Stoicism: Not Just for Ancients Anymore

(Not So) Deep Thoughts

Today, we are re-embarking on a journey through Marcus Aurelius’s Meditations! (Well, I am. You can if you want to.) This book, in all of its translations, has been my go-to since the first time I read a snippet eons before narration, storytelling, and creation in general became my thing. In college, I acquired a pocket sized copy that I quite literally loved to pieces. Now, my shelves are graced with at least four different versions in varied stages of dog-earedness. Each translation has a slightly different slant on the interpretation of the original text and I’ve rotated through them over the years. 

The snippets, or stanzas, have taught me everything from patience to acceptance to motivation to self-love. The battlefield writings of an Ancient Roman general have given me more tools to work with everyday life than I can ever convey. Having lost my parents at 16, I was anchor-less for some time. Stoicism, and especially the Meditations, became my anchor and has guided me through some dark & stormy times. It has also been around to put a spotlight on the good times and help keep me from becoming complacent during a calm. 

So What?

Everyone has a philosophy they live by, even if it is to have no philosophy. (Rush’s ‘Free Will’, anyone?) Knowing how and where to apply your philosophy, much less how to internalize it enough to live by, it is often the challenge. Stoicism applies everywhere, you just have to look. Or pay attention. 🙂 

As with most of Marcus’ writings, the opening stanza of Book Five applies no matter who you are. Another commonality is that it is something many people don’t want to listen to.

When you have trouble getting out of bed, tell yourself, “I have to go to work – as a human being.”

This is enough of a beast to unpack that most will shut down here and not keep reading to get to the meaty part where he explains that we don’t trust ourselves, we don’t follow our own guts. We discount and dismiss things we see as not worth our time and energy. And end up self-centered black holes of lameness. What you should do is –

  • Trust yourself.
  • Be yourself.
  • Know yourself.
  • Then do.

Too much time is spent doing what we are ‘supposed’ to do that we miss out on what we truly should be doing.

We forget to be happy.

We forget to be kind. (To ourselves and to others!)

We forget to be ourselves.

We live as automatons, humanoid but not fully human. Humanoid, not human

It is so easy to do. Society tends to reward it, recommend it, even seem to require it sometimes. Goodness knows, I existed like this for most of my life. Despite best efforts otherwise, even. 

Ok… So What’s That MEAN?

“You don’t love yourself enough. Or you’d love your nature, too, and what it demands of you. People who love what they do wear themselves down doing it. … Do you have less respect for your own nature than the engraver does for engraving, the dancer for the dance, the miser for the money, or the social climber for status?”

It has taken me years to internalize even a portion of this second bit, and is an ongoing, never-ending battle with myself. One I never plan on winning because I never plan to stop learning and growing. 

Yet we all should do what we love so that we love what we do. I never got that. It never made a lick of sense to me. Until I started narrating. Now, every single day, I wake up with a smile, knowing that I go to work as what I am intended to be – a human. A human whose purpose it is to bring enjoyment to others, to assist, and to teach. 

Narration allows me to do all of this and more. Corporate narration and eLearning give me opportunities to inform, to share knowledge, and to train people to help them succeed. Audiobooks are just magic and allow me to express any iteration of Self I could ever conceive. I can be the narrator in a 30 character Superhero Fantasy one day and an inspirational self-help storyteller the next. 

Bottom Line

Philosophy in general, and Stoicism in particular, can really help a soul find itself. When you find yourself, even a little bit, everything starts to come together. If you pay attention and don’t let yourself get too caught up in the pieces you cannot impact or control, those other pieces – the ones you CAN impact and control – will soon show you the picture of your Nature. Then – You do you. 

You do you, boo.

Reach out to chat or just say hi. If you need a voice, you can hear me on my websites. Feel free to email with requests for auditions/sample reads : lisasware.com for audiobooks and lswareonline.com for corporate narration/eLearning.