In this week, Kevin discusses shifting a common attitude of feeling like one Has to do something to a more grateful feeling that one Gets to do those things.
References and Links
This week, I want to get into this feeling of, and that’s sanction between the feeling of half, two versus get to, and I think there’s, [00:01:00] you know, Mike, they might look similar on the surface, but I think there’s a lot to those about the differences between those and how. Quite a night and day different series.
Often before that though, I wanted to just have some commentary about an article I read in the New York times, um, today actually, and the article is called instant realm will never get old. Take it from Mary Beard, Mar May 31st, 2021.
I thought this was an interesting article. I mean, she’s someone, if you don’t know her, uh, she is a bestselling author. She’s a, uh, an academic at, in the UK. She’s a professor, I believe of the classics. Um, at least I’m not sure. I think it’s the classics at Cambridge at classics professor, um, [00:02:00] and a documentary host, a TV documentary hosts.
And as they say, she’s gotten a reputation over the years of being a feisty Twitter star. So you can immediately, if you, you know, if you don’t know her very well, and I, I have to say, I don’t know her that well. Um, you get a strong impression that she’s willing to just say what’s on her mind. She’s not gonna apologize about, you know, uh, being polite about, about her thoughts on.
The topic she’s discussing with Rome or anything like that, you know, perhaps she, a bit of a revisionist, uh, in terms of history, uh, though, I don’t know her work well enough to know that that’s the case. Um, but it would be so similar to, you know, it’d be kind of a sense of, you know, let’s revisit it. This era and see the problems and, uh, you know, not just the good stuff.
And I think there’s a, there’s a lot of value in that. I I’m, I’m grateful when people do that, because I think Rome, [00:03:00] uh, does teach us a lot about today because it’s so complicated. The U S is a very complicated place. I happen to live in the U S it’s it, it can, you know, sometimes be a beacon of hope and it can be, uh, a, a symbol of terror.
Right. And it’s, it’s a, it depends on the perspective and, and I think that’s not much different with a lot of these large empires in history. It’s actually not, uh, something unique to Rome or the U S I think it’s a, it’s a, it’s a pattern. It’s a consistent pattern in most, um, most of human, uh, history. And, uh, especially when there’s been powerful empires that have arisen or power powerful nations.
Um, it’s great to go back and do that. I mean, and th that’s something that I want to do another episode about eventually. The flaws of the, of the Roman emperor after the Roman [00:04:00] empire and probably emperors. Um, but the part that stood out to me was her perspective on stoicism at the end, the interviewer asks, or I don’t know if this is novel to you, but in the last few years, there has been a real resurgence of popular interest in stoic philosophy, but he stops himself even asking the question and he says, why don’t you just roll your eyes?
So that kind of gives you a sense of what, you know, kind of what she feels about stoicism off the, off the bat. Um, she says something to the effect of, you know, I’m glad there’s an interest in the ancient world, but, uh, effectively cliched help from a philosophy that if you looked really hard or looked at it really hard was nasty fatalistic bordering on fascism or fash fascist, uh, And then she goes on and talks about Marcus Aurelius in particular and how he was basically everything he said was a big [00:05:00] cliche.
The one example she gives is never take a major decision when your mind is tripled. We can only agree with cliches like that. Um, but you know, they look, they sound good because he was a, um, A bearded philosophy. So we’ve got a terrorist him down. And then at the end, she notes that she has better Amazon ratings and on her books and Marcus Aurelius does on his.
So, uh, you know, there you go. Um, I, I found this interesting just because I’ve, I’ve noticed a bit of a pattern wherein. A lot of philosophers or those who studied philosophy in academic settings, really, as I’ve talked to them, really do dismiss stoicism. I haven’t heard many true philosophy [00:06:00] majors or philosophers.
Uh, talk about it with, with much reverence. I think if anything, I’ve heard a bit of like stoicism, whatever. Why is everyone so excited about that? Which I think is interesting. And I think it’s, uh, Donald Robinson, I want to say as the author who has a book, um, I was reading part of his book and he talks about some of the origin of origins of this in which, you know, given that academics, as we see it today, we had a lot of roots in the, um, in, in the church, whether that be the, I think I was at the Catholic church and then Protestant churches, uh, Given that, uh, given that and, uh, and that stoicism, wasn’t exactly a very intellectual type of philosophy.
It’s not one where you can just sit around and banter all day and debate it’s it’s. Um, [00:07:00] again, as she, as she correctly pointed out, there’s a lot. Wisdom that’s in the F you know, that one could say as cliche, that no, one’s going to argue with a lot of this stuff. So it doesn’t really lend itself to something juicy.
Right. And I think with philosophy academically, it’s a, it’s a, it’s a topic, it’s a subject, which you really want to argue, you know, effectively, you just want to argue, you want to debate, right? You want to, you want to talk. And so it’s not, it’s stimulating. It’s exciting. It’s interesting. Right. These are the words that come to mind about let’s philosophize about whether, you know, should we do this or should we do that?
And do you know, think about like a Plato’s Republic and, you know, debating the whole thing is we fricking debate, you know, back and forth, back and forth. Um, and there’s a place for that. And it’s interesting, but is it. Is it really that why [00:08:00] is at the end of the day, man, some of it is, and some of it’s just bought to questions, a lot of existential questions in philosophy.
Right? And so in general it was never, stoicism has never really adopted or, or favored by academics, uh, philosophy, philosophy, philosophical, academics. They just were never that interested in it as a serious. Uh, school of philosophy because in a way it was very practical and there wasn’t much to talk about you do it, or you don’t do it.
Um, so that’s sort of one area where it’s been dismissed and, and I guess in, in her world too, academically, probably the same thing. It’s um, it’s, you know, yes, it’s part of the classical world, but come on, what’s the big deal here. And, uh, there was a great couple of comments and one I really liked this is coming from the article.
Uh, one person from [00:09:00] Australia, Keith mentioned, he wrote poor old Marcus Aurelius, cliches, get bad press good ideas are repeated for a reason. We can all agree with the wisdom. And that’s a good thing. Right. But do we practice it? Cliches can distill simple, practical advice. From hard one complex truths.
What’s the problem with that. And I thought that was a great perspective because, you know, she might be right. There may be a number of cliches and stoicism. Um, and yet there’s a temptation to say, well, if it’s a cliche, I’m not interested. I’m not going to pay attention because I’ve heard that well before I know it all.
And then. Phrase. I know it. I’ve heard it. I know it before. I know it all before is sort of the danger. It’s the mind basically [00:10:00] desensitized to wisdom. It’s not particularly interested because it’s heard at so many times and it thinks it knows it, and it may know the word that may know the phrase. It may even have a general sense of understanding, but how deep is that understanding?
Does it realize. That was, I’m not very rarely does it rarely, very rarely does it actually realize the wisdom. Is there a genuine understanding at a deep level of that cliche of that so-called cliche or more importantly, the wisdom underneath that cliche? And so yeah, you could say, well, you know, I’ve heard of a be present in the moment and don’t look to the future of the past.
Come on. I know that that’s a cliche. And how many people who know that and who know how important it is to not look to the future or the past are actually doing it. Very few. I’ve met a few in my life. I’ve met a few [00:11:00] individuals in my life that were pretty clearly on that razor blade, walking that razor blade, um, between the F the, the past in the future.
Right in the middle balancing beautifully, but not very many. I have not met many, very many, and there was very few out there. My experience, most of us are trapped in our minds in the future or the past. And so yeah, call it a cliche and that might make you feel a bit superior and knowledgeable. And yet the real question is, are we living this?
Are we living? Are we willing to live some of these cliches? Um, and, and go beyond the cliche to make it an actual internalized realization, not so easy. Um, I think the other thing that I think I was, I thought was interesting was her [00:12:00] phrasing about, if you look really hard, You’ll find it stoicism to be nasty fatalistic and bordering on fascist.
Um, yes, stoic the term stoic can mean somebody who’s cold, emotionless, not in touch with their feelings. Traumatized broken, um, and, uh, fatalistic and maybe maniac in which they are putting their, their will on to others, beneath them, that they have more power over and being rather fascist about it. So that’s the modern definition of stoicism.
And I think that actually. Quote, here is actually the opposite to me, at least in my experience. It’s the opposite. So when you don’t look deeply into stoicism and really [00:13:00] read and study, uh, some of the texts, your impression of stoicism is that it is nasty fatalistic and borders on fascism because you’re left with just having to take the more superficial.
Definition, the one that you can look up in the dictionary about stoicism and you’ll find that, yeah, that’s the descriptors, that person who doesn’t have feelings, cold jerk, et cetera. Right. And, um, and yet when you deep dive deeper into this, into the, into the words and to the, the texts, I think for me, I found the opposite, uh, When I looked really hard, it was not nasty.
It was actually quite comforting. I came to stoicism in a difficult place in my life. It was a challenging time of my life. I wasn’t there just to philosophize, you know, for the fun of it. It was, I was really looking for some comfort and some [00:14:00] hope and some support. And I found it from texts that were number of thousands of years old.
And. It was very comforting. And as I say, it was not nasty, uh, just because it acknowledges that there’s some pain and suffering in life. It was not, um, something that I think, uh, was in my mind fatalistic. And I think that’s another thing that people do a lot with, with Buddhism when they first hear about Buddhism or they just kind of skim it.
So that naive, um, newbie, um, uh, pattern where you’ll you, you hear, but ah, the foreigner truce, Buddhism, what is this first one? Life is suffering. Yeah. Oh my gosh. That’s terrible. What kind of religion talks about, you know, it says life is suffering. How hopeful is that? You know, what are we here for? If all we’re going to here, life is suffering.
[00:15:00] What’s the point of joining this religion? It’s putting the cart before the horse thing. We’re not, we’re not even willing to go further than that. And so there’s this, this, uh, you’re repelled by this whole, you know, I remember when I first read the four noble truths of Buddhism being repelled by that first one.
What do you mean life is suffering? Life is supposed to be wonderful. Life is supposed to be about happiness. You’re telling me life is suffering. I couldn’t get over it. And I thought, well, this is a terrible religion. And I think the same thing is kind of happening as she’s looking at stoicism from more of a surface level.
Oh, fatalistic. You know, they don’t, they’re just a negative, whereas what’s powerful about stoicism is its willingness to acknowledge sort of Buddhism that. Life is suffering as life is filled with suffering, whether it be medical conditions or health issues, or whether it be, um, poverty, whether it be, [00:16:00] uh, drama in your life, or whether it be the shortness of life, whether no matter what it is or grief, you start with that.
And then what’s left. What’s beyond that after you’ve accepted that. And that’s where a lot of people, you know, they don’t, they get stuck and they don’t ever make it to that acceptance side of things. And so, you know, again, maybe cliche, but an important one. Uh, and I don’t really relate to the aspect that it’s fascist per se.
If you look, look that term up, but it is a very modern term, especially specifically related to the, uh, some dictator dictatorships of the 20th century
Not really sure that that’s what I would call. I think there’s sure a tendency to, to look at people who are trying to live stoically or who just aren’t basically emotionless and say, oh, you know, you’re, you’re a fascist.
So I think it’s interesting, you know, to read the article, I’ll link to that article in the show notes in general, I think [00:17:00] this does show what I think will be a pretty popular and stronger reaction to. Stoke philosophy over the next five years, I think there’ll be a lot more stronger reaction against it, dismissal of it.
Um, and it’s good to be aware of it if it’s, if it’s a particular topic you’re interested in, um, because, um,
they will, you know, in my mind there will be a lot, a lot of backlash in some ways. Um, and maybe a lot of that is justified and it probably very helpful. But also to kind of still use our, uh, our reason and think about each thing and process it.
so I want to switch to the topic for this episode, which is the feeling of having to in life versus the feeling of getting to, and I’m going to start with, uh, [00:18:00] I a passage, I guess I’ll call it by, um, uh, let’s see, epic, epic Epictetus. When we have been invited to a banquet, we take what is set before us.
But if a guest should ask the host to set before him fish or sweet cakes, he would be considered to be an unreasonable fellow. But in the world we ask the gods for what they do not give. And we do this though, that things are many, which they have already given.
I really liked that quote because, um, it speaks to what came up for me this week, which was kind of reflecting back on myself for
the [00:19:00] thoughts going through my head and the, and the subsequent desires and longings. Yeah. Um, that have arisen for me recently, uh, as well as the aspect of this satisfactory dissatisfaction that can arise in one’s consciousness throughout the day. So to get more specific.
You know, I’ve been walking to, I was going through the week. It was a kind of a sleep, you know, sleep deprived week for me with, with my kids and stuff. And, you know, then waking up to the night, um, and
stressed out about some work stuff, stressed out about money stuff, stressed out about a bunch of a bunch of [00:20:00] little things. But in full honesty, nothing that is, you know, unreasonable and, uh, um, nothing, nothing, nothing terrible. Right. So just more, if you can think about, of like the energy of complaining.
There’s a, there’s an undercurrent of dissatisfactory, Venus with a little things, little issue shoes
Basically things that I want to be different, things that I don’t want to be experiencing or things that I want to experience. And there’s stress the feeling of anxiety and stress when any of these thoughts arise. Because of course my thoughts not here in the present moment, it’s off [00:21:00] in the future.
Usually in the future, fearful about what I don’t want or fearful about what I’m not going to get or not be able to keep.
And yet none of these things, as I say is particularly dramatic. It’s just little [00:24:00] annoyances and it’s, for me, it’s very easy to find myself. If I’m not careful
and wrapped into all this stuff, especially if I haven’t had good sleep, probably I’m not my best self, but I can just easily find myself annoyed by this or that. And I got a message from a good friend this week who was willing and vulnerable enough to share what he was going through. Physically he’s going through some health issues right now.
And I had asked him and he was kind enough, I’ll say, and respectful enough to not spare me the details. He actually just put them all out there and his message and I’m sure he’s, he could’ve, he could’ve said more, but he actually, he was kind enough. Like I say, to, [00:25:00] to give me the, the truth of what was going on with him.
And I’m so grateful for that because. I guess one thing he was, he trusted me with that information and that’s, that was very, it was a sign of, um, of honor and respect. And I appreciate that. Um, and
you know, it was also a good reminder for me.
To question myself and think, what am I complaining about? Where’s my attention. My attention is in this LA LA land of looking at some of the things I have to do in my life, whether it be the paperwork for business or, um, and paperwork and in quotes, most of is digital, but. To [00:26:00] do’s that I have to do in business.
Whether it be things I need to get done with deadlines personally, professionally, whether it be things for the family thing, things for my kids, things that I want again, frustrations about what I don’t have that I think I should have fears of not getting what I want, fears of getting something that I don’t want.
Or some things I don’t want. So
after reading his message, it was like yanked me out of my,
my round, uh, my merry-go-round of thoughts. And it is like that Merry go round just goes round and round and round the inner complaints, the inner dissatisfaction.
And I’ve [00:27:00] had a number of times in my life where experiences brought me right back to being grateful for what I had similar to what Epictetus is saying in this quote, you’re at this banquet food is being passed to you. Someone has taken the time to invite you to their home. They bought the food with their money.
They bought the wine or the alcohol or the Martinelli’s, whatever you like with their money, they’ve taken the time. And the hours needed to prepare it to clean the home, to create a space for you at their table. Yeah. You either show up to that banquet
[00:28:00] present with what is in front of you grateful for everything you’re seeing, or you’re one of the people that starts to complain about, well, I want this, why didn’t I, you know, again, you just complained about what do you have any sweet cakes? You know, do you have any different drinks? This isn’t good enough.
This is okay, but it’s not good enough. Do you have this instead of what I’m seeing here? And then he relates it to complain, you know, asking them it’s for different things when they have it and provided that for you, you know, they’ve provided a banquet and you’re not happy with that banquet, never happy with what is never happy with what we got.
Always finding, finding the dissatisfactory Ines of what’s being presented to us. By what’s in front of us on the table. This isn’t what I want. I want X, Y, and Z. And you know, it’s easy
[00:29:00] in our modern age to blame all this on the media or something else, the media’s fault. That’s why, that’s why we think we want, you know, a yacht, uh, you know, uh, SuperMansion McDonald’s management, whatever it is. Because we see that on TV and we, therefore we need it because we’re so influenced. And maybe there’s some truth to that for certain.
But the fact that Epictetus is talking about it over 2000 years ago, this desire that that never is that thirst, that’s never quenched or in Buddhism, it might be the hunger, the concept of the hungry ghost and the hungry ghost is, is the ghost that has a belly. That’s it? The hungry ghost is never satisfied because again, it’s, it’s belly is, it has a volume wise it’s as large as the infinite universe, that’s the ego that never satisfied.
And we can [00:30:00] all look at that. What, what part of us is it yearning for more and more and more when we’re already have stuff on the top? We already have sustenance in front of us that we’re not grateful for it
in my own experience. I remember
being in high school feeling not enough, not having much confidence, not having many friends. Definitely not being one of the cool foods, the cool kids. And I had this, um, this car that my parents had, uh, you know, giving me basically, they gave me their old car was a truck. It was a truck that [00:31:00] in hindsight was a great truck for a 16 year old.
In hindsight, it wasn’t incredible. And there were a few months where I, I also saw that at the time, oh, this is great. I’m driving around, I’m driving around, you know, that maybe some of you can go back to that moment where you had that freedom of a driver’s license and you’re, you’re suddenly not dependent on the bus or whatever.
You’re like, here you are on your own car and that will wear away. And what replaced it was this need to have some sort of fast car or some kind of cool car with this imagined imagination that if I got it, I could impress people at school. Maybe get people to like me. Maybe we get people to, to be, you know, interested in who I was.
Here’s this person with a really cool card. Now this is completely as I think. Unrealistic and ridiculous and silly, but these were the [00:32:00] thoughts that were going through my mind. If I get this, I can get the respect of my peers. And as silly as it sounds to recall this 16 year old, you know, version of reality where, you know, when you think of that, come on, don’t be silly.
It’s not completely that silly in the sense that we still do it. No matter how old we are. We, you know, we can still get pulled into this. I can still do it. I can still see it in me today. You know, I think, oh, I want a house. I want a new house. If I had a nicer house than this. Cause you know, the place I’m at right now, backyard kind of crappy looking and.
No, the house isn’t a, it’s done on the lifestyles of the rich and famous house. It’s a very humble place I’m living in. It’s a nice house, but it’s not, um, [00:33:00] it’s not a place that people walk in and they’re take their breath away. Right. And so in my, I can get to that place where my mind says, no, you need to have that at fancier house.
Or I went to, um, you know, my in-law, uh, my sister-in-law’s and recently, and she was living in a beautiful place. With a great view. And of course what comes up for me? Oh, I need something like this. I need to, to have this. If I did have this, how much happier would I be? How much more grateful would I be?
How much more? How much more importantly? I don’t think about great gratitude. I think about how much would people respect me? Okay. Hoping for in that moment is respect. Right? I want to be, I want the respect of my peers, where I have a good friend who just bought a nice new house and suddenly it’s like, oh, I want that.
I need to, to keep up, how am I gonna [00:34:00] get his respect? How am I gonna get my other friends respect? No, one’s respects me with this silly house that I have. It’s not good enough. I am suddenly. That banquet guest, who’s complaining to the host and asking for things that was not put on the, on the table in front of me.
And so I was going back to the story. I was in high school and I wanted this car and all this stuff. And so. My mom had always talked about when she was in high school and college actually she’d had a Porsche and how much she loved that. And so I had it in my mind at the time I need a Porsche. Now I, uh, could not afford a fast car, let alone even a slow car at the time I had, I think I had about $1,500 to my name.
And, uh, so with, [00:35:00] with that ridiculously low amount of money, I go out and I find a old Porsche that I think was about 20 something years old from the seventies. And I was so stubborn that this is what I needed to, to be okay. I remember feeling very strongly that this is, this was going to change my life.
If I had this nice car and this fast car, instead of the car, that kind of slower car that my parents had bought for me, which worked quite well, which was very reliable. Um, and it was a great car for a kid. As I say, I didn’t like it. I didn’t like it because it wasn’t giving me the important factor that, that I thought I needed.
So I go find this car and of course it’s a piece of junk. Totally. Anyone with eyes could see what a piece of junk it was. But I wasn’t really looking with eyes. I was looking with with a lot of filters of what it could do for my [00:36:00] basically, how could it make me feel? It could make me feel finally good about myself.
So I walk up this guy’s selling it. It it’s screaming. Don’t buy me this car. It had no door handles. Basically it had holes where the door handles were supposed to be. And you had to put your finger inside and find a little, you know, kind of middle button that wasn’t supposed to be pushed with a real finger.
It was supposed to be where handles go. And you had to, um, find that to open the car door. So handles were missing and the owner said, Hey, well, I’ll throw in some handles. I have them around somewhere. He never did. And then as I opened the door, I noticed that the bottom hinge is completely rusted out.
It’s like a big hole there only the top hinge is partly working. So that was odd. I mean, to the car, the door hand, I’m sorry. The door pretty much falls [00:37:00] in an awkward position. Like a foot down the moment you open it or like half a foot down. And it looks like it’s about to fall off the inside is a complete disaster.
There’s cracks all over the desk. It was just beat up. His car was beat up and it did run, but, uh, that was about it. But I have, you know, no money. So this is what I have to buy, and this is going to change my life. So I buy this car and, uh, I start to realize within about a month of buying it, how unreliable this car is, by the way, it’s a Porsche, which was actually with a folks’ wagon engine, I think.
And so. Not the most reliable engine ever made. Very finicky. I know a little bit about the car, about cars at the time I was an auto shop, so I started kind of fixing it a little bit and the more I fixed it, the more breaks until [00:38:00] one day it completely breaks and I’m back to no car because I had just told my parents to sell my old car, the car that was.
Car that was functioning. I told him to sell it because I didn’t want anything to do with that car, that uncool car. I wanted the cool car. So I sell this car and I’m suddenly back to the bus again,
talk about going from hopes and dreams to facing reality, but moreover, that car caused so much stress. There were times where that car would, uh, there was one time where the car caught on fire. The dashboard caught on fire, and thankfully I was able to put it out before it got too big. That could have been bad.
And that was, I think that was for no good reason. Maybe I was adjusting like a heater control or something and it caught fire. Uh, another [00:39:00] time the car literally, um, broke down on me about three hours away in some, yeah. Wrecking yard or something like that, where I was trying to find parts, there were all these terrible experiences with the car.
And as a 16 year old, it was a 16 or 17 year old. It was a, yeah, it was a little stressful, uh, to be out, you know, broken down on various parts of the, the bay area far from home and without a cell phone at the time there weren’t there weren’t cell phones at the time, so, or not, not commonly. And so. Yeah, very stressful.
And about nine months later could be related to a lot of the stress. I ended up in the hospital and I find myself diagnosed with type one diabetes. [00:40:00] And suddenly I’m going in this moment from somebody who. No very rarely did I ever have a, an injection or a shot from it, you know, even a vaccine or a doctor?
Not that I could recall to suddenly, and being somebody who was terrified of needles to someone, who’s having to inject myself into my stomach multiple times a day. And that was sheer terror for me.
That old car that my parents gave me. Wasn’t looking too bad anymore. In fact, I missed it. I’m really missed it. All I wanted was that car, all I wanted was the security of a car that wasn’t going to break down and leave me in the middle of nowhere because my life had changed quite a bit. And I was, [00:41:00] I was, uh, quite.
And not only that, but all the things that I was used to eating were completely turned upside down. I mean, I was someone who, I was a kid who would eat ice cream, big pints of ice cream. After school. I was a kid who had to have a Coke at every meal.
Uh, cereal was my morning. Sustenance. Um, I mean, carbohydrates galore, basically. I probably didn’t have much meat actually. I did probably didn’t have much protein. I probably eat so many carbs in general, and here I am faced with this, with the recognition that I have to cut all that stuff out and there’s no more the party’s over [00:42:00] or anything.
Pay pay a big consequence for that. And I began to pay the consequences because I, I couldn’t get rid of this stuff. I couldn’t get rid of all these, these foods. I was used to it very quickly and I didn’t really understand how food worked anyway, but suffice to say that
there was another lesson in there
which was gratitude. Eventually that came. It was not immediate, but after that diagnosis, gratitude finally started to calm slowly that wow, probably a few years later, actually that, well, at least this medicine, this insulin that I’m injecting every day, at least it’s keeping me alive. I don’t want to be doing this.
I don’t want to have to inject. Why does nobody else? I mean, everybody else [00:43:00] gets to just eat without a thought in the, in the world about what that means and what you know, not everyone else, but most people get to just go ahead and eat what they feel like. And I have to sit here, calculate what I’m going to eat and try to take a guess.
And usually I get the guests, like 80% of the time I get the guests wrong and I pay the, pay the price. Incorrect guests, but overall at least I get to get yes.
Instead of, I have to take the shot. I get to take the shot and it’s, it’s this recognition of, of
Or gratitude is due for grateful for the bank, with its been laid in front of me. And there’s two routes. I [00:44:00] find, um, diet in specifically type one. Diabetes has taught me that there’s two routes in life with anything you’re dealing with. Um, you either are bitter and resentful that you have to do something that a lot of other people around you don’t.
And there was a lot of that for me. A lot of self pity, a lot of self, um, victimization. And I see that still, if I’m on a number of Facebook groups of, of type one diabetics, I see lots and lots of that. But the other route that there’s a lot of other people on too, is the one where you say, wow, you know, this is pretty remarkable.
There’s this clear liquid, I can inject a teeny, teeny amount of clear liquid. I don’t even have to do that much [00:45:00] into my body and it can keep me alive. Keep this body alive. I should say they say that way. Insulin was, uh, discovered and developed, I should say, because it was discovered and it was developed, uh, years later, but it was developed in the 1920s and a type one diabetics average life.
Before that, before that was developed, um, was I think about a month, maybe less, a few weeks to a month. And after. Insulin was put on the market. It went from a month or less to 12 years right off the bat. And 12 years is not much long. I mean, it’s, you know, now today at type one diabetics life, decades, decades longer, you know, almost, almost the same as, uh, [00:46:00] as a non-diabetic, but 12 years back then, what a gift.
What a gift and they may have been rough, but still it’s 12 years versus a month. That’s incredible. So that, that’s the stuff that we always, we always have to look within to say,
is it really not enough? What I have again with that car that I had, it was, it was everything I needed to get me from point a to point B. Initially being on drive, driving around with my friends and you know, that experience was incredible. And yet I threw that away. I didn’t want that. That wasn’t enough after a while.
And so it’s, this is aspect in which we become very numb to the incredible [00:47:00] gifts that are in front of us. And there’s another. Thing I was reading and I think this relates a bit too to the desire for wealth, because I have to admit that that’s probably something that’s been on my mind more than it should be recently.
Um, this, this belief basically a lie that I need to, somehow I need to gain lots of wealth when right now I’m actually, okay, I’m quitting and I’m coming. But what I’m seeing and maybe it’s right now, the economy is blowing up so much. Everybody’s getting rich off Bitcoin or dose calling, or they’re getting rich off of the stock market or property that they bought five years ago is now worth, you know, five times, 10 times what it was, everyone around me, all my peers are just, it’s like, you know, bananas.
And I think for many of us right now, we’ve seen that. So there’s this FOMO fear of missing out like, oh God, I get it. I got to get my [00:48:00] piece, you know, it’s like the gold rush or something. I’m going to go get, you know, get our steak, uh, uh, S T a K E not, uh, not the food. Anyway, Epictetus writes, examine yourself whether you wish to be rich or to be happy, if you wish to be rich, you should know that it’s neither a good thing, nor at all in your past.
But if you wish to be happy, you should know that it is both a good thing. And in your power for the one is temporary. One is a temporary loan for the one is a temporary loan of fortune and happiness comes from the will. That’s really beautiful. So being rich as someone that’s not particularly in your country, And if it is, if you happen to be fortunate enough to get rich it’s to temporary [00:49:00] loan, nothing, that you can keep nothing that’s going to last beyond this lifetime
may not even last the duration of this lifetime, the way things go, whereas happiness. Is within your reach is within your power is a good thing. It comes from the will. And for all we know it could last beyond this lifetime. Happiness could be everlasting who knows? It’s a, it’s a, who knows? I don’t know.
But there’s something about inner inner joy. That seems to me much more, [00:50:00] uh, of a longer duration than just wealth and money. What’s funny though, is that we think that money is going to lead us to the happiness.
We always think this right. It’s how do I become more happy? Uh, if I, if I got wealthy, I could be okay then just like the car. If I just get that nice car, I’ll be okay. People will like me. And when people like me I’ll feel okay about myself. It’s this vacuum of not feeling okay. That we’re trying to fill all the time.
Gotta got to plug that hole. That emptiness. And if I can get a nicer house that I serve a car, nicer, whatever it is, gadget phone, whatever it is, I will [00:51:00] be happy. There’s another one I love from, um, the book, a thousand names for joy, but by.
She says, do your work, then step back. The only path to serenity, there’s a natural balance in things. If you go too far to one extreme life kindly brings you back towards the center. What goes up must come down and what comes down must go up up and down are different aspects of the same thing. So our inside and outside.
Most people think that the world is outside them. They live backward running after security and approval. I’m putting in parentheses outside as if by making enough money or getting enough praise. They could be happy once. And for all [00:52:00] that was, that was my life. This is the, the, the experience I’m describing again in high school.
This is the experience that is tempted me. Now, if I just get the, ah, I just get the house. If I just get the car, if I just get the, whatever I’ll be. Okay. Peers will respect me. People will like. It’s amazing that I buy into these thoughts. I mean, it just kind of happens before. I know it. I’m like, oh yeah, that sounds good.
It’s like hook, line and sinker. It’s like, there’s a salesperson outside the door whispering in my ear. And I’m just like, oh yeah, I think that’s a good point. I don’t think this is this, this house. Isn’t right enough for me. It’s not good enough for me. It’s not big enough for me. Incredible. Right. Because it’s so obvious that that’s not what brings happiness.
It’s even after I know that I’ve studied it, it’s like, oh, I’m hypnotized again. So how do we [00:53:00] resist that temptation to be pulled in by that? And remember, what is truth? What is everlasting? What is virtuous? She goes on in the quote, but nothing outside is can give us what we’re really looking for. I do my work and don’t even need to step back from it because it never belonged to me in the first place.
Nothing belongs to me. Everything comes and goes. Serenity is an open door unquote. So well, nothing belongs to me. Just again, Byron Katie saying that nothing belongs to you, whether it’s the house, whether it’s the car, whether it’s the. Great job. You have a success you’ve got and you know, your last company or your last project or book that you wrote or Instagram [00:54:00] followers, whatever it is, nothing belongs to.
And interestingly enough, again, going back to that Epictetus quote, we see that
wealth is a temporary loan of fortune. Nothing belongs to you.
So that’s all, I hope that some of this resonates and it’ll join me. Practicing reframing the half twos in our lives with the get twos, because Hey, we get to be here right now. We don’t know how long we’re going to be here, but we get to be here right now.
We are here and this is a opportunity and opportunity. We get to go do the dishes. We get to go clean. Are disastrous house. If that’s what we have to contend with, [00:55:00] we get to clean up after our children. If that’s what we have to do, we get to pay our taxes. If that’s what we have to do, even if they’re enormous and we don’t know how we’re going to do it, we get to pay our bills.
If we, if that’s what we get to do, if we have to do that, whatever we think we have to do, replacing that with a get to do it, we get to, this is a gift. Let’s not take it for granted. Let’s remember, let’s remember that this is a gift.
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