Day Thirty Nine: Worry

Daily Journal

My condolences to Aaron “Ump” McCollum and family for the loss of his father, George. I met him on The Earps US tour in November 2007. George showed up for three gigs that


The Earps with Roadie Brad at Bass Pro Shops Museum in Springfield Missouri. November 2007.

trip. Kansas City. Springfield, Missouri. Memphis. He bought us a hotel room in Springfield, which was a nice thing to do since no one showed up and we made $16. The rapper Tec 9 was also staying at the hotel, and it was obvious that his show went a lot better than ours had. The next day, George paid admission for the whole band and “Roadie Brad” to go to the Bass Pro Shops Museum in Springfield.

Today will be a shorter journal entry. I went hiking at Iroquois Park with my Meetup group last night, so I didn’t have time to work further through the Designing Your Life book, but I will get started on Chapter 3 tonight.

Deng Ming-Dao on Worry:

Worry is an addiction
That interferes with compassion.

Today’s entry is almost like taking a subject that Stoics talk about quite often and getting a Taoist opinion, which is more or less in agreement with Epictetus. Like Epictetus, Ming-Dao says, I paraphrase, that there are just too many problems outside of our control, making it impossible to address all of them. He defines worry as “concern gone compulsive”, and given some of his language, like “spiritual degeneracy” and “cancer of the emotions”, he considers worry to be a very negative thing. He say s when you meet a problem, help if it is in your power to do so. “After you have acted, withdraw and be unconcerned about it. Walk on without ever mentioning it to anybody. Then there is no worry, because there has been action.” Being unable to address all concerns and problems there would be to worry about, he advises us to take care of yourself and something good for those you meet.

Daily Stoic

Today is a lesson from Seneca on the subject of anger. I have struggled with this lesson. I have done a lot of screaming at people over the things they have done. I’m not one to cry, but I am a person who gets furious and impatient at times. Using a lesson from Seneca, Ryan Holiday says the next time you catch yourself having a fit, ask yourself “Is this actually making me feel better? Is this actually relieving any of the symptoms I wish were gone?”

Here’s a video from the 6-part series with Alain de Botton called “Philosophy: A Guide to Happiness” about Seneca and anger.

I’m off to work. Enjoy your day. See you tomorrow.

Day Twenty Two: Communication

Another one of my goals for improvement in 2017 is to work on my parenting skills. During the school year, I only see my kids on weekends. Often, the mandatory overtime demands made by my employer only allow me to see them on Friday night and Saturday. Due to the distance they live from my home, I am not able to keep them during the week. The “joint custody” agreement filed with the court no longer worked after their mother moved to town located an hour drive from me. During the summer, I see them more often.

todolistOne of the problems I’ve had is that I work all week, and then add after work activities such as hiking and meditation groups. I get really behind on my laundry and housework. So guess what. The house is a mess and I have my kids, aged 5 & 7. I attempt to clean the house as they are messing up the house even more. To resolve this dilemma, I went through and cleaned thoroughly, decluttering, and putting the home into the cleanest possible state. On Friday night, the kids get a To-Do List. No tablet time or playing until they are all checked off the list. I added two fun things to the list: kids yoga and baking cookies. It worked pretty well, though my daughter was more cooperative than my son. We did what should have taken about an hour and a half in about 3-4 hours.

Deng Ming-Dao on Communication:

Movement, objects, speech, and words
We communicate through gross symbols.
We call them “objective,”
But we cannot escape our point of view.

Deng Ming-Dao asserts that we cannot know reality through communication. We can only experience subjectivity because miscommunication is always a problem with motions, signs, talking, and writing. We do not know any absolute truth about this world. As I quoted in an early post, Harry Crews once remarked, “The only world I know is the one I see”. He was speaking about how he is so often fooled by appearances, citing an example of seeing a married couple he knew kissing and hugging, assuming their love life was going well,  only to learn they filed for divorce a few days later. We should know that words and communication are imperfect and so we must give them limited importance.

As the old saying goes, “Believe half of what you see and nothing you hear.”

The Day in Review

Today, in The Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday, he references a letter from Seneca about an exercise in reviewing each day in the evening, asking the following questions:

  • What bad habit did I curb today?
  • How am I better?
  • Were my actions just?
  • How can I improve?

Looking back at today, there was some backsliding. I woke up running late, which is because I stayed up late last night cleaning my apartment. I wish I had woken up on time, but I think the extra 45 minutes of sleep was worth it, just for today, considering the benefits of cleaning up last night. The downside is I didn’t have enough time to prepare lunch, so I purchased and ate junk food, and resorted to caffeine to compensate for lack of sleep. Not a habit I wish to keep, but for just one day, I’m happy to have a clean home for the small price of one slightly rough morning. I managed to stay on task all day at work, did not waste much time after getting home, caught up on my blog, and I’m satisfied with the day. I can improve by working on becoming more efficient with my blog writing. Without sacrificing quality, I could free up time to accomplish other things as well.

See you tomorrow.