September 13

WHAT shall I do, then?

What do you do when you come out of a ship? Do you take away the rudder or the oars along with you? What do you take, then? Your own: your bottle, and your bundle. So in the present case, if you will remember what is your own, you will not claim what belongs to others. Are you bid to put off your consular robe? Well, I am in my equestrian. — Put off that too. Well, I am naked. — Still, you raise my envy. Then e'en take my whole body. If I can throw off a paltry body, am I any longer afraid of a tyrant?



  1. WHAT shall I do, then? Remember what is your own, and you will not claim what belongs to others. Yours are your choices, your virtues and your intentions. Of those things that you may think are yours, your body, family, reputation and the like, only that part which you can affect is yours. The rest belong to others, to the fates, to the Gods.

  2. We often say our body is our own but, when we are faced with pain at every step or letter typed, is our body really our own? Our choices, our virtous acts and our intentions are really the only things that are truly ours in this life. It is how we live through life's challenges and blessings that shows our true character. The rest of life, even our circumstances, belong to others or the Gods.

  3. Everything is left behind us. Jobs, loved ones, possessions, health, and eventually, our very bodies fall away from us like sand. Why do we try to hold the mists? Don't place yourself in these ephemeral phantoms. You are your choices and intentions, your actions in calm, your reactions in storm. Lay hold of your mind, for while that is yours also, care for it. Soon enough, you will be but the momory of what you have done in the minds of the living. - Inspired by Epictetus