Finding My Way in Stoicism

I’m quite new to this Stoic way of living, and I’m sure that I’m not getting all of the things I could/should be doing right, not yet, perhaps never will. But I am thinking more, and more deeply about life, the things I can do to make the world a better place, as well as the things I can do to live a good and fulfilling life, on a more personal level.

I had an accident recently, one that ended up with me having a broken ankle, and an operation to fix the ankle. This meant even more time available to me to think, but I have to admit it was my broken ankle, rather than stoicism that took up most of my thinking. But I didn’t complain about anything that happened, the fixing and then healing processes were handled well, and I am grateful for all of the wonderful help I received.

And, because I’m a writer and poet, this could have been a great time to get stuck into work on my next fiction writing project, which is writing Cozy Murder Mystery novels. I did have¬† thought about this project, that a hospital would be a fine place to have in one of these books, but I didn’t get much further than that, on that project.

Instead I began a completely new project, and I wrote poems about my broken ankle. And I’d like to think that because I am a thinking kind of person, these poems weren’t woe is me kinds of poems, but more contemplative poems. Certainly gratitude is there amongst the poems, because there was so much to be grateful for.

I contacted a publisher I know, and mentioned this ankle related poetry collection, and they were most happy to read what I had written, on the subject of “Angles on Ankles”, which is what I named this small poetry collection. Once I’d sent them the poems, and a few photographs to consider for the front cover, as well as something for the back blurb, the putting together and printing of this collection went ahead rapidly, and now, less than three months after breaking my ankle, my book is available to sell or give to other people!

The collection is of a kind named a chapbook, which is a book of only 14-40 pages, usually, but not always of poetry, and originally sold on the streets for a small price. My chapbook is being given away, or sole for $5 to interested people. I’m happy to share my words, and as soon as I’ve made the amount I paid for buying copies to sell, I may well give the rest away to people who’d like to read it.

This seems a Stoic thing, not to accumulate lots of money, but only enough …

I welcome thoughts about what I have written here – all comments can lead to great discussions, and further knowledge, a truly good thing, for sure!

My Current Scaled Back Life

At the moment, this is my life, to a large extent:

So, a television, and a device called a Knee Walker.

I also have the sofa I’m sitting on, and a shower chair that I’m resting my right foot on. Outside is my dog who is waiting for me to let her back inside. I’ll do that soon, but I need to rest a little bit longer first.

My life is currently all about keeping my right foot raised, resting, and finding an interesting thing to do that I can do whilst sitting on the mentioned sofa. There is a reason for this, I’ll tell you about it.

Very recently, I was out in the backyard, where my dog currently is. I’d dog out there to close a gate, to keep the dog in the smaller backyard area, rather than a greater range. We usually do this in the later afternoon, so Missy, the dog, keeps a bit quieter when we’re not out there to tell her to shut up.

Anyway, this particular day was AFL Grand Final Day, which in Australia is a huge day, the biggest football game of the year is on almost every turned on TV, and millions are watching the game. My husband, Graham, was one of those millions watching the game. I was going to go in and join rejoin him, and watch the game too.

So I shut the gate, then turned to come inside. Missy was out there with me, and I looked toward her, while stepping over the hose that was just in front of me. I obviously stepped badly, because when I put my right foot down, my ankle twisted, I felt an agonising shooting pain and I fell to the ground.

With the ankle still hurting, I tried and failed to get up, then I shuffled on my but as best I could, with only my hands and my left usable. I called Missy to me, but she was scared so it took a few minutes to convince her it would be OK to approach me.

I don’t know why I called Missy really, she’s no RIn Tin Tin, or Lassie. Maybe I just wanted a friend with me in my troubled time … Anyway, I got close to our Hills Hoist thinking I may be able to stand up, using it. I couldn’t.

So I started yelling for Graham, but it took a while to get his attention, because the noise of the crowd at the Football ground was so loud. He eventually heard me though. He came out, saw I was in trouble and managed to get me a chair to sit on.

He called an ambulance. We waited, I’m not sure for how long, but soon enough there were two ambos in the backyard with us. I guess Graham had put Missy inside, I don’t remember that. So the ambos I think gave me something for my pain, then before I knew it, I was having my first ambulance ride ever.

They took me to the nearest hospital, the Gawler Hospital. Things were done, it was getting late, fully dark by then, and they’d done all they were going to do for me there. Graham had driven to the ambulance to be with me, but it was time for him to go home again.

Another ambulance was called for, to take me to another, bigger hospital, the Lyell Mac, in Elizabeth. Eventually, just after midnight, I arrived at the next hospital. I was put into a ward, and so began a few days in that hospital, tending to my ankle, which had been xrayed, found to be broken in two places, put in a ‘backslab’ and bandaged.

My ankle was very swollen and I basically had to just stay in the hospital bed, and wait. A surgeon saw me eventually and it I decided I’d prefer to go to the surgeon’s usual hospital and have surgery to fix my ankle.

So that meant yet another ambulance ride, this time to a much swisher hospital, the Ashford Hospital. I stayed there in relative luxury, become more accustomed to lying around doing nothing , having my ‘obs’ taken regularly, and learning to accept the ‘bed pan’ as a normal thing.

I had the surgery, coming to and then more bed rest, but only a day and a night of it. I know had not cast to keep my ankle in the correct position, instead, a plate and screws. I may heave these for the rest of my life, I’m not sure, but I’m OK with that idea. I was introduced to, and used the Knee Walker, which meant I could finally get up and go to the toilet in the normal way, hooray!

I wasn’t at the Ashford for long, in fact came home a day and a bit after the operation, so that the TV is now my main companion, when Graham isn’t here. I sit around, my laptop and phone close handy, foot up, and wondering what might come next … I can’t walk, not without that super dooper Knee Walker.

I’m remembering now that while I was waiting for the various things to happen, once my ankle was dealt with appropriately, and the pain managed, that my studies about stoicism were a great help in being able to easily just wait for the various thing that had to happen, to happen. I was in the hands of experts, and no carrying on, was going to make things happen any faster, I just had to wait.

Holding to that attitude made it easy to wait, there was nothing I could do, so I didn’t have to do anything, beyond eat, drink, have my obs done, hour after hour. I was pleasant enough to all who dealt with me, they were pleasant and even friendly to me, and overall, I had a strangely good time. Off my face on painkillers, perhaps, but what the heck, you do what you have to do.

So that’s it, Stoicism, painkillers, pleasant behaviour, no excesses if possible, and life moves along in fine ways, pain kept in control, no need for any histrionics, a calm, Stoic life of dealing with things that happen in the best way I can.

my ankle, crepe bandaged, mending …

Life goes on, slowly, stoically …

An Alphabet of Wisdom

This blog post is an Alphabet of Wisdom, based on some of my recent thoughts about my newly broken ankle. I have been doing a lot of sitting around and thinking lately. Getting up and about is quite difficult when unable to put any weight on one leg …

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Ankles are more necessary than you might realise, value your ankles, for they important for your ability to move around.

Bones & broken – a painful pair of words, as I have recently realised!

Challenges are character building, in good ways or bad, always do your best!

Denial of truth is huge problem in the world, and while falsity continues to be wholeheartedly embraced, problems increase …

Ego – not a dirty word, unless there is no understanding …

Family and friends – nurture them, and you will always have help if and when you might need it.

Gratitude – if you can find at least one thing to be grateful for every day, it will help you have a happier life.

Heart – when you think about things with your heart as well as your head, you can make more meaningful decisions.

Inspiration is a wonderful thing in life, look for inspiration, be an inspiration, an inspired life is always the best life to live!

Justice – think on what is fair, what is right, and what is deserved. Punishment with no plan for rehabilitation is never going to make things better.

Kudos – always give people credit for the good things they have done, give the same to yourself, as & when appropriate.

Love can be the answer to finding your true purpose in life, and living in ways to meet that purpose should be what you aim for, always.

Mindfulness, a word, a way of life, an answer, perhaps THE answer, to ‘what it’s all about’.

‘Never’ is a huge word, & one to be wary of, because it doesn’t leave room for changes to happen, which may become necessary when circumstances change.

Open mind – if you can keep your mind open to all that occurs, considering multiple aspects, you will be able to make better decisions on all things in life.

Purpose is what keeps you headed in the best direction throughout life. Thinking and then acting on thoughts about your purpose in life is the best way to go.

Quality will always beat quantity, a little of the very best, is far better than more than you need, of mediocre things.

Rational ideas, and actions are what separates humans from animals. We think on things and consider them rationally and so can make the best decisions.

Sense – making sense of things is what we should try to do, and if we fail to do this, we will pay the price for our lapse.

Truth is better than a pretty lie, and truth is how you can maintain the inner core of your best possible self. Never lie to yourself, always consider truth as your base level.

Understanding will take you to where you want and need to be. Think on things and work toward gaining as much knowledge as possible, so that all things can move in the best direction for yourself, family & friends, your community & the world.

Verification of the words of others is important, that truth is known and understood, is vitally important, always.

Wisdom is when all possible things are taken into account, before action is taken, and acting with wisdom should be the preferred option, always.

X – exceptional results, exciting times, exceed expectations and thrive!

You are the agent of all! If you don’t take action yourself, and merely react to things that occur, you are on the periphery, the edges of life.

Zeal and zest – these are great ways to live your biggest and best possible life. Enthusiastically embracing all that life presents to you is the best way