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!

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!

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!

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 Pexels.com

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!

A Political Poem – Stoic, Or Not?

I’ve been pondering and wondering about Stoicism and Politics, and how or if the two can do good things, if joined with a poem. I don’t know the answer to this, and certainly would like input from others, poets, Stoics, politically minded people …

This is the poem:

Politician’s Free Speech? A Sonnet

Their words inspire bad ways, not good,

I wish to clench my ears to keep them out –

they sicken me, why listen? I know I should

cleanse my skin of them, scream and shout!

Though my pores refuse to let them in,

still the hate invades my troubled self.

To listen, to hear their filth, is it sin? 

I’m complicit – ghoul, not goodly elf,

for though I rightly say I don’t agree, 

what I do is clearly not enough –

the price we pay for democracy,

to be invaded by this vile stuff …

Unworthy lies portrayed as honesty –

the price we pay for speech is far from free.

Cloudy thoughts …

So, does this poem speak of politics, and hint perhaps at Stoic thoughts? I think on such matters at times, and would appreciate discussing it further. If you have thoughts on this too, please leave a comment, and we can discuss it further.

Winter Thoughts

I am a fortunate person. I live in a house with strong walls and a roof. There is heating and cooling available if and when needed. No matter the weather outside, I know I can be comfortable inside my home.

At the moment, it is winter, and looks it. I am inside, sitting near a window, with a good view of my front yard. I’m seeing what the wind is doing, blowing various things out there, with lots of branches waving around, and with clouds that are coming between the sun and my eyes, with sunshine one moment bright and clear, the next moment dark and gloomy.

I am putting in time before I get moving, readying myself to go out, to visit an Art Gallery, where there will be artworks I have viewed previously, and written poetically about, and now, if things have gone as planned, be currently displayed with the artwork and relevant poems together.

This connection of artwork and poetic response is exciting to me, and I hope other viewers can get a deeper understanding of what both visual art, and poetry can be, in viewing this, at the gallery. Understanding more about life, digging deeper into what is, to find out about what else life may be, these things are important, if we are to become the humans we could and should be trying to become.

I think on such things, and sometimes a new thought may become a new poem, as has happened today, this gloomy wintry day, lit and made brighter by worthy words, as in this new poem of mine, written this morning, connecting together some of my thoughts. I hope you enjoy the poem and thoughts that may come from reading it.

Please feel free to leave a comment, if you wish!

Human, not Sparrow
Warm inside outside, sunless gloom, the wind
blowing – plants, petals, clouds and birds.
Sparrows like discarded leaves, scatter, settle –
in my mind – discarded thoughts too, scatter, settle.
Philosophy – being, discovering, acting consciously
instead of just reacting, life changing, inch by inch
thought by thought. Importance of small things,
leading to bigger ones, life is not a toy, it is a tool,
using this tool to make better things, my life
your life, their lives. All deserve chances, to learn,
do, understand, to live better lives, thinking lives,
to act with thought, rather than react without it –
And so becoming the best person we can be, that
is, or should be, the role for all, living a life of good
for all, not just oneself. Consider – sparrow cares not
for all sparrows, but we are human, not sparrow …

Thank you!

Are Stoics Happy?

Many people assume that Stoics are staid and cheerless people, never smiling or carousing, or ever having any kind of fun.

But that is misunderstanding what it really means, to be a Stoic. Stoicism is all about being satisfied with what one has, or in fact, being grateful for all we have. If we are alive and not in pain, we are so much better off than someone who is alive and in pain.

If we have shelter and food, we are better off than a homeless person with no access to anything to eat. If we have a job that we get paid for, even though we’d like a better, higher paid job, we are still better off than an unemployed person.

If you were to think on the good things in life you have, and imagine how you may be if you didn’t have all of those things, you will see that yes, you do indeed have a good life. And if there is someone who seems to be having a better life than you, what of it? There may be negative things happening for that other person of which you have no knowledge.

Blue skies, trees, a good road, life is good!

Life for me is good. I have a roof, a husband I love, who loves me. I have a fine son, and other family members I love, and who love me back. I have a dog who brings joy to my life. I have a garden with beautiful flowers, I have food growing in my garden too. And that blue sky in the photo is up there above me on most days. Beautiful!

I am a very fortunate person. I can honestly say that, and I believe. I can imagine many ways in which my life could have been worse, and indeed still could be worse. But there is no point in getting upset about those other ways, because the life I currently have is the only life I can have, the one I’m living right now.

My future life is truly unknowable. I could guess at how it may be, but I can’t live it, until it is here. The future is a myth, and while some things can be prepared for in the present, there is no point in getting so carried away doing that, you neglect to proper ‘be there’ in the now.

These thoughts are from my own personal understanding on what Stoicism is about, and if I don’t get it quite how another person sees Stoicism as being, so be it. We are all entitled to look on life how we consider it to be, and live accordingly.

Our guard flamingo watching over the garlic crop.

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/want-happiness-become-a-p_b_3759317

The link just above was the resource I used to write this particular, along with my own thoughts, based on my other studies, especially this book:

This is a great book, get a copy, if you can

So are Stoics happy? Well I consider myself to be a Stoic, and yes, I am happy, are you?

Virtuous and Stoic Thoughts

These are some of my thoughts about the four virtues of the Stoics. The first is wisdom, the second courage, the third temperance, and the fourth is justice. These virtues, as outlined over two thousand years ago, come together to show how to live the life in a Stoic manner, to live a life that is worth living, and lived in a worthy & virtuous manner.

The wisdom referred to is practical wisdom, that which leads us to living our life in (ethically) good ways. Courage refers to more than just physical bravery, but instead refers more to have the courage to act in the most virtuous way, no matter the circumstances. Temperance leads to the Stoic to live a life not focused on getting the best of everything, and indulging oneself, but instead to appreciate good, if it can come in ways which do not harm self, or others. The final virtue, is the one of justice, which refers to acting in just and fair ways.

These four virtues work together, to create the way to live the good life, as the good Stoic aims to live, so they are continuing to work toward living their best possible life, with ‘best’ referring to living a life that closely adheres to living in accordance with the highest levels of the four virtues they strive to hold to. In Stoicsm, we are to live as a virtuous human being, one who rational (lifted to a higher than the level of animals), in living within our society in ways that are virtuous.

A person should heed to the virtues of Stoicism, then, and ask, is this the best thing to do, the wisest, most courageous, most temperate, and most just, thing to do. A person cannot live another person’s life, and so can only show others the best way to live, by living in that way themselves.

And if you feel others are treating you poorly, remember, it is only your perception that they are treating you poorly. If they hurt your feelings, then you have let your feelings be hurt, and you cannot blame another person for your own feelings. If you can think more wisely, and respond with kindness, then you can more easily heal, and the other person may realise their folly. And if they don’t then that is not your fault, but their own, and they are the ones who will suffer from it.

And if the rude person benefits from their behaviour, while you suffer? They are only seeming to benefit, and in their wrongness, are not really benefiting, as they and others will realise, if and when they look at the situation. They are not living their own best life, as you are, with your own kindness given, in the face of rudeness. Your example may be the thing that can change others, as it further strengthens you.