The Present Moment

We are all forced to live in the present moment. Though for most it seems an irregularity and to some a conscious choice. It doesn’t matter what happened 17 years ago, 17 months ago, or even 17 seconds ago. We all live in the present moment. Does that mean that the past doesn’t matter? Of course not. The past happened, even though at the time it was the present moment. I try not to regret any of the countless moments from my past. Consciously I know it’ll do me no good. So for now I continue to live in the present moment and cherish the memories of past moments and thank all those who took part in them.

Why So Hungry?

Why so hungry?

If food is a means to power the body, then why should it be craved in excess? You get energy from food, but the energy is of different quality depending on the source. Others would argue that a calorie is a calorie, but that seems to demean the whole argument. There’s more to food and nutrition than the calorie.

Food should be enjoyed, but not so much that enjoyment is all there is. You enjoy your morning butter coffee and after the cup is gone, shall you drink another? The enjoyment is there, though your bowels will remind you later why it is such a bad idea. How about a glass of whiskey in the evening? You enjoy your whiskey on the rocks and the mild buzziness that follows. Shall you drink another? Again, the enjoyment is there, though your head (and likely your bowels) will remind you later why it is such a bad idea.

So why are you so hungry? The simple answer is, you’re not. There are deeper issues at play than being hungry. How many times have you reached for a morsel, a coffee, a donut, even fruit, and berries, when you’re not feeling the pangs of hunger? Too many times to count, too many times to remember. You’re not hungry, and you know you’re not. Again I ask: Why so hungry?

Hard Work & Distraction

Nothing relieves you from the burdens of hard work. There should be nothing but hard work. Think back to a time when work was light, or when you held down a part-time job when you were younger. The work was easy, and the boredom was heavy. I like to call these types of days “Workday-Lite”, all the pay with a fraction of the work. During these times you would sit idle and chat, or perhaps log into the latest social feed. Perhaps you would play a game on your phone or online. Distraction has become the cure for workday-lite.

The problem with this workday-lite mentality is that there is never really a light workday. Just because the main objective of your work is lacking, whether there is a lack of projects or even a scarcity of customers, doesn’t mean it’s a day to slack off and take it easy. There are always things to do, machines to fix or clean, systems to optimize, procedures to run through. A light day is a perfect time to improve.

Even the lightest workday should leave you feeling like you’ve won a great battle.

Stop, for They are Watching

Perhaps one of the most biting reminders I’ve set for my day is the reminder that They are watching. Who are They? The cloud of agents that surround my being and watch my every action. They consist of: My ancient Stoic mentors, modern day Stoics, and even members of my family held in high regard. Do I do myself justice through my actions? In any given action what would They say?

Why Stoicism

There was a recent episode in my life where I lost my emotional balance. Up to that point I had always tried to keep myself level. I would allow jabs at my character and my abilities to slide off or to deflect so that I wouldn’t have to deal with the emotional impact. That day I wasn’t successful.

From the emotional outburst, I took away one key reminder. I had allowed my practice of Stoicism to slip into the deepest recesses of my mind where it could no longer provide me with any balance. I had once again slipped into the sea of emotion that has caused me endless trouble in the past. I only wore the mask of the Stoic while ignoring the rising turmoil beneath.

I am not new to Stoicism. Having studied a number of entrepreneurs who espoused the benefits of Stoic practices I was naturally drawn to the philosophy. I must say, though, that my practice was and is somewhat fractured and runs in spurts. I’ve grabbed as many stoic manuals as I could find and didn’t really give much thought to the different angles of thought each author gives to the subject. At the end of each bout, I’d come away feeling superior to all others due to my Stoic practice, not realizing that I’d completely missed the point of all the information. From Epictetus and his manual and discourses to Marcus Aurelius and the Meditations, it was all up in my head floating around and being steadily forgotten. I’d practice mindfulness for a while until the flow of my day kept my mind busy on tasks. Thus each stint of Stoic research would ultimately end in a return to baseline behavior.

With that pathetic review of my past experiences with Stoicism out of the way I return to the title of this post. Why Stoicism? Despite my start and stop practice and my seeming inability to grasp the core ideas of Stoicism, it gives me peace. For the short time that I am able to live by the principles and attempt to better myself, I am at peace. It is harder to prod me into an emotional outburst, and I feel better able to handle the day-to-day flow of my life. The practice of mindfulness helps me see where I am being unreasonable and where I can improve. For a short time, I feel as though I am improving.