Marcus Aurelius was right

I’ve been reading Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations. I’m trying to have a positive effect on the things and people I can actually change (myself and my own reactions in this moment). Below are some quotes along those lines from Longfellow, Bob Dylan, the Apostle Paul and Reinhold Neibuhr, some of classics of “Don’t worry, be happy”. Now if I can just internalize some of this…

Figure 1: “The cannon thundered in the South,” by George Jones is licenced under CC SA 4.0

Figure 1: “The cannon thundered in the South,” by George Jones is licenced under CC SA 4.0

Worry is debilitating. And usually you can’t do much about whatever is worrying you directly. It can raise your blood pressure. It can get you to opine on geo-political solutions and outcomes you have very little hope of affecting or even influencing. See the war in Ukraine.

I keep coming back to Longfellow’s A Psalm of Life

"Act, act the living present, heart within and God o'erhead
Let us then be up and doing, with a heart for any fate"

Henery W. Longfellow

This from a man who new the loss and devastation of war

And in despair I bowed my head;
"There is no peace on earth," I said;
"For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!"

Marcus Aurelius is right. Worry keeps you from doing the good you can do now, both for the benefit of yourself and those around you. It keeps you from affecting the things you can affect.

To go back a few decades:

"Karl Marx has got you by the throat,
and Henry Kissinger's got you tied up into knots.
When you gonna wake up, and strengthen the things that remain"

Bob Dylan

The big stuff will happen. You largely can’t change it. Change what you can, which is yourself in this moment.

Slightly out of context (go read the context), but…

Let us not become discouraged in doing good, for in due time we will
reap, if we do not become weary. So then, while we have
opportunity, let us do good to all people,...

Paul, Galatians 6:9-10


God, grant me the Serenity
To accept the things I cannot change...
Courage to change the things I can,
And Wisdom to know the difference.

Reinhold Neibuhr

Neibuhr had a large influence on a young pastor named Dietrich Bonhoeffer in Germany in the 1930s and 1940s who was executed in prison for, well, trying to do what he could do in his time…

Post 26 #100DaysToOffload