The Importance of Tranquility

Photo by Dingzeyu Li on Unsplash

Athenodorus balanced out his teachings on sobriety and hard work with a focus on the importance of tranquility, particularly for leaders. Yes, we must carefully follow public affairs, but it was also necessary to leave behind the grind of work and the stress of politics with retreats into the private sphere of friends.
~Lives of the Stoics, Ryan Holiday and Stephen Hanselman

One of my goals for this year is to get out in nature more. I used to love hiking. I would take a trip to a state park from time to time just to get out. But I got lazy. I stopped doing something I enjoyed because I didn’t “have time” to get away.

So, I bought a state park pass for this year. My plan once the weather gets nicer is to go at least monthly. There’s also a nice park or two here in town that I can visit with some regularity. It’s just a matter of getting off my butt and doing it.

But why is this so important to me?

Over the last few years, I’ve been reconnecting with hobbies I enjoyed when I was younger. I got back into baseball cards. At least, before the flippers started ruining that last year. I started fishing again. I planned on picking up bowling again before everything got shut down in 2020. And, now, my hope is to go hiking more.

Part of this rekindled desire is a result of simply trying to get healthy once again. I’ve not taken great care of myself physically the last couple of years, and, surprisingly, it’s not just happening as I get older.

But another part is more spiritual than anything else. It’s a form of Sabbath. A time to set aside the everyday stress and focus on reconnecting. With God, myself and those closest to me.

If you aren’t familiar, the idea of Sabbath comes from the creation story in Genesis. After six days of creating, God rests on the seventh. This rest is so important that it becomes one of the Ten Commandments handed down by God to the people of Israel. And not just one of the Ten, but the one with the most explanation around it. Look in Exodus 20, and you’ll see the most verbiage is found on the command to observe the Sabbath.

Athenodorus recognized this timeless truth in his Stoic teachings as well. We all need times of rest and peace. We all need to get away from time to time. So, whatever you need to do to make that a reality in your life. Do it. Find your peace. Find your tranquility. Find your center. And everything else in your life will flourish.

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