One of my CORE principles is to feel life. Another one is approach life like a Stoic. Yes, these are in conflict.
When my heart was attacked on March 27, 2021, my aim was not to feel life. Would. Not. Have. Served. Me. Well. So, instead, I practiced stoicism as best my sorriness knew how. I calmed my mind and focused on what I could control. I didn’t focus on the pressure or the pain. I didn’t try to feel much of anything, really. I told myself a version of my mantra (keep working), and said it over and over, quite slowly too, “Chet, just get another breath.” And so I did. Might just have saved me from myself.
When my heart is attacked in normal, everyday life I don’t often practice stoicism. I tend to react. I feel like someone has cut me to the bone when they don’t return a phone call! I feel rejected, unworthy, and unwanted at the drop of a look much less a word or two. I quickly take all kinds of other peoples stuff out of context. I feel pain and hurt, relationally, so much more acutely than physically. What’s up with that. I mean give me a heart attack any day vs dealing with the seemingly daily, personal attacks on my heart.
Your CORE principles are meant to remind you how you want to work and live. None of us lives them perfectly because we are all a work in process. God, help me receive more love so I can take more so called “attacks.” God, help me build more than physical stamina. God, help me build the ability to sit in another’s pain, see another’s hurt, and sit in their attack and understand I’m not their aim. God, help me deal with my inner conflict; fixing another’s, not so much.
What, friend, are you doing to strengthen your ability to stand? When do you need to feel life and when is it the proper response to not? Slow down. Write. Reflect. Keep working.
Live hard. Love harder…