After sitting with this, I’m still left hoping that Seneca wasn’t saying that all grief is pointless, and that all joy is foolish, and that all desire is greedy… but I’m unsure he wasn’t. Ancient Stoics were VERY much about finding equanimity between extremes, and perhaps to someone seeking a neutral, unattached, disciplined mind, things like grief, joy, desire, and amusements highlight one’s ego and add to meaningless story.
Holiday offers using “No” to refrain from committing to time-consuming, amok-running emotions and impulses. By saying “no” to things that don’t matter, one can commit to the things that matter to them, thus living life with fullness and richness.
From where I’m sitting, I’m seeing this as a moment of self-care: that pause we take when we need to recalibrate, catch our breath, and recenter ourselves before moving forward with our lives…
… and that leaves me wondering if “self” care is doing nothing but nursing one’s ego back to health.
Over the years, I’ve done a lot of reading, practicing, and recommending of “self-care” to folx, and I’ve noticed that a lot (not ALL) of the time, these self-care practices turn into vegetative, switching-off, mindless moments of hobbyism and meaninglessness. Does self-care always have to equal pillow forts and comfort food and movies we’ve seen 1000 times?
No… and it can’t.
Well, it can… but then we end up stroking our egos, which while feeling nice, does nothing to strengthen our resolve, heighten our discipline, or shore up our weak-spots.
Self-care can look like physical labor, mental struggle, emotional wrestling, and spiritual drought.
By approaching “suffering” like medicine, with hopeful enthusiasm, even our worst times can become opportunities for growth and change…
… and times that matter.
(See y’all tomorrow)