Day 4 Stoic Week Virtue



Quiet 5 mins

Thinking about what ‘Virtue’ means

If you find anything in human life better than justice, truthfulness, self-control, courage… turn to it with all your heart and enjoy the supreme good that you have found… but if you find all other things to be trivial and valueless in comparison with virtue give no room to anything else, since once you turn towards that and divert from your proper path, you will no longer be able without inner conflict to give the highest honour to that which is properly good.

I looked at these exercises from The Stoic Week handbook:

What’s ultimately the most important thing in life to you?

What do you want your life to ‘stand for’ or ‘be about’?

What would you most like your life to be remembered for after you’ve died?

What sort of thing do you most want to spend your time doing?

What sort of person do you most want to be in your various relationships and roles in life, e.g. as a parent, friend, at work or in life generally?

You could also ask how far your core values match what the ancient Stoics meant by ‘virtue’, especially character traits such as wisdom, justice, courage, and moderation

I spent a long time thinking and writing about what values are and how sometimes when my personal values differ from others, it may be helpful to recognise that and decide to accept the differences.

My new book ‘CBT at Work For Dummies’, spend a few sections looking at how personal values can be at odds with work values, both in terms of colleagues and company values. How to deal with the potential conflicts in order to create peace of mind and consciously minimise stress.Dummies cover


Bodmin Ale jail

By gillgarratt

Day 3 Stoic Week Mindfulness

People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills; and you too are especially inclined to feel this desire. But this is altogether unphilosophical, when it is possible for you to retreat into yourself at any time you want. There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind, especially if he has within himself the kind of thoughts that let him dip into them and so at once gain complete ease of mind;

Morning meditation – walking meditation with my borrowed dog http://www.borrowmy  She is a great companion, I throw the ball, she runs off, eventually drops it in my path and we start over again

borrowmydoggy  meditation

borrowmydoggy meditation


Mindful of the eating plan described by the Stoic Musonius Rufus – oats or lentils for breakfast, and one simple meal between 1500 – 1700 hours

‘Stoics don’t eat lunch and don’t make a fuss about it’

I have been mindful of the Stoic ideas and some of the practices since the first Stoic week three years ago.

This week has helped me focus on eating under control, simple nutritious food and making an effort to include more exercise. I have just started going back to ‘spinning classes’ ( stationary cycling) at the local Fitness centre. Goal – 3 a week.

Evening reflections – How it doesn’t help dwelling on negative thoughts.

The links to Cognitive behavioural Therapy and Stoic ideas – how being part of this group encouraged me to write my third book, just published.

My second book is about the Psychology of the relationship between dogs and people – I have learnt so much

The Stoics wrote about their dogs. I included a quote from Aristotle about his view of dogs.

Dummies cover

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Day 2 Stoic Week 2015 Tuesday

What is in our control

Early in the morning, when you are finding it hard to wake up, hold this thought in your mind: ‘I am getting up to do the work of a human being. Do I still resent it, if I am going out to do what I was born for and for which I was brought into the world? Or was I framed for this, to lie under the bedclothes and keep myself warm?’ ‘But this is more pleasant’. So were you born for pleasure: in general were you born for feeling or for affection? Don’t you see the plants, the little sparrows, the ants, the spiders, the bees doing their own work, and playing their part in making up an ordered world. And then are you unwilling to do the work of a human being? Won’t you run to do what is in line with your nature? — Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, 5.1

Morning meditation – watching the sun rise

Mindfulness – not resenting the thought of the manual labour needed today

Stoic mindfulness (Prosorche) Reminding myself it is not things or people that upset me but my judgements about those things and people. Sharing with a friend how allowing time to process information, allowing at least an hour to allow feelings to settle down, before deciding on any action to take.

‘ Not to  make a big decision when feeling emotionally charged’

There are things I cannot change, working towards accepting them will bring about a calmness

Evening reflections – work, friendship, adversities, acceptance, walking to the sea, the beauty of nature.

Saw this sign on way to work

Saw this sign on way to work

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Stoic Week 2015 Nov 2 – 9th

Day 1
Morning meditation – 5 mins
Goal – put acceptance into practise
Lunchtime mindfulness
Exercise – town walk
Nature – beauty of the ocean
Evening – reflections


A glimpse down the road on my town walk revealed this beautiful tall Ship passing by

A glimpse down the road on my town walk revealed this beautiful tall Ship passing by

Stoic 2015 hard work

By gillgarratt

Stoic Week Day 3

Theme on Wednesday was ‘Self Discipline & Stoic Simplicity’

Morning meditation on not wasting time on earth and getting caught up in more material wealth.

I used a candle for meditation in the dark.

I was reminded of self discipline when I went to where my practice room is at the gym. It was packed later when it opened. There is no heating, and it is over a big sail loft, so it gets quite chilly in the workout areas. Many women being self disciplined, doing their circuits.

gym piccandle

I still follow Musonius’s advice about eating simple food with mindfulness for breakfast. Also if get hungry, not to worry about low blood sugar but ‘to endure hunger:endure it with the right attitude. Isn’t that within your power?’

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Stoic Week Day 2

Yesterday the theme for the day was Stoic Mindfulness.

I was mindful of the evening sky on the way back into work

Tresco Sunset 25th Nov

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Stoic Week 2014 Day 1

I decided this year to use the free book written by our team ‘ Stoicism Today’.

Last time I blogged Stoic Week, 2 years ago, I wanted to improve my life with diet and exercise and awareness of nature.

Those new Stoic habits endure today.

I ate a simple diet ( not just lentils, though) but I did start every day with oats and blueberries, 50 grams to be precise.

I walked every day for an hour

I meditated in the morning, reflected on the day at night and practised doing one helpful thing for others each day.

2 years later, I still eat healthily, have lost 2 stone, am mindful of trying to be in nature and walk every day, conscious of it’s beauty. I even swim in the sea without a wetsuit. Last swim October 1st. It is amazing. The first 4 minutes are arrrrghh, jolly freezing, then you get an amazing wave of euphoria, as your body gets used to the temperature. To be fair, the sea had been about 17 degrees centigrade since May.

Day 1 Nov 24th

What is in my power day

Looking at the Stoic handbook, this was the theme for Monday.

Started the day with jumping out of bed to go and photograph the beautiful sunrise over the sea.

Quiet meditation

Procrastinated over getting on with writing my next book with deadline for first 25% looming.

What was in my power was to clean the kitchen.  I was aware of engaging in displacement activities to avoid the hard bit of writing 1000 words a day for my next book, which I have signed the contract for.

I sat at computer and distracted myself more with social media sites.

Wrote 200 words.

Editor of other book, now in production process emailed with queries over the manuscript. Prioritised response.

I did one helpful thing. I took a picture of some small wellingtons for her fabulous blogsite ‘Red Welly,Yellow Welly,Dawn Start, looking at great tStoic Week 2014 flyer Red welly blue wellyings to visit in Cornwall. I thought she might like the junior version of the wellies for the childrens’ section.

Had a walk in the sunshine. Participated in community by dropping a letter in neighbours’ doors about proposed

planning application to change the  windows in the University library, which we all back on to.

Friend called in. Lovely chats with a cuppa and transported to the beautiful Lake District as she described her Summer travels.

Watched as the day turned through twilight, amazing silhouettes of the trees and ancient walls against a cobalt blue sky.

Fade to black.

Evening reflections

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15 minute Mindfulness exercise by Donald

This is a great way to start or finish the day – I was amazed that it was nearly 16 minutes, it really does help you focus on the present. and research shows that the benefits of doing this kind of exercise are accumulative…………………. try it

I am going to incorporate it into my Stoic Week plan

By gillgarratt