WtP S24E3 | Nothing lasts for long
Hello, and welcome to Walk the Pod, your daily walking show where I take my podcast for a walk because I don’t have a dog. You take 10 minutes out of the day, to walk in nature, and to pay attention to what’s directly in front of you.
My name is Rachel Wheeley, podcaster and human in the world, trying to figure out how to be. There’s a squirrel just ahead of me on the footpath, the sun is shining on its white bib and it’s the most beautiful day in the world.
Welcome to episode three series 24 of Walk the Pod
What I can see directly in front of me
Somebody’s walking along just ahead of me with a bobble hat on and a backpack. A backpack which I think of as a sort of French style backpack, in that it’s a small bag with two long straps, which they are wearing over both shoulders.
When I was at school was very uncool to wear a backpack over both shoulders. So we used to walk around with half a tonne of books in our backpacks slung over one shoulder. And then we wonder why we’re lopsided for the rest of our lives.
I’ve decided, having come out of hospital the other day that I’m going to live to 100 or die in the attempt and very excited about that. Now I’m going to have to do some more regular exercise I think because walking is obviously wonderful. But it’s not cardio is it? You know, got to do a bit of I don’t know jogging or something. Maybe as we go on.
As a little brown pup on the cycle path and it’s got a massive stick in it’s mouth. It looks very happy about that, as it should be. It’s the greatest day in the world as a dog when you’ve found a massive stick, isn’t it? That’s the greatest thing ever.
I can just hear the bell in the Wimbledon Chase Primary School ringing there to bring all the kids in from the playground. And off they go. scampering in.
How the devil are you
How the devil are you, I hope you’re having a nice day. What day is it… Wednesday, beautiful day today on the bike track, sunshine, streaming down, warming my face a little bit. And I’ve got Stoics on the Cycle Path for you again, of course.
Very, very excited to be bringing you some Stoic philosophy again, having had many series where we didn’t because we sort of we exhausted Meditations. And what I needed to do was to start reading the book of letters that Seneca wrote 2000 years ago.
And I have started to read that now. So I feel like Stoics on the Cycle Path is a bit of a broader offering, then, What Would Marcus do? Which was the thing with the feature before. Now, I’ve had had some correspondence in from my ex BBC colleague Peter Sansun.
Sansun wrote that his favourite piece of stoic philosophy is by Jodi Mitchell. Sorry, if that sounded like I said Jodi, it’s because I sort of smudged the letter D from an N. I meant to say, Joni Mitchell.
Who, who sung in a song called Chinese cafe, ‘Nothing stays the same for long.’ Is that right? Is that the lyric? Hang on, can we just check that. Is it ‘Nothing stays the same for long’ or is it… No, ‘Nothing lasts for long.’ Nothing lasts for long. And she sings that multiple times in the song. Peter says, ‘It’s profound because it has at least two meanings at the same time. The surface says, ‘All things must pass.’
It also says that there is an infinitude of nothingness. Take that Jean-Paul Sartre. Now, I’ve learned very definitively about the infinitude of nothingness walking along this cycle path on the first section of the Deep Time Walk, which revealed that there was an infinitude of nothingness before anything that we’ve ever heard of happened on the Earth. There was a whole load of time when the Earth was just there was no real, no real life to start.
I’m just walking under the railway bridge. That’s why the sound is slightly different. Somebody has left a bottle of Lipton iced tea under the railway bridge today for reasons best known to themselves.
So thank you Peter for that. That’s Peter’s favourite piece of Stoic philosophy. The actual Stoics on the Cycle Path today is from not quite as unlikely a source as Joni Mitchell. But the combined brilliance of 1970s American psychoanalyst Carl Rogers, and Gabor Maté, who wrote a brilliant book called Scattered Minds, ostensibly about attention deficit disorder, but really about parenting. And I would also argue self parenting.
Stoics on the Cycle Path
This Episode 3 edition is from Scattered Minds, and I’m just going to read the whole section because I think it’s so brilliant. So Gabor Maté writes:
“In his book on Becoming a Person, Carl Rogers describes a warm, caring attitude, for which he adopted the phrase, unconditional positive regard, because he said, it has no conditions of worth attached to it. This is a caring, wrote Rogers, which is not possessive, which demands no personal gratification, it is an atmosphere which simply demonstrates ‘I care’, not ‘I care if you if you behave thus and so.’
So the first thing is to create some space in the child’s heart of hearts for the certainty that she is precisely the person the parent wants and loves. She does not have to do anything or be any different to earn that love. In fact, she cannot do anything. Because the love cannot be won and cannot be lost. It is not conditional, it is completely independent of a child’s behaviour. It is just there. Regardless of which side the child is acting from, good or bad.
The child can be ornery, unpleasant, whiny, uncooperative and plain rude and the parents still lets her feel loved. Ways have to be found to let the child know that certain behaviours are unacceptable, without making the child herself feel not accepted. She has to be able to bring her unrest, her least likeable side to the parent without fear that it would threaten the relationship. When that is made possible, absolute security is established, we can reliably expect emotional growth to follow.”
Now, I fell off my sofa when I read that for the first time because I thought to myself, yes, that is clearly, clearly the the answer to how to parent, something which nobody really knows. So they will just sort of muddle through and work it out as you go along. But when I read that, I thought, yes, that is, that’s how I’m going to parent. And indeed how I’m going to self parent, because we’re all self parenting as well as parenting – trying to help ourselves through the world, even while we’re raising small children if we are not raising small children is a perfectly valid choice of lifestyle.
So I hope you enjoyed that. If you have any thoughts raised by that particular episode of Stoics on the Cycle Path, or if you have a favourite piece of Stoic philosophy of your own, please get in touch. Email email@example.com Go to walkthepod.com. Press the button marked ‘Message’ and leave me 59 seconds of your beautiful voice, or go to @walkthepod on Instagram and you can WhatsApp me maybe? I really don’t know where that works, probably.
But let’s, let’s see. If someone could try that out for me. I’d really appreciate it or tweet @rachelwheeley.
So there are myriad ways that you can get in touch with your Stoics on the Cycle Path suggestions.
And I’m really enjoying having Stoic philosophy back on the pod because I missed it. I missed reading from Meditations and I will I will be including many extracts from Meditations in this feature. As we go on.
What can I see directly in front of me? Well, I can hear some crows, I expect you probably can too, at the top of this tree which just looking at the tree in terms of trying to work out what kind of tree it is, don’t think this is an oak tree has very small buds on the ends of all the twigs. So that’s not an oak tree and I’m looking at the ground see if I can identify from the brown leaves.
What kind of tree it is,
But I don’t know. I feel such a failure.
I’m not good at identifying trees, particularly in winter time. It’s quite difficult. Well, that feels positively Spring like today. It’s absolutely gorgeous, gorgeous weather. Nice warm, just a slight breeze, it’s beautiful.
I can see a little dog walking along slightly ahead of me – a little brown dog with its tail curled over his back. And it’s on one of those leashes that is like extendable, coming out of her a red handle, I can hear the ThamesLink, just about to go over the railway bridge.
There it goes. And looking up into the sky. It’s quite a lot of blue. Not so cloudy today.
Not cloudy at all. Now, speaking of paying attention to what’s directly in front of me, I was playing a game this morning, which was based on a game that I play with the kids sometimes when the kids are particularly not enjoying being outside, which they sometimes don’t.
We play a sort of numbers game where they have to spot numbers in the environment and the one who gets the highest number wins, which usually results in child three racing off to find a lamppost with one of those ‘don’t let your dog foul the pavement’ signs on it, which has a fine of £1000 in the UK.
And that usually wins the game because you can’t you can’t beat 1000. That’s very difficult. And the rules for that game are, you’re not allowed to use telephone numbers and the environment because obviously, those are absolutely gigantic numbers and would spoil the game. But the game I was playing with myself this morning, when I was coming back from the school run the first school run I’ve done since I came out of the hospital.
Consequently, a school run absolutely tuckered me out was, can I find the numbers 1 to 10 in the environment. And can I take a photograph of those numbers in such a way that the numbers themselves are beautiful to look at in sequence. So I was trying to do that this morning. And that’s quite fun, I recommend that to you. And it’s funny how playing that game does help you to pay attention to what’s directly in front of you because you start to notice what’s around you in the environment.
So that’s my that’s my top tip for paying attention to what’s directly in front of you for the day and if you want to send me your number sequences you can do so. The best way to do that is to join the Walk the Pod walking club and stick them in, probably the #walking-and-wellness channel, I would say would probably be best.
But there are various other ways you can get them to me if you don’t want to do that you can send them to me in all the ways I just said really you can email them to firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to, and I will be delighted to see your your numbers in the environment – maths fans.
I mean that’s not even maths that’s just numbers but you know anyway, so that’s something to do if you’re having a walk today and you’re not quite sure how to entertain yourself while you’re on your walk.
I forgot to say that you can’t use car number plates for the 1 to 10 game. The 1 to 10 numbers game requires you to use your imagination a bit more than that, so that’s the rule for that one.
Sorry about that if you’ve started already and I’ve ruined your fun, but number plates are no good.
Thank you for walking with me today. This has been Episode 3 Series 24, Walk the Pod. Thank you to everybody who’s got in touch with me to say Rach, you sound like you can breathe again on the pod.
It’s really sweet of you to get in touch with me to say that, I really appreciate it. It’s very kind of people to to notice. I thought the most the most impressive thing was that people were getting in touch with me before to say Rach you need to sort your breathing out, because that did actually make me pay attention to it in a way that I had not been.
But I really appreciate everyone who’s got in touch to say, Rach, you sound like you can breathe again. And that’s good. So thank you. I’m delighted to be able to breathe again. I’m delighted to be able to podcast because there was a point in the hospital where the things they were saying they were going to have to do to help me, we’re going to make podcasting nigh on impossible. So really very grateful to still have the power of my voice and the power of breath.
Huge fan of breathing, highly recommend it if you have a gratitude practice. I encourage everybody to include their ability to breathe in that because whilst it is rather a given and rather obvious when you start to lose it, it’s rather worrying. Kind of, kind of important.
Lots of love. Take care of your beautiful mind this afternoon and I’ll be back with Episode 4, Series 24. Walk the Pod tomorrow lunchtime.
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