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Living as if Your Life Depended on It: Choosing a Philosophical Life
Being a human being isn’t easy. This is true especially if you feel called to a life that is more than a string of moments with an arbitrary ending, but instead to a complete life: one of passion, nobility, and worthy purpose.
Nancy Sherman is a New York Times Notable Author. Her most recent book is Stoic Wisdom: Ancient Lessons for Modern Resilience. She is also the author of Afterwar: Healing the Moral Wounds of our Soldiers; The Untold War: Inside the Hearts, Minds, and Souls of our Soldiers a New York Times Editors’ pick; Stoic Warriors: The Ancient Philosophy Behind the Military Mind; Making a Necessity of Virtue: Aristotle and Kant on Virtue; The Fabric of Character: Aristotle’s Theory of Virtue, and the editor of Critical Essays on the Classics: Aristotle’s Ethics. She has written over 60 articles in the area of ethics, military ethics, the history of moral philosophy, ancient ethics, the emotions, moral psychology, and psychoanalysis. She has delivered over 60 named or keynote lectures and plenary addresses here and abroad.
Nancy is the 2022 Keynote Speaker and will talk about Stoicism as not just facing fear. Her latest book is Stoic Wisdom.
For over 25 years Sharon Lebell’s international bestseller, The Art of Living: The Classic Manual on Virtue, Happiness, and Effectiveness, has inspired philosophy lovers and the modern Stoicism movement. A modern interpretation of Epictetus’ teachings, it is a perennial classic cherished as a daily spiritual guide for readers from all walks of life. Lebell is committed to expressing ancient wisdom in accessible language so everyone can apply it to better their lives and experience philosophy’s enchantments. The imperative to marshal our gifts to improve the lives of others and the importance of art, music, and nature are central to her message of what makes the best possible life. Lebell is best known for her idiosyncratic writing and speaking about philosophy, spirituality, religion, Buddhism, Judaism, and Ethics. She is also co-author with Brother David Steindl-Rast of The Music of Silence. Sharon Lebell is a sought-after composer and performer on a one-of-a-kind 5-octave Hammer Dulcimer with 106 strings, which sometimes makes surprise appearances in her philosophical presentations. She leads a weekly online musical-contemplative gathering called “Strings of Holiness” to help participants start each day with a clear mind and an open heart. Learn more about Sharon’s music and writings on her website and find her curated collection of her favourite Stoic maxims, The Art of Living.
Sharon is Keyote Speaker and will talk about how Stoicism helps her be a better musician.
Wise up with the Stoics.
Karen Duffy is the author of the New York Times bestseller Model Patient: My Life as an Incurable Wise-Ass. She was the face for Revlon’s “Charlie’s Girl” and a VJ for MTV. She is a frequent contributor to the New York Times, Glamour, Esquire, and the New York Daily News, and has played parts in the movies Dumb and Dumber, Celebrity, and Wes Anderson’s Fantastic Mr. Fox. Her memoir Backbone: Living with Chronic Pain Without Turning into One is the best-selling inspirational, powerful, and funny manual for coping and living with devastating pain. She resides in New York with her husband and son.
Dr. Ranjini George
A female buddha and a Roman emperor: lessons for joyful living
Dr. Ranjini George holds a PhD in English Literature from Northern Illinois University, USA, an MA in English Literature from St. Stephen’s College, New Delhi, and an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia, Canada. More recently, she won the first place in Canada’s inaugural Coffee Shop Author Contest for her travel memoir, a work-in-progress, Miracle of Flowers: In the Footsteps of an Emperor, a Goddess, a Story and a Tiffin-Stall. She was an Associate Professor of English at Zayed University, Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates. She currently teaches Stoicism, Mindfulness and Creative Writing at SCS, University of Toronto, classes such as Pilgrimage to the Sacred Feminine; Stoicism and the Good Life; Dear Diary: Marcus Aurelius, Anne Frank and Thich Nhat Hanh; Mindfulness, Stoicism and Writing for Discipline and Productivity; and, Meditation and Writing. In 2019, she received the SCS, University of Toronto Excellence in Teaching award. Her book, Through My Mother’s Window: Emirati Women Tell their Stories and Recipes, was published in Dubai in December 2016.
Her most recent publication is an excerpt from her novel, Blue Flowers, a chapter entitled, “Marcus Aurelius at the Lebanese Cafe” published on Stoicism Today.
Stoicism: a solid basis for a relationship
Andi is an advocate for access, education, and equity – and a proud #MKEpreneur. She is currently leading the development of The MKE FoodSchool – a center for learning, innovation, community-building, and resource-sharing, working to create the space for an inspired and inclusive conversation around Milwaukee’s community table. She also teaches for the Milwaukee Institute of Art + Design and is program designer and capstone faculty for the graduate division of The Culinary Institute of America– where she develops and leads courses on innovation and entrepreneurship. She enjoys helping others leverage opportunities to connect and to flourish – and, she finds great value in applying lessons from Stoicism to daily life.
About her Stoic practice:
For me, and likely for many other “Type-A” / entrepreneurial types, the aspect of relinquishing control – or, perhaps better put, the relinquishing of the desire to have control – has been among the most helpful lessons I’ve taken from engaging in Stoic practice. The other aspect that I find incredibly rewarding is the opportunity to study with my partner and husband, and to share in the larger Stoic fellowship community with others in Milwaukee, where we now live – but also through the global community in Stoicon and StoiconX events like this one.
Stoicism and music
Melinda Latour is Rumsey Family Assistant Professor in the Humanities and Arts, and Assistant Professor of Musicology at Tufts University in Medford, just north of Boston, Massachusetts. A scholar of early music and contemporary popular music, Latour has recently finished her first monograph, The Voice of Virtue: Moral Song and the Practice of French Stoicism, 1574-1652, which is in production with Oxford University Press and available for pre-order. She has also co-edited a book, The Relentless Pursuit of Tone: Timbre in Popular Music (Oxford University Press, 2018), which won the Ruth A. Solie Award from the American Musicological Society. Her research has been supported by the American Council of Learned Societies and the National Endowment for the Humanities. In addition to her passion for music and philosophy, Melinda enjoys hiking, swimming, and travelling with her husband Patrick and son James, who is in 1st grade. Learn more about Melinda.
Laughing at one’s self is compatible with Stoicism.
Jennifer Baker teaches Stoic ethics at the College of Charleston and writes on how to apply stoicism to contemporary ethical issues in life and in fields like economics. She is the author over over two dozen articles in philosophy and co-editor of Economics and the Virtues for Oxford University Press. She is working on a book manuscript on economics and moral indifferents.
A Stoic approach to life helps in raising children and care-taking for five reasons: it keeps one from being selfish while being assertive; it encourages to “say no” to unpromising commitments and identities; it regards ethics as active and a comprehensive check on your choices; encourages joy; and helps one to prepare for loss and crises.
Living in Agreement
Brittany writes about Stoic moral psychology and philosophy at her website, Living In Agreement. She is a steering committee member of Modern Stoicism, and serves on the board of The Stoic Fellowship. Brittany is also the co-founder of the new nonprofit Stoicare, which aims to share Stoicism with everyone who cares about people and the planet. She is the author of Tranquility Parenting: A Guide to Staying Calm, Mindful, and Engaged and Journal Like a Stoic.
On her Stoic practice she quotes Epictetus, Discourses 1.15:
“Nothing great comes into being all at once, for that is not the case even with a bunch of grapes or a fig. If you tell me now, ‘I want a fig,’ I’ll reply, ‘That takes time.’ Let the fig tree first come into blossom and then bring forth its fruit, and then let the fruit grow to ripeness. So even if the fruit of a fig tree doesn’t come to maturity all at once and in a single hour, would you seek to gather the fruit of a human mind in such a short time and with such ease?”
Stoicism for parents
Leah Goldrick became interested in Stoicism as a result of her ongoing inquiry into the Western Wisdom Traditions. She holds Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy and History, as well as a Master’s in Library and Information Science, from Rutgers University. She is a wife, mother, children’s librarian, freelance writer and editor. Her website is Common Sense Ethics and she has a YouTube channel of the same name. She is co-editor of the forthcoming Stoicism Today: Selected Writings Vol. 3. Leah is co-founder of the Stoic Parents Facebook Group.
On her Stoic practice:
I have designed some nice-looking printables with my favourite Stoic axioms that I put on up on my fridge to remind me of what is truly important each day when I see them.
Stoicism for an absurd life
Jamie Lombardi teaches philosophy at Bergen Community College in New Jersey, where she is implementing the state’s first Corrupt The Youth Program geared toward teaching philosophy to high school students. Jamie also co-hosts the Philosophy (Zoom) Book Club with Massimo Pigliucci. Her writing has appeared in The Philosopher’s Magazine, Aeon, and The Institute of Arts and Ideas. You can find her on Twitter.
There’s lots of talk about how Stoicism can help you live a good life. But sometimes you can do all the right (Stoic) things and still lose. […] Enduring is no easy task… However, Stoicism can be something like a life vest when you’re drowning. I call this Stoicism for an Absurd Life.
Compassionate self-care and caring for others.
Eve Riches is a mentor and teacher working across disability employment support, Stoicism and Psychology teaching, mentoring looked after children and promoting disability equality. She is particularly focused on improving emotional resilience and applying Stoicism to everyday life. Eve runs a monthly Stoicism online learning group and research project with the Modern Stoicism organisation, where she is a steering committee member and she is also an advisor to the Aurelius Foundation. Learn more about Eve in this webinar for the Aurelius Foundation.
The Aurelius Foundation
Sukhraj lives in London and practises as a solicitor at a law firm. She was introduced to Stoicism through the Aurelius Foundation and enjoys reading around Stoic ideas and practice. In her free-time she enjoys yoga, voluntary work for a children’s charity and reading.
Sukhraj is one of the key contributors at The Aurelius Foundation and co-hosted Courageous Paths to Flourishing: Stoicon Women 2022.
Wisdom, wellness, and wonder
Dr Alkistis Agio is the author of From Fear to Freedom. She founded the #HellenicWellness Movement to empower and transform by sharing timeless Greek “Wisdom, Wellness & Wonder.” She writes books, leads seminars, offers mentoring and leadership training & hosts a webTV show.” Her signature system ‘The ALKISTIS Method®’ is based on Greek Philosophy & Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. Of Greek origin, she grew up in Montreal and has worked in Italy, France, Germany, Greece, the United States and the United Arab Emirates. In 2021, she organised a historic event in Athens, ‘STOICON’, the international conference of Modern Stoics.
On her Stoic practice: I use a video-journal for self-reflection, as well as written journal. I practice amor fati with every obstacle and “The View from Above.” I have been practicing memento mori since I was 16. I see myself as a cosmopolitan, a citizen of the world, and practice oikeiosis extending my love & connection to others and the planet. Alkistis’s meditation practices are informed by the work of Aristotle and Hippocrates. Listen to her guided meditations.
Accept limitations, recognise mortal compass, become better
Lalya is an Athens and London-based writer and classicist who has worked in publishing and teaching. She first started writing professionally as a book reviewer, and is now completing a Masters in Creative Non Fiction at UEA. Lalya is interested in the conversation between ancient and modern civilisations, and likes to explore history and places through people and their stories. Her work appears in Flush, Counterpoint, and Oldie amongst other publications.
Find her on Twitter and Instagram.
On her Stoic practice: Like many others at the start of lockdown, I began practising yoga at the dawn of the Coronavirus pandemic. Not long afterwards, I caught the virus and assumed it would pass; it didn’t. For a year I have lived with the symptoms of Long Covid. I had to stop doing the things that made me energised and happy, like running and riding my bike, because suddenly these activities made me ill and exhausted. But I kept up with the yoga. I began to view myself in a different light, a mortal being susceptible to universal forces. I started to accept myself with all my flaws. I feel, now, that I could face worse challenges than Long Covid, because I value myself more. I am wiser, more moderate, and more virtuous in my habits. I write a daily diary entry and do a gentle yoga practice every morning. I accept my limitations, and in recognising my mortal compass, I have become a better and more contented person.
The philosophy of everything
Elizabeth Azide, marketing professional, writer, and creator of ThePhilosophyOfEverything.com. Elizabeth Azide is a marketer and writer based in Austin, TX. A Dallas native and graduate of Texas Christian University, Elizabeth has spent her working career in the business sector, building a reputation in marketing, communications, and partnerships. By day, Elizabeth currently spearheads international marketing efforts for a growing software company. In 2016, she started a public writing project called The Philosophy of Everything (TPOE), a long-form blog dedicated to capturing how perspectives grounded in practical philosophy can optimize a particular area of daily life. Deeply invested in galvanizing others toward professional and personal goals, Elizabeth has anchored her life around ideas and pursuits that enable individuals to operate at their best. You can find her writing at ThePhilosophyOfEverything.com and can follow her on Twitter.
On her Stoic practice: Each morning as I prepare for the day ahead, I try to focus my energy and attention to the following: what are the things within my direct control/sphere of impact that, if done, could increase the chances of XYZ going smoothly or effectively? What is fully within my will, and within my capabilities? Knowing that the day can bring anything, before the bustle begins, I mentally align myself to what it is that *I* can bring, both positionally (i.e. mindset, managed expectations, intent) and practically (i.e. the tactical actions I can execute on that will support the day’s intent and/or reduce ambiguity–ex. addressing a matter proactively, preparing an agenda to support a productive and focused meeting, etc.).
Stoicism for haywire emotions
Sophia Elizabeth Shapira is a blogger/vlogger, former software developer, and Stoic prokopton. She has dealt with Autism, Gender Dysphoria, and to some extent Attention Deficit Disorder for her entire life. In early adulthood, she discovered Stoicism to be a powerful tool in navigating and dealing with these challenges. During her nearly two decades working as a software developer, she began making YouTube videos and blog posts on a wide variety of topics – some of which included her use of and experiences in Stoicism. Her three-part YouTube presentation titled “Stoicism: My Coping Mechanism” attracted significant attention. Some years later, her blog post “Why Stoicism is Great For Activism” also received attention as did her YouTube video titled “Onion Layers and Stoicism” in which she discusses a key improvement that Modern Stoicism usually makes on Classical Stoicism – an improvement that is essential for the ancient philosophy to be relevant to someone (such as herself, she says) who deals with a diagnosable condition whose symptoms can include haywire emotions.
On her Stoic practice: Even if you can not achieve the complete calmness of mind that Stoicism seeks, that does not prevent you from faithfully working toward it – and knowing that at least at that level, you have properly utilized what is in your control.
Learn more about Sophia here.
Embracing impermanence for clarity in life
Kasey Pierce is an author and editor from the Metro Detroit area. Her prose horror novella, “Pieces of Madness”, gave her residency on the comic convention circuit in 2015. She joined the ranks of Source Point Press shortly after and created the “Norah” series. This acclaimed movie-optioned sci-fi made her a household name in indie comics–eventually becoming a flagship creator for the company. Kasey has sold-out at many conventions in the US, Canada, and overseas where she’s also presented her panel on marketing and direct sales in indie comics, “Good Luck with That”. Source Point Press released her Viking horror series, “Seeress“, in 2019 and “Norah Vol. 2″ in 2020. Her next work, scheduled for release in 2021, is “Norah Vol. 3” and a space opera about Alzheimer’s, “The Other People Who Live Here”. Currently, she’s one of the editors of Donald Robertson’s graphic novel, “Verissimus: The Stoic Philosophy of Marcus Aurelius”–a sweeping epic about the life of Marcus Aurelius.
On her Stoic practice: Although I have to remind myself of this all the time…never ever let yourself be intimidated–it’s illogical. No matter how much money the other guy has, or how much experience they have on you, we’re all meeting at the same place: the graveyard. Hence, they’re not better than you in any way, shape, or form. Once you embrace the reality of impermanence, it makes the difference between what matters and what doesn’t crystal clear. In the grand scheme, the only thing that matters, in the end, is who you loved, how you loved, and your legacy. Everything else is merely a collection of data that no one will hardly remember.
Follow Kasey on Instagram @kcdwrites and Twitter @kosmickasey.
Rocío de Torres Artillo
Bringing philosophy closer to daily life.
Rocio is a digital product designer and multidisciplinary artist with a MA research in how can communication design help understand and apply philosophy to daily life. Through design, literature, painting, and songwriting, she focuses on bringing philosophy closer to daily life and sharing story tales with meaningful narratives.
On her Stoic practice: I used to be afraid of flying, which is something I need to do every two or three months due to my job. Through the Stoic practice, I have been exercising my calm when I go into a plane. I say to myself “This is a great opportunity to learn how to be calmed in difficult moments. This will teach my body and my mind to be relaxed in any other anxiety situations”. It turns out that now I love flying.
Learn more about Rocio here.
Stoicism for creative, joyful living
Kathryn Koromilas is a writer, an educator,& a gentle, joyful Stoic! She uses ancient wisdom and writing practices to help reignite creativity, reimagine purpose, and foster a thriving writing practice. In the 00s, she spent seven years living in Preveza, Greece near the ancient city of Nikopolis, where Epictetus had set up his philosophy school. More recently, she developed a very intimate relationship with Marcus Aurelius by keeping company with him and his Meditations in a quiet, morning ritual of reading, paying attention, writing, and journaling. This led her to developing a “Meditations on ‘Meditations’” practice and to presenting on this at Stoicon-x Athens, 2019. Kathryn is co-founder and co-host of Courageous Paths to Flourishing and host of The Stoic Salon Podcast.
On her Stoic practice: I find a daily contemplation of death either reading and writing with Marcus Aurelius or walking through the cemetery next door to the cottage I live in really helps clarify what I ought to focus on and what to do to live a complete, good, joyous day. There’s nothing like a moment or two of thinking about my own death to get me focused on what’s important, on what my purpose in life is. And, with that clarity of purpose and meaning, comes joy.
Learn more about Kathryn here and follow her on Instagram and Twitter.
Appreciating this beautiful life
Anne discovered Stoicism at the height of the first wave of the pandemic. It helped her regain control in uncertain times by accepting what she cannot control and appreciating the beautiful life she has been given. Anne was an inaugural Paths to Flourishing Ambassador.
Anne’s daily practice: One daily practice that helps me reflect on my progress is the evening meditation. I reflect on my day and ask myself: What did I do right? Where is room for improvement? How do I want to tackle my challenges tomorrow?