Well, it’s official. Donald Trump is now the President of the United States. By the look of things his administration will probably be as bad as everyone fears. Hell, he and this new Congress may end up completely erasing the progress that we have made over the past decade. He may even get us into a new war or wars. Are worst nightmares may come true because of this one guy with a bad spray tan. So, what are we going to do? We are going to take it like a Stoic.
Question one: Can I as an individual replace Donald Trump as the President with someone much more qualified, like Bernie Sanders for example?
Answer: No, that is outside of my control.
Question two: Can I prevent any fucked up actions that Donald Trump or Congress take in the years to come?
Answer: No, that is outside of my control.
So, what can I control?
Myself. I have complete control over my thoughts and actions and how I respond to the actions of others. And, I can influence people who give me this power in their lives.
I am not going to lose one minute of sleep worrying about Donald Trump. Why would I inflict this extra harm on myself? No, I am going to keep doing what I do. I am going to be the change that I want to see in the world. I may not be able to change the whole world single handedly, but I can change myself and the small portion of the world that I inhabit. If enough of us commit to doing this, we will see a better world.
One more day, my friends. One more day until the weekend! Work has been beastly. I had an eleven hour day today. It was tiring. Tomorrow promises to be just has rough, and that’s ok. I do not look at my situation as something that is being inflicted on me, but instead something that I have chosen. The busy days are part of this choice, so I accept them as willingly and cheerfully as the light days. Why would I add any discomfort to myself by allowing my mind to think that I have it “so bad.” Besides, I really don’t.
I started reading my new book, ‘Thoughts of a Philosophical Fighter Pilot,’ by James Stockdale. The late Admiral was a prisoner of war in Vietnam for seven years. The book chronicles his use of Stoic philosophy to endure the captivity and torture. Sounds like a real pager-turner.
I have fully reengaged with the cold-shock training. Last night I did about five minutes in the cold-shower, and walked the dogs in shorts and a t-shirt. The brisk winter air felt great. I have noticed that when I do the cold-shock training I have the best sleep. That alone is worth the price of admission.
That’s all for tonight. 04:30 comes early.
I’m on a slightly different schedule tonight. I had a four-hour training at work tonight, so I went in at 10:00 am and just got off a little while ago at 8:00 pm. It was nice getting to be with Denice this morning. We ran a couple of errands before I left for work.
The training was actually pretty good. It was a lot like Stoicism, which is one of the foundations of my personal operating system (yes I have one). The concept is very simple. Life is full of events that happen to us. Many of these we have no control over. We only have control over how we respond to them. Stoicism goes even deeper with the idea that not only do we have control over our responses, but we also have control (total control) over how we think and feel about the events that happen to us. Anyway, the training was good. Dinner was catered, and it was also good.
I’m at home now. Denice and I are watching the Saturday Night Live Christmas special. We’re having a nice, relaxing night. I should be in bed though. Soon.
Oh, I recently found this new Youtube channel. It’s by a guy called CGP Grey. It is loaded with fast-paced, animated videos that explain everything from traffic congestion to physics. I’ve already watched a dozen or more of his videos, and I highly recommend them. Check him out: https://www.youtube.com/user/CGPGrey
Hi gals, guys, and entities of all vibrations. It’s Tuesday. I totally missed blogging yesterday. What can I say, it was a rough day. I’ve been hitting these phases in the evenings where I completely crash, and I mean completely. Last night after dinner I passed out on the couch and woke up with just enough time to do my breathing exercises, get a shower, and get in bed only an hour late.
Work has been busy, which is kind of the new norm. I am trying to employ my stoic training in this (and all things), because I know that my menial struggles are laughable in comparison with the true horrors that life can crush someone with. In all things I strive to be grateful for the experiences, and attempt to learn from them.
Speaking of the horrors of life, there are now fourteen confirmed dead in the Gatlinburg wild-fire. I’m sure some of those people had no idea that the fire was coming until it was too late. The winds drove the fire much faster and farther than the authorities anticipated. One minute you are living your life, secure in the supposed knowledge that you are safe, and the next moment you are experiencing a horrific death in the flames.
It may seem at times that you are further from death than other people. We look upon the old or the sick and feel sorry for them, but we are all just a breath away from facing the Grim Reaper. We are just one road-raging asshole or one tire blowout on any given day away from our end.
Life is short and hard, and the potential for suffering is so great. In that knowledge we should all desire to make life better for each other. Enjoy every minute of it, and never be afraid of its end. That will happen whether we fear it or not, so don’t.
Today was a mostly uneventful day. Work was work. I love my coworkers, but I often find some of their personalities off putting. For the most part they are all great people. I guess having negative focused people is just a universal fact of life. I understand that things do indeed suck sometimes, but there is still so, so much to be grateful for. Marcus Aurelius said it well…
“Begin each day by telling yourself: Today I shall be meeting with interference, ingratitude, insolence, disloyalty, ill-will, and selfishness – all of them due to the offenders’ ignorance of what is good or evil.”
I have no control over how other people behave. Sure, I try to positively influence them, but ultimately they will do whatever they choose. Where I do have total control however, is how I react to them. I try very hard to not take anything personally. I know that people usually do what they do out of ignorance or weakness. We’re all human, so I cut them slack as much as I can.
Did I mention that today was a great day, and my life is full of good people and things? Well, it is, and if you look hard enough you will probably find that yours is too.
Denice and I watched a video of a post-mortem dissection of an obese woman, that we found on Youtube. The point of the video was to illustrate the devastation that obesity levels on a human body. It was very disturbing. It really hit home because we are both obese at the moment, and who knows the horrors that we are harboring inside.
The essence of Stoicism is exercising the control that you have and not worrying about anything that falls outside of that sphere of control. If there was anything that ever fell within my sphere of control it would be how I care for my body. I am done pretending to be a victim. It is not my parents fault for feeding my McDonald’s as a kid (although that didn’t help). I have the knowledge, enough of it anyway, and the ability to change my health.
Tomorrow, I am planning to skip a day of eating. I had a pretty big meal today, so I think I’m ready to try it. I will skip tomorrows meal, and not eat again until Tuesday evening. It’s not really a big deal, I just haven’t done it in a while. I plan to get a couple of body-weight workouts in during that time. I’ll report back how it goes.
I was reading some Marcus Aurelius yesterday. Marcus was one of the great Stoic philosophers. I’ve had a book that is a collection of Stoic philosophy for a while, but I’m just now really digging into it. Anyway, I ran across one of his sayings that the jist of was: No matter what happens to you see it as a good thing or something that good can come from. Whatever happens in this life if neither good nor bad it is indifferent, so use your mind to make it good.
Denice and I have been going though a turbulent time recently. Life has thew us a curve ball with the complications from her back surgery. Her rehab is going to take a long time. Being down to one income has been a challenge, and the challenge is going to get worse.
I’ve been trying to apply this Stoic philosophy to our situation and I think I see the good in all this. Our biggest problem in life is that it has stagnated into a comfortable routine. We get up, go to work, come home, eat, sleep, and repeat. The recent events that we have seen as bad and unwanted can actually be something of great value. They can force the change on us that we were unwilling to make ourselves. This is probably the best opportunity to begin to whole heatedly pursue our dreams that we have ever had.