Stoic Week 2016

Stoic Week starts today (Oct 17th). I do my best to live by Stoic principles, and I find this yearly week long event to be a great “tune up” to asses how I’m doing and reinforce my practice. Modern Stoicism has  similarities to Buddhist mindfulness practices and is rooted in CBT. I’ve found it immensely helpful in living a happier, more productive life. This year, my 19 year old daughter is doing the program with me and I am very excited to see what she makes of it. Stoic philosophy isn’t for everyone and it might or might not be for her, but whichever way she feels about it, she will definitely have insights to share.

We chose as our meditation for the day: Indifference to indifferent things. It’s shorthand for not getting stressed out about things that don’t really matter and aren’t in our direct control anyhow.


Official Press Release: Stoic Week 2016

I’ve participated in this in previous years and have been very pleased with my results.

Stoicism and the Art of Happiness

cropped-socrates-v1.pngNow in its fifth consecutive year, International Stoic Week is an annual week-long series of free, online events aimed at encouraging public engagement with classical Stoic philosophy and guiding participants in the practice of applying Stoic ideas and practices to the challenges of modern living.

This year, International Stoic Week is scheduled for October 17th-23rd, 2016, following the annual Stoicon Conference in New York City on October 15th. The theme will be Stoicism and Love. The organizing group, Stoicism Today, reports that participation in Stoic Week grew by 66% from 2014 to 2015. Record numbers are expected again this year, surpassing the 3,200 participants worldwide last year.

During Stoic Week, participants will have the opportunity to “live like a Stoic” by following the Stoic Week Handbook, which contains readings, audio, video, and optional group discussions – along with daily practical exercises that combine elements of…

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Flower Friday


We have two red Hibiscus, a yellow that rarely blooms, and this spectacular peach which struggles a little but does usually manage to put out a few nice flowers per year. Yesterday morning we were not alone in enjoying this beautiful peach flower. A red-tailed comet hummingbird came to feast. One lovely thing draws another.

Happy Friday, everyone!

Apocalypse Not

I am weary of apocalypses. Spare me
the slavering zombies
the killer asteroids
the global warming,
Send forth no devouring monsters from the deep.


Give to me instead a ray of hope
to use as a torch
to build a lighthouse
to light the dark tunnel
Open the way to luminous tomorrows.

Let’s become mad heroes like
Aslan or Bolivar
Quixote or Mandela
Hildegaard or Meg Murry
Able to scry a future of fantastical optimism.

(photo Štefan Štefančík, Unsplash)


Jane Doughtery Poetry Challenge #41


We ran out into the Rain,
who’s to blame?
Dog. It’s the same, tired refrain

We argue until all’s red
nothing solved
Many pointless tears will be shed.

The pattern is relentless
the dog runs
Chasing after him is senseless

At the river he will stop
Dog’s had fun.
We get pulled over. Oh hi, Cop!

And yet we have no regrets
We love him.
We’re wet. Dog’s safe. Damned beloved pet.

Somebody’s Wrong on the Internet!

Someone I am acquainted with opined on Facebook recently that because you can manipulate data to seemingly “prove” different and even often opposing results that there is no such thing as “truth”. One person’s reality is just another person’s re-imagined data set. I’m not certain if this misunderstanding is a direct result of the Age pf Big Data, or if it’s simply a byproduct of a young mind maturing and realizing that “objective truth” is a much more elusive concept that one might wish it to be.

Here’s the thing, dear readers. Let’s go at this gently as so not to frighten to death our secret lizard brains or monkey minds or inner caveman, whatever you call your primitive hind-brain that keeps you breathing and wants up to be up and down to be firmly down– no messing around with metaphysical anomalies allowed.

The way we experience reality is indeed entirely subjective, cultural, and rooted very deeply in the way we name things. Take for example, Pluto. Is Pluto a planet or a dwarf planet? A minor planet? A Kuiper belt object? A TNO? We can quibble endlessly about definitions, pop science’s influence on public opinion about Pluto, and even the need to call that hunk of rock out there anything at all. It doesn’t change the nature of the thing, only our perceptions, and maybe our understanding of the thing.


Color photo of Pluto from Applied Physics Laboratory

If someone became convinced that Pluto is really an alien spaceship that was going to come to earth soon and take the souls of the worthy away to a better place, however, we’ve turned down a path of subjectivity which is not only poorly supported by the available data set, but is dangerous to the believers and those around them. Think of those people who committed suicide because of similar beliefs surrounding the comet Hale-Bopp.

So all subjective opinions about reality are not created equal. We owe it to ourselves and others to evaluate the various subjective realities that are postulated to us carefully. Like followers of Asclepius, we must pledge first to do no harm, for we are the physicians of our own realities.  And secondly, we always need to keep in mind that an actual, true reality is out there even if we perceive it, to steal from Saint Paul, “through a glass darkly”.

Keep polishing that glass, dear ones. Keep polishing.