Ben Franklin’s 13 Virtues: Week 11, Q4
Tranquility: “Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.”
- Trifles are life’s paper cuts;
- A lot can be gained from taking a breath and letting go;
- Focus on what matters.
It’s easy to say, “Be not disturbed at trifles,” when your daughter isn’t singing girl-pop at the top of her lungs, 6am Monday morning, before coffee, before you’re awake. It’s easy then. “Baboo-oo-oo-oons, I wish we could go our separate ways. Baboo-oo-oo-oons…” Have you ever heard a super, energetic 5 year old belt out Lion Guard? While you’re trying to write? While you’re trying to think? It takes significant self-restraint not to lash out. I wanted to lash out, but didn’t. I won that day, but not everyday. So I thought: When didn’t I win? When did the urge to lash out win? One month in particular stood out.
I stopped writing one month because it was recommended to take some time off before editing — so I took a month off. Incrementally at first, but steadily, all the bad habits came back. I filled my time with the computer: consuming news, staring at portfolios, checking Facebook. Days passed, and I became angrier — significantly so. I felt like Saturday morning after too many Friday night scotches. But this time I couldn’t blame commuting, or job, or alcohol or lack of exercise. The problem was me — my mind. An idle mind and the devil and all that, it was true. The result: Tranquility slipped, and then all the other virtues slipped too.
I lost Tranquility. I lost the ability to remain calm, to refrain from snapping, to be happy. Nothing seemed worth keeping around. I lost it because I stopped writing, I stopped filling time with quiet. Writing quiets my mind; so does manual labor or cleaning (it’s funny but it’s true), and playing with my kids. When I stopped filling time with quiet, and replaced it with the shallow, it was like replacing a healthy meal with junk. It tasted good at first, but over time it took its toll, offered no sustenance. My world became chaotic, those closet to me became a burden; 12 months of progress were nearly wiped out by 1 month of regression. You really need to stay on your guard. An idle mind and the devil and all that.
Ben Franklin’s 13 Virtues: Week 12, Q4
Chastity: “Rarely use venery but for health or offspring. Never to dullness, weakness or the injury of your own or another’s peace or reputation.”
- Everyone’s favorite week;
- Life certainly is different now.
It’s Monday morning, the furthest thing from my mind is sex. Right now, all I want to do is to go back to bed. That would be better than sex, that and a washer/dryer in our apartment (our baby — the biological result of sex — was throwing up last night). Sex has changed in so many ways.
Don’t worry about being chaste this week. If you can sneak it in, I’m all for it! But maybe give a thought on how it has changed for you.
Have a great week