Saturday, October 3, 2020

Flitting Fall


For decades the season of fall has been my favorite time of year. The sights, smells, sounds, colors, temperatures, and harvest activity never get routine. Yet in the midst of the inspiriting I also encounter bouts of foreboding and depression. The lessening of sunlight, the landscape becoming monochromatic, harvest activity abruptly ending, and a personal issue with cracked skin on my hands does battle with my uplifting perspective. 

The influence of Stoic Philosophy has provided untold benefit to curb my fluctuating feelings in this prized cyclical space. In particular the words of Epictetus in Discourses are foundational, "There is only one way to happiness and that is to cease worrying about things which are beyond the power of our will."

I have learned to embrace what is. Exposing myself to both the majestic colors and the invariant tinctures of brown and grey, as well as the autumnal sunlight and precipitant clouds provides a broader appreciation of nature. It is outside of my power and will to affect nature. Thus I plunge myself into its reality and discover more about myself and the world. These discoveries are of immense value. Such discoveries enliven not depress me.

What is to come? That is a powerfully diverse question! In a pandemic, an election season, as well as in the midst of economic, technological, and cultural eruptions it is easy to worry, move along the spectrum of depression, and envision catastrophe. This not only comes naturally to individuals, but it is used by multiple influencers to stir intense reactions promoting a closed perspective and overwhelming fear of the future. These promotions of false dichotomy only serve the purpose of those making the assertions. Nature is more powerful than humans. Worrying about that over which we have no power is wasted energy.

As Jesus of Nazareth said, "Do not worry about tomorrow. It will take care of itself. You have enough to worry about today." (Matthew 6.34  CEV) 

Yes, time moves steadily forward and the seasons glide one into another. Fall will pass with its own character and personality. In the northern plains (where I reside) many people live with a dread of what is to come. Dread cannot change what has come for eons. Happiness, internal well-being comes with accepting each day, without value judgement for what it provides. I believe each day is a gift and I have been given the ability to hold it, view it, and use it. 

I am including a link to a book of daily readings focusing on Stoic Philosophy by Ryan Holiday.  The Daily Stoic  (I get no commission nor personal gain from this link. It is for information only.)

A podcast that I find helpful in a general outlook on life comes from Tony Dufresne PhD. The link will take you to his web page:  Java Bud
On that sight you can find a great deal of useful information and a link to his podcast. (I have met Tony in person. I find him genuine and helpful. Again, I receive no benefit from this link.)

During the pandemic I have also found useful scientific and practical information with minimal bias from Mike Osterholm, epidemiologist and Master of Public Health from the University of Minnesota's Center for Infectious Disease Research and Prevention. 

Finally, I publish a writing every two weeks. I alternate the blog with video offerings on my YouTube Channel. However, I am choosing an opportunity to be away from 
easy access to technology in the weeks ahead. There will not be a written blog post until November 1st.  Thank you for giving your time to read this blog!

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