If I don’t focus, life can be a real pain in the ovaries.
Recently, I have started reading about Stoicism. I’m finding meditation is a little too cozy-blanket unless I’m going to be a monk, which is still an option on my table, but in the meantime, I need to strike a balance between the importance of breath and pushing through this shit.
You see, I’m venturing into The Hormone Years, as I’ve taken to calling them. Completely unmedicated and ready to party, that’s me. Apart from physically feeling a little sluggish every now and then, I have bouts of crazy mixed with often inappropriate tears.
Being all hot and borderline insane is challenging. At least that’s my truth until I focus. I take in Texas, Florida, Mexico and the memory of frantically turning on the news sixteen years ago today as thousands of Americans crumbled to their knees.
Suddenly, mood swings and extra perspiration are nothing. Bring in a little Marcus Aurelius, who was the shit by the way, to whisper in my ear, “confine yourself to the present,” and I’m practically a gladiator.
Stoicism was trending in the 3rd century. Yeah, it was a while ago, but some of the principles are a shining light forward for me.
One of the things it says is that life is full of obstacles. That there will never be a time when there are not things in our path, so we need to train and gear up. There is comfort in that philosophy. Sort of makes life a marathon or a long bike ride. It brings to mind that deep sweat and ache that only come from hard work.
It’s honest. Real in a way that tells me to do something and not to just have a positive attitude. The unicorns are not on their way to sprinkle easy-glitter all over life.
Stoics go on to say that after each obstacle we get stronger and are able to handle more. Kind of like starting out on a hill and advancing to a mountain range. Yes, I like this.
If we train and navigate hurdles from birth, that means we are impressive by the time we are midway. When we reach older, we are the opposite of weaker. We are veterans of battle. Skilled in maneuvering whatever the unpredictable world decides to stir up.
It’s a very “bring it on” philosophy.
Some have been put in an accelerated training program called tragedy. Others wade through more than they ever imagined possible, and still manage to hold hands and keep working.
For thousands of years, we push on, and when the waters rise, we lift our chins. We are not promised easy, according to The Stoics. It is our job to get better and be ready. We are warriors.
With this in mind, I’m finding it difficult to fret about mood swings or kale. That stuff seems like child’s play for a battle-trained woman such as myself. I don’t have time for what amounts to a handful of inconveniences.
There is more up ahead, it’s part of living. And despite the pain, through the tears, we get stronger every time we stumble and even when we fall.
My thoughts from the laundry room. Firm Mattress.