Pre fast Day 0
a reflection of the triage of control in my own life
Date: 11/23/2009 8:21:27 AM ( 10 y ) ... viewed 9364 times
I started reading a book "A Guide to the Good Life" by Prof William Irvine based on idea of Stoicism by ancient Greek philosophers. It is a very good book, whose ideas I have surprisingly discovered through my own trial and error and practised as I was growing up. I shall write about what I learn for the next few weeks.
One of the things the book talks about is negative visualization, a mind trick that engenders satisfaction of our presence and enlivens our spirits towards the future. I have stopped practising this for a long time now. It is about time I started using this tool again.
Another important lesson I was reminded of is the true control I have over my life. Stoicism discusses a triage of control: 1) some things are completely within our control 2) some things are completely out of our control 3) some things are not within our control but we have some control over it. The Greek Philosophers espouse focusing on things that are completely within our control and avoid the things that are completely our of our control in order to ensure happiness. As for the third category of control, we should do our best, where doing our best ie adjusting our goals to practising as often as possible in lieu of winning the match is in fact, within our control.
Here is a categorical list of things in my life right now:
1) Some things which are completely within my control
a- No matter how wretched my past is or how unhealthy my family relationships are or how much I have lost during my "life crisis", what remains unchanged is my character and like Stacy Kent sang "They can't take that away from me." What makes me the unqiue me, which garners the humbling praises by people around me, is still within me and as long as I stick to my guns, I know I will be fine; I will no longer have to be a perpetual worrywart on edge and actually grab the bull by its horns and live life happily. Because I am the same girl, always sweet, always cute, always unique, always personal.
b-my plethora of health problems are not "incurable" because I have vitality on my side and a deep-rooted belief that the body is powerful, encompassing its own self-healing powers. Fasting is daunting enough when I think about it, let alone putting it into action. However, if I exercise self-control, I will gain a daily sense of confidence in my ability to modify my impulses and a long term gain of many many wonderful things.
2) Some things which are completely out of my control
a- my relationship is on the rocks and it hurts me dearly because he is a great man but my determination to resolve my "life crisis" on my own (I have sought refuge back home) these few months--now, culminating in a fast-- he is bent on believing that I do not need him and he does not know if he can trust me anymore. I am not sure if others feel the same way but I think there comes at least once a time in life where a major storm hits and the damage is catastrophic. While support is welcome, there is an intuitive need to shut out the world and find one's way to a breakthrough. This is a critical time of my life and my 99%-reliable hunch tells me I CAN rescue myself and HAVE TO do it, by trusting and listening to myself. I love him more than he knows and while I am upset that my decision to take care of my personal affairs may have kissed my relationship goodbye, I know that when we do finally meet in 4 weeks, how we respond to each other is not up to my control. Will he still love me enough to want to work things out? Will he ever trust me again? What if he has already started dating someone else without my knowledge?
I have come to a point where I accept that in a month, the truth may be that, with a new interest or otherwise, B may not love me anymore, but I will wish him my most sincere blessings, because I love him and I have a good heart.
a-my parents' problematic marriage is the root of all my problems ever since I was a child: low self-esteem, a constant need to prove myself, overworking, bulimia, an elitist attitude, pessimism and general unhappiness. While my "life crisis" has forced me to reevaluate all aspects of my life, I am still most ashamed to turn out to be one of those people I sympathize, the people with a sparkling facade but what is really a crumbling mess. Perhaps, the only advantage I have over most of my peers are that I know exactly what I do not want to be to my child and spouse if I have a family one day--all thanks to my parents.
I do wish very much to move out and live on my own but knowing my parents are financially cash-strapped due to my brother's decision to study medicine overseas (his fees run up to at least 6 times my fees for medical school), I could not bear to further burden my parents. I wish to move out because it offers me a physical separation from their problems. How nice it would be if B and I could work things out and I move in with him, like he always wanted, but I digress. Even though I cannot change the mentalities and behaviours of my parents, I can do my best make them happy and serve as a lubricant for their marriage. Allowing them to fetch me to school and making the effort to at least sit down for a meal and do a family activity with them may be really good for them. But I tell myself I cannot change them and I must not let their problems affect me any longer, because though they have no idea about this, my sensitivity to their ill marriage has huge and obviously long-lasting repurcussions on me.
3) Some things which are beyond my control but I still have some control over it
a- I cannot control if I can make it into the Dean's list this year in medical school but what I can do for sure is to be as diligent and meticulous and repetitive in my work as possible. Being precise and accurate have always been my forte but with the current intensity of the workload, the upcoming exams, I expect, will be very difficult. Sure, it will be no cinch, but I know if I just put my nose to the grind, I will be able to outwit, outmug, outlast this testy exam.
My fast starts tomorrow. Here goes....
Lots of love.
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