Posts

Currently Reading: "Walden And Civil Disobedience"

Image
I'm at the point in my life where I could be happy with a small armload of books. When I survey the blocks of paper occupying my shelves, I am grateful for the minds who share their thoughts in them, but it's a crowd of voices. I'd like to surround myself with a few great men who have great things to say--the kind of men who would pull a knife from their pocket, slice off a chunk of apple and ruminate with horse-sense on things that really matter.

I am spending some time with an old friend I've not visited in well over 30 years. I'm out on a pond outside Concord, Massachusetts. You might know the place, on the way to Boston. You might know my friend, the anarchist Henry David Thoreau.

Giving the Stoics a break, I'm reading Thoreau's "Walden And Civil Disobedience" with pencil in hand. No agenda. Just visiting. Just one book from the pile I'd rescue from a fire or wouldn't mind being stranded with. (I carry three in my backpack at all times…

You Don't Own That

"Anything that can be prevented, taken away or coerced is not a person's own. But those things that can't be blocked are their own." (Epictetus, Discourses, 3.2.4)

Think for a moment about the the things you work so hard for. Think also about someone you may know who works so much harder for something you would consider less, beyond daily living. How many scrape and claw and fight and sweat and grieve over one model of car or piece of electronics? There are some amazing refrigerators out there, some with computers built right into the door. Truth is, like any other refrigerator, it's going to break down. Something is bound to stop working. The only difference between that one and mine is that mine is going to be less expensive to repair.

But what is really yours? What do you really own? As it stands, you may have forgotten how some bank somewhere might actually own all your stuff. It's not yours. Yet. The car I've been driving for years will finally be my…

Fully Alive

“People say that what we’re all seeking is a meaning for life. I don’t think that’s what we’re really seeking. I think that what we’re seeking is an experience of being alive, so that our life experiences on the purely physical plane will have resonances with our own innermost being and reality, so that we actually feel the rapture of being alive.” ―Joseph Campbell (1904–1987), Professor of Literature

Memento Mori

Last month I was challenged to run 100 miles with a friend, but by month's end we came up 4 miles short due to sickness. That sort of pictures most things I try--great starts and lousy finishes. At first I am disappointed when I come up short or fail but then I remember that sometimes I'm not supposed to finish. Failure becomes training ground. Like all those journeys and expeditions you read of where great explorers packed up their gear and left for months or years--some to die, some to fail, few to finish. That's the way it goes.

At least we tried. Had we not tried, we would never know what we could or could not do. There's always another chance to try again, as long as we live. That's how great things get done. By trying. But I am getting ahead of myself . . .

As December begins, one wonders how to begin a new month while also thinking about closing out another year.

This last year I've been reading The Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday. Each month has a theme. W…

Timely

Image
"The Daily Stoic" by Ryan Holiday

Interlude 2

Image
Thank you for holding.

Interlude

Image
Please enjoy this interlude while I take a few days to get caught up on projects and prepare for the on-coming holiday season.