The main post is here, and focused on the teachings of the Roman slave and philosopher Epicurus,
Here's a gem from the Epicurus interpretation by Sharon Lebell:
Things and people are not what we wish them to be nor what they seem to be. They are what they are.And if we call them by their right names, they lose their mysterious power over us, as neuroscience is beginning to show us (via The Upward Spiral and the Barking up the Wrong Tree blog) and as Confucius told us more than 2500 years ago.
I made this graphic on water because lots of philosophy boils down to Helen Keller for me. How did Annie Sullivan, in all her frustrated brilliance, get Helen to understand that experiences and emotions and objects had labels? She signed the letters into Helen's hand under a water pump.
But why did Helen grasp the concept as opposed to--say--tearing out Annie's hair? Because through all the raging confusion of not being able to see or hear, Helen still knew love and safety. She hungered for knowledge and a way to communicate. She understood Annie was trying to teach her something, not knock her down or steal her hair bow. And though it was an incredibly tough concept to grasp out of linguistic nothingness, once Helen understood this one truth--that the letters spelled into her hand represented various parts of the world--everything built up from there.
As Alex Korb says in The Upward Spiral, and as applies to the Back in Control focus of this blog:
Everything is interconnected. Gratitude improves sleep. Sleep reduces pain. Reduced pain improves your mood. Improved mood reduces anxiety, which improves focus and planning. Focus and planning help with decision making. Decision making further reduces anxiety and improves enjoyment. Enjoyment gives you more to be grateful for, which keeps that loop of the upward spiral going. Enjoyment also makes it more likely you'll exercise and be social, which, in turn, will make you happier.
I have opinions that make me unhappy. Why do I keep them? Why not let them go, knowing that I could form or borrow another one that had the opposite effect?
For example: Did I deserve my head injury?
Either "yes" or "no" has bad connotations. Yes and I'm self-flaying. No and I'm a victim. Either way I'm judging.
How about "stuff happens and it's how we handle adversity that shows who we really are." I like that opinion a lot more, and it will provide "upward lift" for my mood and thinking in ways that ruminating over fairness in the universe (or rather lack thereof) never will.
Okay, off to hug my kid.