“Rejoice in the things that are present; all else is beyond thee.” – Michel de Montaigne
“My formula for greatness in a human being is amor fati: that one wants nothing to be different, not forward, not backward, not in all eternity. Not merely bear what is necessary, still less conceal it . . . but love it.” – Friedrich Nietzsche (borrowed from Ryan Holiday)
“Be still my heart; thou hast known worse than this.” – Homer, The Odyssey
One thing that’s impressed me over the last three months is the resilience and grace of so many people facing adversity. Is the world unfair? Yes, of course it is, but that doesn’t mean we have to be bitter about where we are in this moment. Embrace the suck, love the moment and learn from it. And really, it doesn’t all suck, does it? There’s so much good happening in every moment – change the focus of your internal lens and you’ll see it more clearly.
The Homer quote above has stuck in my head since I read The Odyssey at the age of 19. It’s sitting on a shelf waiting patiently for me to come back to read again like Penelope waiting for Odysseus to stop pissing off the gods and get home already. Anyway, it’s come in handy over the years, right up there with “this too shall pass” on my list of phrases I say to myself when things get challenging. And let’s face it, things are challenging at the moment. But how we react to it is more important than what we’re reacting to. Amor fati: love of fate, seems to have worked for the stoics, for George Washington, Friedrich Nietzsche and countless others over the centuries, and it will work for us too.
I’ve been guilty of complaining about things a bit too much, and I’m working to change that little character flaw. If I’ve learned anything, it’s that complaining just fuels the suck. It all ends badly for all of us, or it all ends as it should for all of us; it’s all a state of mind either way. Rejoice in what you can control, forget what is beyond you, and love the moment you’re in. For this moment, even if it’s not what we might want, is the only moment we have. This, and we, too shall pass. Rejoice in this moment.