from Epictetus:

“Keep in mind that it isn’t the one who has it in for you and takes a swipe that harms you, but rather the harm comes from your own belief about the abuse.”

His point is that if someone makes you angry, it’s your opinion of the deed that is fueling the anger, not the deed itself. Obviously, Stoic advice doesn’t apply to situation of extreme harm such as assault or murder, but is very useful for navigating around ordinary, daily drama.

Tomorrow, I will visit the Abbey of Gethsemani in Trappist, Kentucky to purchase some p and probably another Thomas Merton book.



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