Poetic Response To Well Known Book

Meditations, some poetic thoughts on Stoicism.

Thank You Marcus!
Mindfully consider your actions,
Embrace life, think on the power of
Doing good for others, & yourself.
Initiate community actions, & 
Take on tasks as & when you can.
Adopt better ways of being, &
Tread a signposted path of good –
Imagine what, how, who, & why
Often & if you see a job, do it!
Notice others sometimes will help
Sometimes not, but do it anyway!

This is a new poem, it seems today is a bit of a ‘new poem’ day for me, this is the second one I have posted to one of my blogs … The other one was a response to something I read on another blog, one I visit sometimes, where there are many poetic things happening.

The other poem I posted was in the same poetic form, the Acrostic poem, as this one is. The other poem was written using the word NATURE, with the letters of the word forming the first letter of every line in the poem, as the poem above was written using the words MEDITATIONS, which of course was written by my hero in Stoicism, Marcus Aurelius.

Poetry and deeper thinking can go together well, where you have to consider, and reconsider every word, to write a good poem, worth sharing. I feel this one is a good poem, and worth sharing, and of course I hope others agree. And if they don’t, so be it, life is for living, not regretting!

What Would Marcus Do?

OK, so Marcus Aurelius isn’t Jesus, as the phrase usually refers to, but as an Atheist with a keen interest in following Stoic thought, the question makes much more sense to me. Others may feel differently, and that is fine. We are all entitled to our own thoughts and ideas, as long as following them hurts no-one.

The idea of actually asking either of these men is impossible of course, but it is possible to read at least some of what the Roman Emperor thought, because there are books of his thoughts available for us all to read, if we so wish. So that is what I do, I have one of those books, “Meditations”, from which I have found much wisdom. There are no books written by Jesus, so I can’t read them. There are only many words in the bible, about Jesus, rather than actually many words written by Jesus …

So when faced with a quandary in life, I will ask myself ‘What would Marcus do?”, and explore my good book – “Meditations”. Between my own thoughts and ideas, and Marcus Aurelius’s, I feel I come up with good results. Having a trusted book to refer to is a fine thing for us all, or if not a book, an actual living person whose wisdom you trust may suit you.

Have a wise ‘other’, in your life is useful, I feel. I’d be interested in how others feel about these ideas of mine. FEel free to leave a comment, and we can discuss it!

Feeling Triggered, Seeking Peace …

In my life I have had various things happen to me, and I am sure, if added together, these things would or could add up to a diagnosis of PTSD. Childhood sexual abuse, the same as a teen, and then as a young adult. Sudden death by accident of my best teenage friend, unexpected death of my older brother, when a new mother (my babe only two months old).

I have written about some of these things, and published a poetry collection ‘damaged children, Precious Gems’, which contains some of my relevant poetry. It is a fine book, and I have copies available here Feel free to go there and we can get a book organised for you!

Anyway, I have had a week of hearing and reading about sexual abuse, it is all over the media at the moment, and I have been almost unable to stop watching and listening to it all, and I could feel it was affecting me. Then I decided I’d better take some actions to stop myself from feeling even worse, and was happy to have an event to attend, where I caught up with friends, and had an enjoyable time, chatting, and listening to the great speakers at the event.

In times of stress, which is obviously what I’ve been feeling, finding pleasurable ways to spend time, is good for a person. Exercise is also good, being ‘at one with Nature’ is good too. And for a Stoic, which I am endeavouring to be, doing what is the virtuous thing, as best as is in my power to do. Stressing about things, focusing on the bad things that occurred many many years ago, even if the after effects are still impacting on me, well stepping away form that an being in the now, not the past, that is the think I can do, the past is gone.

I can find better thoughts, those of peace, and away from strife, by looking at the good things in my life, the flowers and birds, the lovely blue sky. I can exercise more, which is good for me as it helps me deal better with the disease that may or may not be implicated with my earlier sexual abuse issues. So looking at my life now, and aiming at doing things to make this current life as good as it can be, this is going to aid me in becoming the most virtuous person I can be. Sitting on my bottom bemoaning what has happened a long time ago won’t do anything good for me at all.

Thinking about these things, and writing about them, may bring good results, following along on Social Media and sooking about it, without actually doing a thing, that will only make me feel worse. I’ve had a fairly stressful week, but yesterday and today, I’ve realise a few truths of it all, and am now going to concentrate on myself, making my body stronger, by exercising more (a thing I neglect to do far too often).

The exercise will be walking, briskly, and I know this is good, because I know how it always makes me feel, tired, yes, but filled with feel good chemicals that naturally come when a person exercises – yay to the Endorphins! Free drugs, delivered within my body, easily! So yes, I am now going to finish this post, and go walkies! Inside, and outside, recording the steps, and putting down the details my phone pedometer device tells me, to further inspire more exercises tomorrow!

This is what I am capable of doing, and what is is best for me to do, both physically, emotionally, and mentally, so goodbye, catch up again some other time!

Doing Good Deeds

I did a good deed today – I saw something that needed to be done, and I did it. I don’t want a reward, or public thanks, so I won’t detail what I did, which wasn’t a big thing anyway. The important thing is that I saay something that needed to be done, or at least it’s a thing that is better for having been done, and I did that thing.

If everybody who sees things that need to be done, and just does them, no hoohaa, just gets on and does needed things, as a matter of course, how much better our world may become. And further to that, what if we saw things that shouldn’t be done, and did our best to prevent them from happening, could we do that too?

I know about free speech and how we can often do whatever we want, in this country, anyway (Australia), but doing things that are not advantageous for other people, is that where a line could, or should be drawn? There are rules, regulations, and laws, some of which are followed, others routinely ignored and broken. What is the role of the ordinary person if or when they see these things happen?

Go to community things, join a group, help out when you can! Adelaide Plains Council Mayor Mark Wasley speaks at event at Mallala Oval

I’d like to think I would do what I could to help prevent bad things happening, but I would be careful about not getting involved in anything where I may get hurt … I am conscious of always putting my own care to the fore, because that means I will be able to more, good things sometimes for sure, but other things in my life too, the things that make life worth living.

Doing the best I can, when I can, this is the maxim I try to hold to. I don’t get it right every time, because I am human, and can fail at times, as we all can. This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t even try. If we all decided to try to be better people than we’ve been, doing the good thing, when we can see it needs to be done, and not doing bad things, that kind of thing can actually made a difference in the world.

I’m willing to do, how about you?

Minimalist Challenge, Can I Do It?

I read an email about a challenge to wear only 33 items in 3 months as a challenge in minimalism. There are rules, about what items are included and what aren’t and when I thought about my own life, what I wear, every day, I really think I’m already doing that.

There is a list of items not included in the not included items, such as rings and other jewellery never taken off, and underwear, exercise items aren’t included, if worn for exercise, or for lounging around the home. Sleepwear is also not included.

I’d initially been a bit excited about this idea, but then I thought about it, and realised I already probably did that. I tend to wear a quite limited range of clothes, don’t “bling up” very much, and don’t go out that often.

Of course, as a writer, with a very select range of “things” I go out to do, I don’t really need that many different clothes. Most of my days are spent at home in comfortable clothes, and I tend to wear small selection of clothing items, a few T-shirts, a couple of pairs of pants, my favourite pair of jeans, a couple of pairs of shoes, maybe three.

My slippers are for wearing at home only, lounging around the house, and my rubber boots may not be included, but I certainly don’t wear them when going “out”. Looking at all of this, I can see this challenge is not aimed at me, but more at people who work 9-5, five days a week.

So it seems my life is already quite a minimalist life, and I’m more than happy with that! I have what I need, do what I want, but my wants are restrained not my outside things, so much as just because that’s the way I like things to be. Life for me is not a competition, to see who as the best and latest things. Life is to live the best life possible for self, and others.

This Covid crisis has certainly taught people lessons in how to get by with less, and I’ve see and heard about people discovering the delights of their garden, and beginning to “Grow Their Own. Finding the simple delights in it. Home grown really does taste better, whatever it is.

Fruit can be picked at exactly the right time, strawberries for instance, there is nothing better, surely, than a sun ripened strawberry, picked and eaten as soon as picked, delicious.

There are delights too, in listening to the birds cheeping and chirping outside, and experiencing all of the weathers that Nature can offer. Slight cool breezes to hellish strong winds and everything in between, all can bring fascinating insights. Watching it all is better than anything on the TV!

Do It Now!

Whether it’s crochet, knitting, gardening, painting, writing, sewing, whatever it is, grasp the good that comes from the hours spent in the making, and be proud for every moment spent! Such moments and their rewards are priceless!

Living a good life, that is what life is all about, or it should be. Because if we think about it, we are all on a ride, from birth to death, but no-one knows when or where that ride might end. There are people dying every single moment, all across the world, and while some of those deaths were expected, many weren’t.

If you leave things “for later”, you may never have the time to get them done, and you’ll be gone, never having completed one of those masterpieces of art or craft, you told yourself you’d do later, when you had the time. Make the time, and make it right now!

If something is important enough for you to consider doing, surely it deserves being done now, or as close to now as is possible. Putting things off, will never get them done, because other things will crop up, that in the moment seem more important than that creative thing you really want to do.

My creative thing is writing, poetry mostly, but other things too. I like to spend times out in the garden, where light pruning, and harvesting are my pleasant chores.

And certainly, with gardening, knowing the right moment is very important, whether it’s watering, replanting, pruning, or harvesting, if you don’t do it with Nature says it must be done, you may lose out! We have strawberries growing in hanging pots at the moment, and we have lots of birds in our garden too. These two things meant that if we didn’t do something about keep the birds away from any ripe strawberries, the birds would get them, not us!

So my husband and I bought some bird netting. And we left that netting in the back yard, and left it, and left it. Until the other day I had a moment to spare and I went outside with scissors and some rubber bands, snipped the lengths of bird netting for the hanging pots the strawberry plants are in, and covered the strawberries safely with the netting, done, safe from any hungry birds!

I can see the strawberries growing, safe behind the bird netting, and I’m glad I took that moment and got it done; I love home grown strawberries! I’m writing a novel at the moment too, and even though I’m not churning out thousands of new words a day, I’m doing at least 500 new words every day. A friend challenged me to send her 500 words from my novel every day in January, and I said yes, so that’s what I’m doing. I’ve missed out on a couple of days only, and will make up the missed words, by sending more than 500 words, on some days.

And once January is over, my friend and I will look at where the novel is, what needs to be done still, what isn’t working (perhaps), what stage the story is at, and so on. I could have said no, when my friend mentioned her idea, but I took the opportunity handed to me, and so my novel is moving along far quicker than it had been moving.

So a lesson learnt, if something needs to be done, don’t leave it for another time, which may never come, do it now! As Seneca once said, ‘To be born is to begin dying’. So yes, do it now, while you’re still here to do it!

Using Stoicism in the Modern World

Yesterday, I had cause to look through my copy of Marcus Aurelius’s Meditations, to assist in an issue that had come up with a friend’s Facebook message. I had a think about my best response, and couldn’t decide, but after looking through my Marcus’s great 2000 year old book, I found the perfect responses.

It was about people who are always seeking validation from others, as the essence of the discussion, and after reading the book, and looking at my own thoughts and ideas, I realised I value my own opinion far more that the opinions of others …

I don’t mean this in an up myself kind of way, but in a far more considered way than that. I don’t spend time thinking each morning, as such, but I certainly do think further about most things that come up in my life. Being a poet, blogger and writer, as I am, my opinion is a valuable tool, to get my very best words written and out to the public.

Humans are still humans and even though there are far fewer slaves around these days, and we no longer have stadia where there are fights to the death, for real, there are such things in a more metaphorical sense still. Being out on the road in heavy traffic, looking to get in front of that damned car, what is that, if not a battle with death as a possible end, if things go wrong.

And the way so many people are mistreated in their workplace these days, well, they would have been better off if they were treated like slaves, at least they’d have been looked after, and cared about to some extent, if they did their job well. Not like the way bosses in contemporary times short change their workers, especially the most vulnerable ones!

So yes, I definitely feel that Stoicism is very much still relevant these days. What do you think about it, I’d love to know, please leave a message and we can look further into the whole thing, perhaps!

Being a Stoic – What Is It?

I have been doing my best in an untutored way, to live a Stoic. When I say ‘untutored’ I mean there on-one I can speak with to talk about various issues, and ideas I may have about this Stoic Life ‘thing’ I am trying to live.

I have read about stoicism, I have read a book about Stoicism by Massimo Pigliucci, and I try to understand my life in terms of what I do, and whether I am approaching my life in the proper, Stoic ways. I do my best to do the best I can, for myself, for other people, for the wider world. Is this enough?

Well, my life is not over, I hope I still have many more years to live. So obviously continuing to live my life, looking to making the best decisions for all will have to continue. I look to others, who are doing good, and try to emulate their ways, if possible. I try to look to the wisest ways to live this life I have. I try to look at the true reasons for things, and not lay the blame where it is wrong to lay it there.

I am aware we all are human, at various levels of knowledge, life skills, wisdom, and so on. I am unable to say the best way for everything for all, because the circumstances for different people requires different actions. And every day, might bring different needs and so actions …

I know what I most wish to do with my life, right now, but I am aware too, that by writing these words here, now, I am certainly not doing that wish of mine. That wish is to write books in a particular genre, and sell lots of them. Simple, yes?

But I’m not doing that, am I? And why is that? I’m looking at my life and thinking about things, and absolutely zero words therefore are currently being written by me, in the genre I tell myself I most wish to write books in. This is a thing that requires thought though, and so here I am, ‘journaling’ on this matter …

What is the reason?
I have been sending small sections of my book, in my most wished for genre to a friend, and she has indicated she is enjoying what I have written. So, I am able to write entertainingly, as is needed if I am to get books published. I am only writing short fragments of a book which will need to have a great many more words.
My suspicion is that I fear not actually being able to write well enough, but what of it? I am not dependant on writing, to have food, shelter, and loved ones supporting me. I will have those things, no matter what I do with my time, really. That fear is a fake fear, and I am being pretentious even caring about it, I think.
So OK, that actually feels true, but what of it? Right now, I have nothing I must do. I have no need of more food right now, I have water close by, I am comfortable. I feel what I need, if I am going to be the writer in the genre I wish to write in, I need to actually properly commit to it, and not ‘fluff around’ merely playing with the idea of this novel writing.
I know how many words are required, I understand the genre well enough. So I need to write. If I get a book written and it is never published, will my life be ruined? No, it won’t. I have plenty of books written and appreciated by others. My skills with words are of a high standard.
Commitment, yes, that, or more truly, the lack thereof, that is the reason for my lack of steady progress with this first book, which could it is hoped, lead onto the next book, and the next, and so on. So how to make myself meet this commitment?

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I’ve just been outside to do one of my tasks for the day, a small thing, easily done. Being outside though, looking at the various plants we have out there, seeing Nature at work, well what could be a better inspiration than Nature, for finding Stoic ways of doing the best thing.

A mandarin tree will only produce mandarins if it has enough water, and shelter. Without those things, fruits if they come, will be burned by the hot sun, and not grow. And even with the best care, that tree can only produce mandarin fruit, nothing else. But the tree doesn’t think about these things, it just does what Nature intends it to do, following the rules laid down in the seed that grew to become the tree.

My dog, She may like to be patted, as a cat may also, but she is definitely a dog, and is content to be that thing she is, as the mandarin tree also seems content to be that tree. So who am I? I am a woman, with some talent in writing, who wants to do her best for self, family, community, and the world. I indeed to that the best I can for all. I am content with that. I may aspire for other things, but my most important thing is to do my best at doing the best I can in life.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

This further thinking is leading me to consider who wants me to write in that genre, and my answer is multi-pronged. I do, some of my friends do, others in the world, if they know of my want, may also. But the world doesn’t need it, nor do those others. Is it only a small part of me that wants this book, these books? Or is it a different thing?

I feel I will have greater self-respect, if I were able to do this thing. But am I lacking in self-respect in other matters? No, I am not. I am good at many of the things I do. I am a worthy person. Do I need to write anything at all to continue being a worthy person? Yes, I feel if I were to cease doing one part of my writing life, it will be a sad, even a bad thing. But there is no way I would stop doing that particular writing.

What I write of, is a community newsletter that people enjoy, and even rely on, to some extent. It is a regular thing, it has commitments it holds to, and if I were to suddenly stop producing it, I would be letting down many, including myself, but especially my community. That writing is far more important than my writing of particular kinds of books.

Because that community newsletter has a form, and a time for production, I easily follow along as I have for many years, and get it done. Book writing though is something different. But the principles of getting something done are simple (I’ve just done some googling and found my answer, here https://www.howtobeast.com/stoic-principles!)

This is my answer – decide what I want to do, and just do it! Bang, just like that. I want to be a writer of Cosy Murder Mysteries? Fine. Write them.

So my problem may have been too much thinking, and simply not enough doing. Goodbye, I have a cosy murder mystery book to write!

Stoicism Helps In Covid Times

As a writer, one with eight published books, being able to get out and about, talking to people about and showing/reading from my books is a major source of income. Some artistic/creative people are reclusive, and tend toward the hermit life, rather than the party goer life.

But I’m a mix of the two, I cope well with being home alone, doing my writing thing, but I also love connections with people, online, and definitely in real life too. Whether speaking one on one, or to a crowd, I love it!

But in this current time, November 2020, getting out and about can lead to contracting Covid a case, so staying home is the safest way to be. Or if not at home, then ‘socially distanced’ is the way to go for us all. So that’s more or less what I’ve been doing. Staying at home, and writing a novel. Because that is the best way to be at this particular moment in time.

Certainly, I now some people are finding it difficult to be at home, alone, locked into loneliness, by the horrid Covid virus. I am sorry for those people, and am grateful my Stoic way of looking at life, accepting what is, and working to find ways to make it work in the best way possible.

If the best thing to do is to stay at home, then I will stay at home. Railing against this is a useless waste of time and energy, and upsetting. Being at home, with plenty of free time, is perfect, more time to write! And if there are ways to consolidate my writing life online, again, now is the perfect time for that too. It is a good thing for me to do.

Also, using my skills to give to others in supportive ways, that is for the good too, a good greater than just for me. So I am sharing my writing, with both blog posts, and forwarding snippets of the novel I’m writing to a friend, and she is enjoying reading them, so that’s definitely a good thing for her, and for me too.

And even though I’m mostly staying home, the online world makes it possible, even easy to do the community thing I need to do, for my community. My most important community role is as the Editor of a monthly newsletter, that is available both online, and in hard copy, in the town of Mallala and beyond.

Stuck at home, laptop and slippers …

I have been involved in doing this for around fifteen years, and I know, because I’ve been told, that this newsletter is a welcome piece of informative pleasure, every month. So even though, as I’ve said, I’m staying at home lot, I’m still able to work on the newsletter that connects me tightly with my Mallala community.

This newsletter also has stronger connections – several of the members of my writing group regularly provide pieces to go in this newsletter. This is good for me, in that it’s less work for me to do, it’s good for them, because it’s good for writers to have their work accepted, and published, and it’s good for the community, because of the interesting range of material available in this newsletter, from these writers.

So even in these Covid times, I am able to accept all of the good points it brings, while working to minimise the bad. Even with Covid, these can still be good times, for those who accept the necessary limitations, and deal with them in the best ways possible. The Stoic attitude life makes this so much easier. Accepting what is, instead of worrying about what isn’t …

Being a Stoic is Good For Me

Yes, I definitely believe that living the Stoic life, or at least trying to do so, is good for me. I have a Chronic Illness, that may interfere at least a bit, with my cognitive processes. Today is another example to show this, read on to find out more about it:

Today I was to present a piece for a poetry writing workshop. I was organised for it, had my handout written and copies made to give to the workshop attendees. I was happy with what I’d written and felt those attending would gain something to put to there personal poetic practise.

All well and good, I had my copies and my other bits an pieces for the event, and was there in good time. Then, when we were sitting around, and I’d spoken about half of what I was to do, we turned over the page, to see the second part of my piece, to discover exactly the same thing on the back, as was on the front … I’d printed out page one on both sides of the paper, instead of printing page two on the other side of page one …

Did I weep and wail, and burst into tears? No, I merely laughed a little at myself, and spoke about what was supposed to be on the other side of the page. And because I didn’t make a big thing about it, we all just accepted what was, and move along with it as best we could, no problems …

Before I’d begun my Stoic journey, I’m not sure I would have been as calm and collected as I was today. I don’t know that for sure, of course, but I certainly feel as though my life is becoming one of acceptance and understanding, good things done, bad things understood too, and also accepted as mistakes to be dealt with in the best way possible.

There are no disasters that ruin my life, merely experiences that enrich my understanding of life, my own, and the lives of others. And regarding the lives of others, I am realising where my life ends, and the next person’s life begins, and I’m not trying to live the lives of others, because that is not my business, it is theirs.

The flowers grow best when they grow in their best place, with the best care. As I don’t expect fuchsias to flowers in winter, so I realise I will sometimes get things wrong, and the best thing to do is to simply do the best I can, and accept sometimes I might make mistakes, or forget things. Not a terrible thing, just a fact of life, my life.

Accepting my limitations, but challenging them sometimes, and working at extending my limits and so exceeding those limits, that is how I grow in what I am able to do, and do better at things. I am one person, living my life in my best way possible, making mistakes sometimes, but doing an excellent job at other times sometimes too.

Inspiration is there for us all to aim for, and to attain, and so become an inspiration for others. Life is there for us, and whilst there is no rule book, there are opportunities we can all aim at, reach exceed, live, learn, attain, and then aim higher, reach further, become more.

Yes, being a Stoic is definitely very good for me!