I am always intrigued by tattoos with a philosophy — something that a person has chosen to embed permanently upon themselves as a constant reminder of what they strive towards.
Epicurus taught that although we may know what we believe in, it’s easy to forget and lose sight of our true priorities amidst the pressures and chaos of life. His remedy for this was having constant reminders. A dedicated follower one famously etched Epicurus’ teachings onto a wall in the middle of a plaza as a giant red reminder that true happiness is found within us, not in material wealth.
A similar modern practice is placing symbols around the home as unavoidable reminders of one’s religious devotion… or who one should root for on game day.
I don’t have any tattoos, and at this point in my life I doubt I ever will. I just can’t commit, and while I love them on other people I quite like my raw canvas of blank skin.
Instead I’ve always found ways to non-invasively remind myself of a particular philosophy I was eager to practice.
As a teenager I strung a tiny snowflake charm around my neck to remind me of Iceland (I was enamored with Bjork’s unique creative philosophy). I’ve kept tiny notebooks as little bibles full of quotes & pictures that I would refer to throughout the day to inspire me and get my focus back on track. Music playlists were also extremely helpful.
My recent interest has been in imperfect circles.
They show how much beauty there is in the unexpected, the incomplete, the naturally occurring. The raw Enso circle in Zen philosophy represents the moment the mind is free to let the body create.