Exploring the Softer Side

There is a harshness and a hardness to the Stoics. But there is also a softness and a grace, the velvet glove over the iron first.

Think of Marcus talking about how we must come to our “journey’s end with a good grace, just as an olive falls when it is fully ripe, praising the earth that bore it and grateful to the tree that gave it growth.” First, it’s just beautiful language (and all the more impressive if you consider it was just a thought he jotted down to himself). Yet it is also an important example of that other side of Stoicism. The one that expresses gratitude and thanks and awe about the universe.

As you toughen yourself up in this life—reading these emails, practicing these exercises—make sure you don’t lose touch with that. Make sure that you practice gratitude for what has made you in this life and the things you experience while you’re here. Make sure you practice that good grace.

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