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What would Marcus have done

I am not a learned person, in terms of further education. I have a Certificate Four in Community Service work, and I have my lived experience that has brought me the knowledge I currently have.

Since I began looking into living the Stoic Life, I often think to myself, ‘how would Marcus have handled this?’. The Marcus I refer to is, of course, Marcus Aurelius, Roman Emperor, two thousand years ago. Marcus was a learned chap, who thought deeply on the ideals of Stoicism.

I, though nowhere near as learned, also think on the ideals of Stoicism. Not as deeply as Marcus did, I am sure, but I certainly think on what the best response is, to a variety of things that happen in life. Life gives you many opportunities to further your understanding of what Stoicism is, and can be.

Something happened on Facebook recently, where someone wrote something, and I, rather than immediately rushing in with a possibly ill considered opinion, stepped back to consider the thing more deeply. Did it seem important? Yes, OK, was it something I could do something about? Something useful, that is, that could improve things, at all?

The answer to that question definitely seemed to be no, it was beyond my capabilities to do anything to change the end result, and thinking further, I wondered whether any one of us could actually do anything useful. The answer to that, again was no, unless you think having a good whinge useful, which I don’t. Others may think differently. I am not those others.

And now, a few days later, I can’t remember what that thing even was, the world hasn’t ended, and life goes on as before … So Stoicism has saved me from some useless whinging and whining, thus giving more time for more useful things. Life is like that, things boil up suddenly and seem to overflow. Stepping back, and doing nothing can help to turn down the temperature, and we can all calm down again …

Photo by Rafa Beladiez on

Stress is often a major cause of health problems, particularly the kind of stress caused by the things we can’t do anything about. I say, instead of getting hot under the collar, step back, and think. Your body, and your mind will thank you for it!

Accepting What Is

There are many options in life, a sometimes confusing number of things. Do you do this, or do you do that? How to decide from one thing to the next? Thinking about these things can sometimes feel like just too much to work through, and so you just don’t think, merely bumble and fumble from one thing to the next.

The trees reach up and out and down, to take what is given, by Nature …

There are many things, yes but you are the one in control of your own life, and if you want your best possible results, it is up to you to think on, and work toward your best possible options.

As the trees reach for what they need to live their best possible lives, so we must reach for what we need. Some of our needs are the same as the trees – water food, sunshine. And some of our needs are more complex. But as the trees don’t try to grow apples, if that is not in their nature, so we will do best to work toward what is on our nature, and not things that are alien, and not good for us.

This doesn’t mean we should go for an easy life, and not reach out for bigger and more than the basics, but we should consider what is there that will aid us to become the best we can be, given our circumstances.

When times are good, revel in what is available, that is useful to you, give back to others when and if you can, challenge yourself. And then if things change, and the bad times arrive, know you have met challenges, and can meet more, follow your best path to bring on the good times again, work to learn from what you have done to survive, and managed to get through the challenges faced, and met.

The tree sends its roots down, and out, to find water, in dry times, as we must all send our minds out into the world to find the help we need, and to realise sometimes we may go thirsty from time to time, but that if we have put aside, or pay for our water, we will manage, as long as we don’t waste our resources.

Drought, flood, in between times. Railing against what is there will never help us to deal with them. Setting our minds to managing what is there, and working with that in the best ways we can, that is how our lives can go the best way possible.

The seasons change, and we must change with them, expecting to be hot in summer, cold in winter, and manage ourselves, to thrive, and not swelter or freeze. Nature is there, doing its thing, as we too, must do our own thing, in accordance to what actually happens, not what we want to happen.