Sunday, 4 December 2011

Some (Sunday) soul food: Marcus Aurelius

Hello sweet Planetarians! This week's Soul Food is a little late as Mr PB and I spent last night on a rare 'date night' at a work Christmas dinner while his parents and their cute new Poodle puppy, Tosca, babysat the pixies. It was such a change to frock up, actually *hold hands* and engage in fascinating adult conversation with our dinner companions! More of it, I say ☺.

I thought I'd share with you a thought of Marcus Aurelius, the Roman Emperor from 161-180 AD. Some of you may be familiar with him as as a character in the recent film 'Gladiator'featuring Russell Crowe. A thoughtful philosopher, many of his ideas have survived to the present day and have a timelessness which makes them just as valid now. 
The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts: 
therefore, guard accordingly
and take care that you entertain no notions unsuitable to virtue and reasonable nature.

It's a goodie, isn't it? It is consistent with the soul food we looked at here

The first line resonates with me the most, especially as I have been recovering from my post-natal depression

A dear friend of mine refers to the 'Gobbler of good thoughts', that little fellow (for me, he's male and sits on my right shoulder, whispering into my ear when I'm stressed and feeling low) who can be that whispering voice of doubt in your head when the chips are down. You know - that voice that undermines you, second-guesses you and questions why you are thinking such thoughts. 

It's the voice that 'whittles you down' which we talked about here.

Over the past few years, I've really been working on banishing that little fellow from my mind. I'm still very much a work-in-progress, believe me - it's not something I can change overnight after nearly 40 years of letting him hold sway in my life.

But I'm getting there. Thankfully.

And I have so many of you *heart-lifter* Planetarians to thank for that.

As for 'notions unsuitable to virtue and reasonable nature', that's obviously going to be a matter of personal taste and accord with your circumstances. But I take that to mean negative thoughts, the type that drag you down.

So, my friends, over to you. Please dive in and share your thoughts on Marcus Aurelius's idea.

Is it a 'no-brainer' to you as you've always intrinsically felt and realised that truth, living your life accordingly? If so, then I'm genuinely delighted for you. 

Or are you like me and on a journey which involves reshaping your thinking in order to raise yourself up in order to let your light truly shine

I'm looking forward to hearing your thoughts. Let's get that ball rolling!


  1. hello darling girl ... I think we all know this is a universal truth but I think (kindly) that anyone who says they have it sussed and is under 80 years must live in a vacuum ... work in progress I say - hugs le xox

  2. Definitely on that journey with you Jane!
    I am finding The Happiness Project to be good food for thought.
    I try to read a chapter and then contemplate it for a bit.
    I very much understand the concept you speak of "the voice that whittles you down."
    I found that very much so last year, but this year I am turning things around.
    Glad to hear you got a rare date night. What a treat! We are long overdue for one of those.
    I love the pic that you have posted. It just says "joy" to me and reminds me of childhood moments with my Sister.
    I think children help us capture what happiness and joy truly are, don't you?
    Good luck on your journey, as I travel along with you.

  3. That little man sits on my left shoulder and gives me such a pain in the neck. He weighs you down does he not.

    Agree with le, "a work in progress"

    take care lovely jane


  4. Ahh Jane. My husband just fell a little in love with you. A blogger that quotes Marcus Aurelius? You rock.

    I love love love that quote. SO useful.


  5. I think we should all be works in progress, thats how we grow!!

  6. Yes - as usual!!
    Our thoughts are really and truly the one thing we can control.
    They're exclusively ours and can make or break us.
    I often wonder why my inner voice sometimes speaks such harsh criticism to my heart - when I would never dream of speaking to somebody else so cruelly or accept someone else speaking that way to me.
    We should counsel ourselves as we would our best of friends.
    Easier said than done, of course.

  7. You really are 'getting there', Jane. You've been so patient and kind to yourself, which is the most important thing of all. Oh, that and Avignon 'virtuous' thoughts - which all sounds a bit sweet-sixteen, but I kind of get it. I 100% agree with old Marcus - we very much are the essence of our thoughts. Which is great because then we really do get o choose... x

  8. Oh SNAP Jane, we had the work Christmas function last night also... AND a very rare night out just hubby and I, while my wonderful parents babysat. We had so much fun... I, maybe a little too much of the bubbly variety... but it was good to get out for lots of socialising and a good boogie ;o)
    Well, what can I say, you've found yet another terrific soul food quote. Thoughts are such a powerful thing, because most times they determine the actions we take. Very dangerous when I think of it that way, but it does seem to be the case in my world anyway. Therefore, it just stands to reason that if we can keep those thoughts positive, constructive, nurturing, then we're well over half way to living a happy, centred life. I am also a total work in progress, as I have mentioned before Jane, so I could do well to keep this quote on my mind (or maybe written down somewhere visible), for all those times when I turn my thoughts to negative.
    Thanks for sharing Jane... so pleased you had a nice night out with hubby :o) xo

  9. What a beautiful post....I am so glad I found you:) I actually very much agree Marcus Aurelius on this point.
    I think I started with a good print that may have gotten muddied on my journey. I just have to work on letting go of the fear that I have picked up and allow myself to enjoy the present without fear of the future and learn to love without the fear of losing. Thank you for sharing this with us! ~ Barefoot Mama

  10. To counter those thoughts, I always apply some wise advice my mother gave me - be your own best friend. When entertaining ideas of self doubt, ask yourself, what would your best friend say to that? And be kind to yourself in the same way. Perhaps not as eloquent as Marcus, but delivered in a way that is easy to remember and practically apply.

  11. Ah, so many of my favourite Planetarians here, leaving so many insightful and moving comments - brilliant!

    @Le Hear, hear!

    @Kat I still can't fathom how similar our life paths are at the moment ☺. I must get back into reading 'The Happiness Project' - it's brilliant. I'm been getting to bed too late to read it - one of Gretchen's suggestions, of course, is to go to bed earlier ☺. Happy to be walking this path with you as well, Gorgeous.

    @Jill Hey, are you left-handed?! Mine's always perched firmly on my right shoulder...

    @Lucy Ooh, * blushing* in Hobart! I'm so delighted to find a fellow Marcus fan out there ☺.

    @Jen Agreed. Totally.

    @Shar We are on exactly the same page, my friend. Time to turn it over, don't you think?

    @Barefoot Mama So fabulous to see you here! Good luck with letting go of that fear - another WIP for me ☺.

    And @Teresa That is truly the best advice. Thanks for sharing it. Note to self: remember Teresa's quote! J x


Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts, you gorgeous soul. You've just made my day! J x

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