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Sam! Welcome back. I’m excited for this new column.

I’ve used principles of Stoicism in my life to great success! I wouldn’t go so far as to say I’m a Stoic, but I have read some Seneca and Marcus Aurelius and I’ve applied the lessons you talk about in order to ground myself, to make better decisions, and to improve my mood and relieve stress. Knowing what’s within your sphere of control is something I’ve also written about before, and it’s a crucial question to explore, IMO. One other thing I’ve done was to try to curb my judgments, to see the world as less black and white and more in shades of grey. I also meditate (using Sam Harris’s Waking Up app), and the principles Sam and other teachers on the app talk about are very similar and complementary to Stoic philosophy.

Regarding the art you’ve shared, I haven’t read Circe, but I devoured Song of Achilles. Miller is such a gifted, magical, cinematic writer!

To cut this short, I’m glad you’re back. Looking forward to hearing from you again soon.

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Oh I’ll have to check out Waking Up! I usually use Insight Timer for the guided meditations, but haven’t been finding great ones lately. I really do need to read Song of Achilles...few fiction writers have grabbed me lately quite like Madeleine Miller.

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This such a cool new feature!

Current status: hungry and wanting to discuss Stoicism with someone!

Can’t wait to read the dessert post for this salon!

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Thanks so much, Mikey! I am also ready to discuss--considering whether it might make sense to accompany these with chats going forward...

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Ooo that sounds like a great idea

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I feel like it makes sense, but I won’t lie, I’m afraid of the potentially deafening silence 😂

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Sep 21, 2023Liked by Samantha Childress

I second the motion for a live chat! (Or maybe two, since we readers come from lots of time zones.) If you schedule it, I'll show up. :) I think the fast pace of a live conversation may help people break free from the pressure to write a perfect mini-essay. It's also more welcoming to people who haven't read the books or seen the movie, because they can respond to the themes in other people's comments, instead of responding directly to the prompts.

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Such great points, Victoria! You’re right--I feel way more pressure to write something insightful in an asynchronous comment section than I do in a live chat. I think I’m going to go for it next month...I would love to see you there! ☺️

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As long as it’s open it to free subscribers too, i think you’ll be alright. Andrei and I will debate each other in there at the very least!

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And I love you guys for that!!

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Sep 27, 2023Liked by Samantha Childress

Hi Sam, I love this idea. I loved Miller’s Circe too - maybe a case of right book/right time but Circe came alive on the page for me in a way that reminded me of childhood reading, when you are completely immersed in another world. I have read The Lost Daughter but not seen the film. I’m not sure how closely the film follows the book but I wonder, would a healthy dose of stoicism have helped Leda come to terms with the feelings she had about motherhood?

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Hi Sam (always a pleasure to meet another Sam)—glad to have you here! I agree about Circe. It’s been a long time since I’ve felt that engulfed in a fictional world.

I haven’t read the Lost Daughter, and perhaps Leda's journey is more nuanced in the book, but as I watched the movie I definitely wondered the same. Would Leda have ended up happier if she had accepted the constraints of motherhood and figured out a way to work within them (recognizing, of course, that her career wasn’t going to look the same as it would had she been childless) rather than walking away entirely? Sometimes a situation is intractable and something has to give, but it seems to me that, while Leda's choice made her feel better in the short term, it was devastating in the long run and perhaps she regretted it. It's interesting to consider.

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Sep 27, 2023Liked by Samantha Childress

I love this new format. Great job.

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Thanks so much, Omar! Glad you enjoyed it and hope you've been well!

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This is such an inspired idea, Sam! Food, philosophy, good company, smart discussion and a glorious travel destination--what more could we ask for, except to visit Greece in person! I do think the idea of Stoicism is appealing and only becomes more so when facing so many modern crises that make us feel anxious and helpless. I look forward future salons. The whipped feta, Greek salad and ouzo lemonade all sound delicious!

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😊 thanks Ruth! I’m having lots of fun with it and am already planning out the menu for next month’s Guatemala salon. And I think whipped feta will be going in my regular rotation of sides...so simple, yet so addictive.

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Can't wait for Guatemala! I'm definitely making the whipped feta very soon!

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Love this Sam, transported to Greece and knowing that I could do with a healthy dose of Stoicism!

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Thanks, Louise! Glad you enjoyed it☺️ isn’t Stoicism such a helpful way of thinking?

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Couldn’t love this more! I’m a big Marcus Aurelius “Meditations” fan. I will link to this in my next newsletter, Sam. ✨

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Thank you so much, Jolene! 😊 I have not read Meditations, but it seems like all the smart and put-together people I know have? It’s going on my reading list (somehow I’m coming away from this post with more books on my reading list than I even put in my recommendations, lol)!

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Sep 21, 2023Liked by Samantha Childress

Super-cool idea, Sam! I'm excited to see where this goes!

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❤️🤗

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Love this so much!

One of the main reasons I started writing on substack was to cultivate community. I also have hosted wine salons throughout my career in the wine and experiences business and absolutely adore that you brought a salon setting to this platform. Incredible!

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Thank you so much, Michele! Glad to have you here. A wine salon...now THAT sounds fun!

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I also just read you recommend one of my all-time favorite books: Circe! I feel like I've found my people.

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Yes!! It’s been a long time since I’ve devoured a book like I did with Circe. I really need to read Song of Achilles next…per Andrei (who is hanging out elsewhere in the comments) it’s excellent, and he has great taste in literature. Have you read it?

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Hi Sam - I did read Song of Achilles and enjoyed it but not in the same way I did Circe. Circe was really something special for me. I actually picked it up with no point of reference in the english section of a small bookshop in Florence, Italy and could not believe how it fully engulfed me.

I am currently reading Piranesi by Susanna Clarke - magical.

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Thanks for recommending Piranesi, Michele--I just looked it up and am so intrigued! It's going on my reading list.

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