Wednesday, March 01, 2017


I love adversity.

No, that's not really true.  That's bullshit.  No one loves adversity.  Adversity, by its very definition, is exactly what one doesn't want.

However, I can say that I respect adversity and admire it and can appreciate the lessons it teaches us about ourselves.

Case in point: driving home from work today, my car broke down.  Literally just stopped running about a mile from my home and would not go into drive.  Or reverse.  Or anything. Couldn't be driven.  I coasted to the side of the road, then rolled backwards until I wasn't blocking anyone's driveway.

Of course, right at that moment, after a month of drought, a thunderstorm hits as I walked the rest of the way home.   I was soaked to the bone by the time I got home.

I called a wrecker and waited at the car (after another walk back in the rain) for 90 minutes for it to finally show.  He took it away and where once I had a car, I now have a yellow receipt.

I'm safe at home now, but with no car and facing the prospect of an expensive repair, or worse.  I thought I had a busy day planned for tomorrow, and none of my obligations have gone away - I'm just going to have to figure out how to accomplish everything remotely from home (frankly, the least challenging of the hurdles in front of me).  I also have to figure out how to get some groceries and how to get to an ATM (of course, all this happens when I'm low on cash and low on groceries).  But even as I write this, I can think of half a dozen ways to do both - I'm healthy enough to walk several miles and I live in the city where nothing's ever too far away.  I do have to figure out how to get to travel the 10 or 15 miles or so to the dealer that (hopefully) now has my car.  

Now, adversity is teaching me that complaining - like I sorta, kinda was doing above - won't accomplish anything, but I just need to face and solve each problem as it arises. We can't control what happens to us, but we can control how we react to it and what we do about it.    

I know I haven't posted much recently, and haven't posted anything meaningful in quite a while, but see what adversity does for us?  It got me blogging again.  But my point is that since the tragic election of last year, I've been taking comfort in the words and writings of the Stoic philosophers, and have been finding more and more that Stoicism is a more practical aid in real day-to-day life then Zen Buddhism ever was.  But the real gift I've discovered is Stoicism as seen from the perspective of Zen, or a Zen-Stoicism cocktail, if you will.  Zen Stoicism, perhaps, or Stoic Buddhism.

If you'll indulge me, I hope to post more about this in the future, but tonight, still drying out from my walks to and from my broke-ass car, I'm going to settle down for a bit with an Old Pal.  

I deserve it. 

No comments: