MARCH meditations on "meditations" journaling CHALLENGE

WHAT IS THIS? This is for you if you are interested in Stoic writing as literary texts and in developing a more Stoic journaling practice. For a (mostly) daily meditation prompt, thoughts, guidance, and examples for a more Stoic type of journaling practice, plus the opportunity to participate in live write-in sessions, type in your email address and accept the challenge!

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Daily March Meditations Challenge Email Archive

(Mostly) daily prompts, meditations, journal entries, motivations. 

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What Is This? About Meditations on "Meditations" (MoM)

This is for you if you are interested in Stoic writing as literary texts and in developing a more Stoic journaling practice. So, read on for background information, accept (above) my journaling challenge, join the Facebook group, and save some dates for Stoic Sunday Journaling Write-ins.  

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Vlog: Thoughts on Meditations on "Meditations."

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Background, Rationale, Approach

Meditations on "Meditations" (MoM) is (still a work-in-progress but becoming) a club and course that will provide opportunities and motivation towards developing  a modern strategy and approach to a more Stoic kind of journaling.  

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Accept the Challenge!

For a (mostly) daily meditation prompt, thoughts,  guidance, and examples for a more Stoic type of journaling practice, plus the opportunity to participate in live write-in sessions, type in your email address and accept the challenge! 

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what is this?

About meditations on "meditations"

This is for you if you are interested in Stoic writing as literary texts and in developing a more Stoic journaling practice. So, read on for background information, accept (above) my journaling challenge, join the Facebook group, and save some dates for Stoic Sunday Journaling Write-ins.  

 

Lawrence C. Becker called Stoicism an “optimization project.” This is the project that, with daily commitment, practice, and hard work, will transform us into good, happy, and productive human beings. Writing or "journaling" (dialogue with the self) is just one spiritual/intellectual/practical exercise in this optimization project. 


Last October, I formed the Stoic Writing Scene on Facebook (please join!) and together with a small group of like-minded Stoics began sharing a project called “Meditations on Meditations.” It’s a (sometimes daily :-)) Stoic journaling exercise in which I read the Meditations, and then respond in writing: I rewrite, I translate, I re-frame the Marcus Aurelius. I re-express the philosophical convictions in my own voice, I make them my own, I write them in my own Enheiridion, I write them to make them strike loud and clear, so that I can memorization and have them at hand at times of urgent need or quiet contemplation.  


I now hope to broaden the project, invite new members to the Stoic Writing Scene, and lead a practice towards developing a more Stoic journaling practice. 


If you are interested in joining me, please sign up to receive an almost daily (fate permitting) prompt, some practical ideas on how a more Stoic journaling practice might look and feel and be like, plus the opportunity to attend live group write-ins where we’ll read an excerpt, discuss and clarify the content, respond and reflect in a personal way, then go back over the text to extract are less personal, more objective and universal “teaching” which we’ll rewrite in a striking way to make it memorable to us. 


By the end of the month, we’ll have the first “book” of our very own “Meditations” or our first “Handbook.” I’ll also encourage you all to share with the group and beyond, after all a good Stoic engages in private dialogue with the self—where all the hard work happens—and then proceeds to engage in dialogue with others—maybe where even harder work happens. So, we’ll share our meditations and I’ll offer some ideas on how to creatively (if you like) do that. 


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Thoughts on Stoic Journaling with Marcus Aurelius.

A work-in-progress towards  understanding the style, structure, and purpose of Stoic writing exercises and composing my own "Meditations" or "Handbook." 

MARCH meditations on "meditations" journaling CHALLENGE

For a (mostly) daily meditation prompt, thoughts, guidance, and examples for a more Stoic type of journaling practice, plus the opportunity to participate in live write-in sessions, type in your email address and accept the challenge!

background, rationale, approach

STOIC JOURNALING WITH KATHRYN KOROMILAS AND MARCUS AURELIUS

Meditations on "Meditations" (MoM) is (still a work-in-progress but becoming) a club and course that will provide opportunities and motivation towards developing  a modern strategy and approach to a more Stoic kind of journaling.  


The MoM project will: 

  • Provide opportunities to explore Stoic writing, such as Marcus Aurelius's "Meditations"
  • Provide  opportunities to compose writing/journaling that will help us to learn, memorize, and reinforce Stoic philosophical convictions

Your objectives and expectations will be to:

  • Learn about the practice of writing in Stoic philosophy in terms of style and purpose as well as personal, philosophical use
  • Produce your own own writing, potentially even to produce your own "Encheiridion" or collection of "Notes" or "Meditations" which can serve as a handbook for daily contemplation and practice. 

My inspiration and approach:

  • Inspired by Hadot's work on Marcus Aurelius; the idea that MA's notes written in a "strict literary form" with the aim of formulating "striking maxims" to be memorable in times of need. (I'm attaching a very first PDF of Notes on Stoic Journaling--this informed my early workshop ideas. Developing a more comprehensive workbook now). 
  • Also, Hays's comments (in his intro to his translation) on the MA notes being re-expressions and a re-framing as a way of practicing and reinforcing his philosophical convictions/Stoic teachings. 
  • Also, the Hadot idea that we need to shift our perspective from a "human," personal and local perspective (from which our responses are very much based on our passions) to a "natural" and universal perspective. The Marcus Aurelius meditations are rarely personal; quite different from contemporary journaling practices (maybe) which are very much focused on personal reflection and may not employ strict rhetorical forms as a way of reinforcing and memorizing maxims and as a way of shifting our perspective from a personal to a universal one as per the Stoics. 

The MoM club/course content and process:

  • Incorporate both contemporary journaling practices, styles, and motivations of/for journaling (today we journal for various private and personal benefits, we do confessional, therapeutic, productivity-focused, creative-stream-of-consciousness to break through creative blockages, and so on) and the more ancient structured, stricter style of the Stoic writing we see in MA. 
  • I'm putting together a kind of workbook to guide this process. 
  • Next step is to write and record mini-"lessons" or "chats" and work with a group of dedicated individuals who are interested in developing a strong practice of writing (hope to do this in March during "soft-launch" of project)
  • Each lesson/club meeting would include the following activities which align with Hadot's discussion and identification of "spiritual exercises:" but also reflect a transformation of thinking (through reading, writing, re-writing) from a more personal response to the writings to a more universal reexpression--something to take away and memorize and keep for future times of need. 

  1. Reading an excerpt (We'll go in order, starting with Book 2). 
  2. Responding in writing with a personal response to the excerpt; could be a reflective piece that might be a narrative of a difficult situation one is experiencing presently, or a stream of consciousness, or even something completely creative...
  3. Discussing, researching, re-thinking, clarifying key ideas, concepts, meaning with reference to primary and secondary texts where required and editiing or adding to the personal text (towards shifting from personal to universal thinking)
  4. Re-reading excerpt and breaking down the text to bullet points or summary with the goal of now finding the essence of the excerpt and some more universal take away and to add to the personal response in (2)
  5. Re-building excerpt in own voice (maybe using a style or structure to create a more striking and memorable maxim for oneself--e.g. what Hays does to Bk 2.17--almost bullet form adaptation of the original which I find very striking). 
  6. Rewriting, re-expressing, reframing the original in a more "striking and concrete" (Hadot) way to be more memorable. 
  7. Recording for future use and sharing with others (aligning with idea that Stoic practice is a dialogue with the self but also with others).  Writing up in one's own pocket-sized handbook (to keep at hand). Creating instagrammable quotes. Writing in an email to self or posting to self. Writing to another. 


STOIC WRITING SCENE

Join a small and dedicated group for Stoic chat, practice, and writing  prompts. This is a closed Facebook group dedicated to Stoic journaling  and writing with Stoic habits.

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Meditations on "Meditations" DAILY EMAIL ARCHIVE

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DAY 1 | Introducing the March Meditations Challenge

I've been quietly working on a project I've called Meditations on "Meditations."  In this work-in-progress, I've been exploring approaches towards a more  Stoic kind of journaling. A journaling approach or strategy that helps  to shift our perspective from a typically introspective, personalized,  and local activity to a more objective, universal, and (natural, to use  the Stoic term) perspective. It's the Marcus Aurelius model with a touch  of Pierre Hadot theory.

READ

DAY 2 | An Anecdote and an End Goal

Last  October, during a depressing and anxiety-ridden bout of thanatophobia, I  signed up for Stoic Week 2018. I wrote about my paralysing fear of  imminent death in a droll blog post for Modern Stoicism,  but the reality was not funny. At the same time, a friend of mine was  concerned about his own death—his was more the financial-ruin type of  death. His company was dying a slow death and taking him with him.

READ

DAY 3 | Why Do You Journal?

So. Why do we journal today? And, what do we journal today? We do gratitude journaling, bullet journaling, productivity journaling, therapeutic journaling, confessional journaling, reflective journaling, and for creative blockages, we do freestyle, stream-of-consciousness journaling, and “morning pages” journaling.

READ

DAY 4 | People Annoy Me and Other Reasons to Journal

One of the most controversial and difficult things to do as a social human being is to deal with people. Journaling can help. If I sit with a blank page—physical or digital—and start on this topic, I can go on and on and on…

READ

DAY 5 | Throw Away Thy Books! Stop Being Distracted!

So, forget your books, and magazines, and social media. Stop being distracted and just focus... Marcus Aurelius was probably not talking about frivolous reading as a distraction but even the more "serious" variety. Keeping your head in a book, any book, is a way of avoiding the present moment. We get lost in books, lost in thought. The interesting thing about reading the book of the Meditations is that you are always forced out of it, away from it, back into the world. 

READ

Day 6 | Don't be grumpy about death. And, books. Again.

Speaking of grumbling grumpiness. Did you see the article in The Atlantic reporting that Bernie Sanders' grumpy persona is not the way to "brand" a successful presidential campaign? Two thousand years ago, Marcus Aurelius is re-branding his own campaign,  his campaign towards a life of virtue and a good death. And grumpy grumblings are discarded in favour of cheerfulness and truth! How  does he do that? 

READ
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DAY 7 | How many extensions have you given yourself to do the thing you keep putting off?

Remember  how long you’ve been putting this off," writes Marcus Aurelius, to  himself. "How many deadlines you've been given and you didn't meet  them." Oh, I remember. And, new deadlines and extensions of time? I've lost count. And time? Running out...

READ

DAY 8 | Focus. Just focus.

"Every moment, think steadily," writes Marcus Aurelius, to himself. Easier  said than done. Thinking steadily, focusing, paying attention—these are  personal skills that I’ve lost over the years, so I really focused on  studying and rewriting today's meditation.

READ

DAY 9 | You only get one life. Respect it.

"Do  wrong to thyself, do wrong to thyself, my soul," writes Marcus  Aurelius, to himself. "But, then you won't be able to respect yourself." Today's meditation is about the one life we get to live and how to respect it.

READ

DAY 10 | You are so easily distracted, aren't you?

"Do the things external which fall upon thee distract thee?" writes Marcus Aurelius, to himself. Today's meditation is about distraction, wasting time, and committing instead to learning new, good things.

Read

Day 11 | Attention. Pay it. To your head, not others.

"Through  not observing what is in the mind of another, a man has seldom been  seen to be unhappy," writes Marcus Aurelius, to himself, "but those who  do not observe the movements of their own minds must of necessity be  unhappy." Today's meditation is about paying attention to what's going on in your own head and not focusing on others.

Read

Day 12 | How do you relate to nature? You're a part of it.

"What is the nature of the whole," writes Marcus Aurelius, to himself. "And what is my nature, and how is this related to that?" Today's meditation is about nature, being a part of it, and acting in harmony with it. 

Read
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MARCH meditations on "meditations" journaling CHALLENGE

For a (mostly) daily meditation prompt, thoughts, guidance, and examples for a more Stoic type of journaling practice, plus the opportunity to participate in live write-in sessions, type in your email address and accept the challenge!