Optimistic Stoicism

“There is a wonder in the continuous change that surrounds us. It invites us to notice that the ‘perfect happiness’ that we are seeing for may be hidden in plain sight, right amongst the present messy unfolding of our life today.”

 

Dear Integral Meditators,

This year has been full of twists and turns. This weeks article explores one approach to navigating the winding path of our lives well! If your interested in a mindfulness practice that really thrives on uncertainty, imperfection and loose-ends, then do check out the Wabi-Sabi mindfulness – The art of creative leadership and self-leadership workshop this coming Saturday 26th, 2-5.30pm!

Last call for the Summer solstice balancing & renewing meditation tonight and tomorrow evening.

In the spirit of optimistic stoicism,

Toby

 


Optimistic Stoicism

‘Let go of certainty. The opposite isn’t uncertainty. It’s openness, curiosity and a willingness to embrace paradox, rather than choose up sides. The ultimate challenge is to accept ourselves exactly as we are, but never stop trying to learn and grow.’ ~ Tony Schwartz

For most people lack of certainty leads to a feeling of anxiety due to uncertainty, and a state of mind that is tiring, uncomfortable and that wears us down. The sense of uncertainty makes our world smaller, less seems possible, and what is possible seems unlikely to be that good!

Stoicism as a philosophy encourages us to look at the worst-case scenario in any given situation, and accept that it may happen. It also encourages us to not hope (too much) for our problems and misfortunes to change, but to endure them with fortitude. There is a certain strength and stability that comes from being stoic, and a certain peace of mind that comes from not hoping for anything better. For example, in the long stretch of time where we’ve all been going through Covid lockdowns, it’s useful to accept that this may be a long term issue that doesn’t go away fast. This enables us to settle into the space that is created, and work with it, rather than against it.

Optimism as a philosophy contrasts to Stoicism. It invites us to think that good things can happen anytime, it can work out better than we thought it would, and that the problems we have can be stepping stones to a life currently better than we can imagine. Reflection on my life shows that it is indeed true, amazing things that I could not have envisaged have happened to me, sometimes despite my mindset!

The ‘embracing of paradox’ that Tony Schwarz refers to above is represented quite well by the contrasting philosophies of optimism and Stoicism. Both hold true in their own way, and both are worth cultivating! In conversations with coaching clients recently, I have found the session exploring how we can cultivate ‘optimistic stoicism’ to create a mindset that is ready for and can account for ‘bad sh$#t happening’ but is also bright, playful and looking for the best; we are fully open to the possibilities for the future, whilst being ready for anything! Two images that I love come to mind:

  • Firstly, the Islamic saying about trusting in Allah/God but not forgetting to tie up your camel
  • Secondly the Biblical expression from Jesus about learning to be both innocent as doves and wise as serpents

So, in mindfulness terms, we are trying to notice our relationship to uncertainty, and open to it, with the paradoxical attitude of ‘Optimistic stoicism’!

A final tip of the hat to ‘Wabi-Sabi’ mindfulness which is a philosophy I’ve appreciated for a number of years now, and that to me speaks very much to the ‘optimistic stoic’. Wabi-sabi invites us to open to the broken, the imperfect, the incomplete and the unfinished in our life with appreciation. There is a quiet beauty in decay and ageing. There is a wonder in the continuous change that surrounds us. It invites us to notice that the ‘perfect happiness’ that we are seeing for may be hidden in plain sight, right amongst the present messy unfolding of our life today.

If you enjoy this article, then do check out my workshop this Saturday on Wabi-Sabi mindfulness – The art of creative leadership and self-leadership

Related articleOpening to an abundance of possibility

Watch Toby’s 45 second mindfulness video on Optimistic Stoicism:

Article & content © Toby Ouvry 2021, you are welcome to use or share this article, but please cite Toby as the source and include reference to his website www.tobyouvry.com   


Tues 22nd & Weds 23rd June, 7.30-8.30pm – Summer solstice balancing & renewing meditation
The Summer Solstice (Called by the Celts ‘Alban Hefin’, or ‘the Light of Summer’) is the high point of summer in the northern hemisphere, the point of the Suns maximum power in the year, & the longest day. It is a good time to attune the life-force in the earth & creative energies within ourselves. We will be taking the time to get in touch with our own inner power, solar confidence & expressive self.

At the summer solstice, we can think about the autumn & winter periods that lie ahead of us, what our goals & expectations are, & sow the seeds on an inner level of the things that we wish to manifest over the next few months.
Full details



Saturday 26th June, 2-5.30pm
 – Wabi-Sabi mindfulness – The art of creative leadership and self-leadership workshop

In a sentence: Learn how to work creatively with uncertainty, imperfection and life’s inherent messiness to realize your leadership and self-leadership potential.  Manage stress and anxiety better using mindfulness in combination with the practical philosophy of Wabi-Sabi.
Principle aspects of Wabi-Sabi include:

  • An appreciation of the beauty of the impermanent, the imperfect and incomplete
  • A recognition of the value of humility
  • A willingness to engage with the unconventional

Read full details


Weekend of 9,10,11th July – The Integral Mindfulness Program for Coaches, Counselors & Therapists – Creating sustainable high performance and & wellness
Overview: This is a weekend, three-session dynamic mindfulness program designed for:

  • Those looking for an engaged, practical mindfulness course designed to build resilience, effectiveness and wellness in the face of work and life challenges
  • Trainers, coaches and therapists looking to integrate mindfulness into their own professional practice with clients
  • People who have been through basic conventional mindfulness training programs and are looking for the next level of practice and performance

The essential content of the course is ten separate but interlinked mindfulness meditation practices…
Read full details


The new Mindful Self Knowledge coaching program

This is eight-month coaching program with Toby is designed to facilitate your own personal mindful self-discovery process. It focuses on:

  • Awareness of how your past experience has influenced who and how you are today
  • Confidence in approaching your present experience with playful fullness and enthusiasm
  • Giving you the inner tools to face your choices and your future in an empowered, dynamic, and authentic manner

Read full details

Watch Toby’s video on the Program:

 

 

 

 

 

 


Life-fullness – The Integral Life-Coaching Program with Toby

Are you looking a coach who can help you to:

  • Meet the challenges, stress and changes that you face in a more effective and mindful way
  • Become happier within yourself, in your relationships and at work
  • Be actively accountable for finding a sense of balance/well-being in your life and fulfilling your personal potential?
  • Guide you to find and operate from a deeper sense of meaning, motivation and connectivity in your life?
Read full details

All upcoming classes and workshops at IMA:

Ongoing – Weekly Tuesday, Wednesday Online class schedule

Ongoing on Wednesday’s, 7.30-8.30pm – Wednesday Meditation for stress transformation and positive energy with Toby (Bukit Timah)

Ongoing on Tuesday evenings, 7.30-8.30pm – Tuesday Meditation for stress transformation and positive energy with Toby  (East Coast)

Ongoing Tues/Wednesday – Meditations for physical, emotional & environmental health & regeneration – A 7-week course

Tues 22nd & Weds 23rd June, 7.30-8.30pm – Summer solstice balancing & renewing meditation

Saturday 26th June, 2-5.30pm – Wabi-Sabi mindfulness – The art of creative leadership and self-leadership workshop

Weekend of 9,10,11th July – The Integral Mindfulness Program for Coaches, Counselors & Therapists – Creating sustainable high performance and & wellness


Integral Meditation Asia

Online Courses 1:1 Coaching * Books * Live Workshops * Corporate Mindfulness Training *Life-Coaching *  Meditation Technology

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