“Some things are in our control and others not. Things in our control are opinion, pursuit, desire, aversion, and, in a word, whatever are our own actions. Things not in our control are body, property, reputation, command, and, in one word, whatever are not our actions. The things in our control are by nature free, unrestrained, unhindered; but those not in our control are weak, slavish, restrained, belonging to others. Remember, then, that if you suppose that things which are slavish by nature are also free, and that what belongs to others is your own, then you will be hindered. You will lament, you will be disturbed, and you will find fault both with gods and men. But if you suppose that only to be your own which is your own, and what belongs to others such as it really is, then no one will ever compel you or restrain you. Further, you will find fault with no one or accuse no one. You will do nothing against your will. No one will hurt you, you will have no enemies, and you not be harmed.” ― Epictetus, Enchiridion and Selections from the Discourses
I thought it would be worthwhile to look more closely at what things are, and are not, in my control.
Things in my control
Things not in my control
Things in our control are opinion, pursuit, desire, aversion, and, in a word, whatever are our own actions. Such as: My perspective and opinions How I treat other people How I respond to how other people treat me What hobbies and interests I choose to pursue How much exercise I do What I eat and drink How I wear my hair, makeup, and clothes How I spend and/or invest my savings and my time What I study, read, watch or listen to What I choose to do in my garden How generous or not I am with my possessions and time Who I choose to spend my time with What values I have
Things not in our control are body, property, reputation, command, and, in one word, whatever are not our actions. Such as: Getting older Other people and their opinions of me Whether other people agree with me or not Whether other people listen to me or not Whether other people understand me or not Actions by other people The weather My genetic code The stock markets Other peoples’ actions Death and illness Disasters such as pandemics, bush fires, floods etc. Wars The past and the future
For today I will write in response to the writing prompt “What is something that made you happy this week?”
I walk a dog named Roy every Thursday morning at 9am. Roy is a cross between a labrador and a golden retriever and he is ten years old. I got involved through a local not-for-profit group called POOPS (Pets Of Older Persons). It was set up to enable elderly people to keep their dogs with them even when they are no longer able to take them out for walks.
At first I could walk faster than Roy but now he is more energetic than me. He lives close to the beach so we head there when we leave home. Once at the beach I let him off the lead and he loves to run and have a dip in the water.
His nose is continually busy sniffing things that I can’t see – I do wonder what he is thinking when he is concentrating so intensely! He does have a strong idea of where he wants to go and lets me know by refusing to move or just sitting down. Sometimes I have to let him know who is boss!
What made me smile last week was when we returned from the walk and rather than run into his yard without looking back, he walked a little way and then turned and waited as if to say, “Aren’t you coming too?”
I was fortunate to be given a lovely bunch of carnations this week. I took a photo with my 10x magnification lens on my digital camera. I also took a photo of the flowers in vase with my iPhone and then played with it in LiteRoom software.
But it doesn’t have to be writing, it can be anything creative and it doesn’t have to be a big thing – the challenge is in making the effort each and everyday and recording it in your blog. I am going to give it a go (partly as a distraction to the festive season craziness). I have also been absent from my blog for many months so this is a good way to get back to writing. I hope you will join me.
Could you please include a link to my blog so as I can check out what you have done (www.allaboutwordswa.com)?
We recently enjoyed four nights staying at Jurien Bay (around 440km north of Busselton where we live) on the West coast of Australia. The weather was good as was the company. It took us about six hours with coffee breaks and going around Perth rather than through it!
Cervantes is close to Jurien and is well known for The Lobster Shack so a visit there was essential.
The view from the Shack was pretty good too!
Some other pics of our stay. These are from Green Head; a short drive north of Jurien.
I have wanted a new dining setting for a long time. We ordered one and were pleased it arrived after only one week when told it would be two. I enjoy the task of putting the pieces of the puzzle together; having tackled a few Ikea projects in the past. I really do enjoy the challenge of focusing on what is in front of me and being lost in the task. At times I was more lost than others! The table package came with no instructions so it took a bit of figuring out.
First the boxes
The table top box was EXTRA large and heavy.
The four chairs were in two boxes – they took me about 20 minutes each.
And then the biggest challenge: putting the legs on the table (without the instructions!)
We are just back from a couple of days away in Bridgetown – just over 100km to the east of where we live. I took some photos of flowers from the garden where we stayed and one of the view from the back verandah. It was very quiet and peaceful. Just what I was seeking!
My Mum loved poems and seemed to have a great memory for the lines. Much better than me! She used to encourage me with the words “if you can’t be a tree, be the best little bush” or something like that. I decided today to search for the words and found it online in no time. It must be better known than I thought. Here it is:
Sometimes I find life overwhelming. I don’t think I am alone in that experience! Just thought I would put together a list of some easy things to remember when feeling stressed/depressed etc.
Remember there are some things in my control and others are not (inspired by the Stoics)
Remember that it is not things that upset us but our beliefs/judgements about them (Stoics)
Be grateful for life, health and the many good things in my life
Be in the moment, as in “when doing the dishes, just do the dishes”
I sometimes break the day down to hours or minutes e.g. “for the next hour I will shower and make my bed” I can do more if I want to but the goal is to just get one or two things done. (works for me).
I try to remember that others are fighting their own internal battles (we don’t know what it is like to be them) so try to be compassionate and try to see where they are coming from.
I find something to do that lightens my mood – I love taking photos of flowers or editing photos so I can set up a small project (go out to the garden and snap away and them come inside and edit the photos) and it can help me lift my mood.
Listen to a podcast. I am currently into learning about Stoicism and there are heaps of podcasts and YouTube video to watch or listen to.
If every thought in my head is coming out bleak I need to consider it might be my thinking that is out of kilter and not the rest of the universe!
Sometimes I write in my journal and maybe do a mind map (in my journal) to get a more objective picture of where my life and thoughts are at the moment. See what I can change and what I can’t.
I try to resist making big decisions when stressed. I sometimes want to do something straight away but encourage myself to review the idea at a later date – maybe three months, depending on the issue.
If all else fails, I go and have a rest for a while. Often I feel better afterwards!