The Obstacle is The Way
When I think I am too busy to eat well, to talk to friends or to write on prose.com, my mind moves towards Marcus Aurelius, Emperor of the known world at his time of life.
He had great opportunity to satitate his desires and to feel profound purpose. Yet he told us to live life a different way: define yourself on how you respond to suffering.
Don’t define yourself on your successes (as much as schools train you to).
Don’t define yourself on material appropriation (a simple one that for most of us!).
Don’t define yourself on the vaugeries of love and romance (as nice as that feels).
Instead define yourself on how you respond to suffering that is inevitable in living. Don’t avoid it.
Huge suffering might be easy to avoid. Just as a large boulder would be easy to spot and skirt around, we might avoid terrible mistakes of drugs and affairs and being ill-read with relative ease.
Smaller suffering is actually more painful. Just as small pebbles trip us and invade our shoes with painful little stabs, so we cannot avoid the daily frustrations of lived existence.
I try to define myself on my rare moments of stoicism, those times when I define myself on my response to smaller suffering, those small moments of stubbed frustration.
Righteous anger often rules, alas. I lost my first draft.