Quiz Question: What image does the sentence “I begin each day with a Stoic start” conjure for you? We’ll come back to this.
New Years and New Starts
Last week, I mentioned that I didn’t make new-year resolutions. Instead I made some 2023 soups and refreshed and filled my toolbox for the year.
Sometimes “refresh” means setting something aside. After two and a half years of reading Simple Abundance every morning, I’m shelving Sarah Ban Breathnach. It was time. Although her daily reader is chock full of thought gems, the binary nature of her register and the topics that don’t resonate (my friends will know it’s clothing and furniture) wearied me after thirty months. So, part of my new-year mission was to find a new daily reader.
Try Googling “daily reader” or “daily journal” or “365.” You’ll have to trudge through mud pits of irrelevance. But I finally found my gem: The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perseverance, and the Art of Living.
The Misunderstood Stoic
For years I’ve thought of myself and many of my family members as stoic. If the quiz question at the top conjured for you an image of a lone figure on a bleak hill, emotionless and jaws set against all the miseries of the world, that’s the accusatory image I held for my family. Stoic.
In the introduction to The Daily Stoic, the authors explain:
“Stoicism is either unknown or misunderstood. Indeed it would be hard to find a word dealt a greater injustice at the hands of the English language than ‘Stoic.’ […] Our goal with this book is to restore Stoicism to its rightful place as a tool in the pursuit of self-mastery, perseverance, and wisdom: something one uses to live a great life, rather than some esoteric field of academic inquiry.”
A Daily Stoic Start
This tool (Stoicism) is in my 2023 toolbox along with my new daily reader. I give every day a stoic start with these daily readings inspired by the Stoics, whom I now consider practical, happiness masters.
2022 was a bear and I came through the gates of 2023 still dragging some of last year’s chaos that I didn’t manage to shake off. And what do we do in the chaos? From today’s reading: “Epictetus is reminding you that serenity and stability are results of your choices and judgment, not your environment,” The Daily Stoic, page 19.
This is the lesson I needed today: sorting how to show up for the people without taking on their negative energies or diminishing my own energy.
I offer a mere drop of information about what it means to be stoic, but I’m still curious: how accurate was that image the quiz question conjured for you?
Also, if you’re wondering about all those triangles in the cover image, I invite you to follow this rabbit hole: the Stoic happiness triangle. You might find yourself in unexpected places. And you might also find some happiness tools.
©Pennie Nichols. All Rights Reserved. 2023
I get educational course catalogs from a company called The Great Courses, and one of their recent offerings has been on Stoicism and how misunderstood it is. So it was interesting that you are now blogging about that philosophy. Yes, I was one of those who always thought that the stoic was that person on the bleak hill, showing no emotions as life beat them up. I tried clicking your first link that lead to The Daily Stoic and it didn’t load, for whatever that’s worth. But I did look at the Happiness Triangle, which was a good start. Alana ramblinwitham
Thanks, Alana. and I’ll check that URL.
I admire the stoic, although sometimes too emotional to be one.
You’d be surprised. OK to have the emotions.
Fascinating! I’m going to examine this closer. I definitely like the idea of a ‘Stoic Start’ to my days!
My answer to your question? Stoic: Firm. Unmovable. Clear-eyed.
The clear-eyed part certainly tracks! 🙂