Reliably, habitual…routine

The strategy is to have a practice, and what it means to have a practice is to regularly and reliably do the work in a habitual way. —Seth Godin, in Manage Your Day-To-Day: Build your routine, find your focus, & sharpen your creative mind, p42. Published by 99u. Emphasis mine. Yep, not there yet. An […]

Follow *whose* heart?

Morning, check. But still, the subtleties of decision within routine-! Study first, then write? Write first, then study? Read before everything else? Surely not that… except for reading the newspaper… and then whatever else fits within the waking-time. You see the slippery edges of difficulty here. [O]f all evil suggestions, the most terrible is the […]

Gaining wisdom, or wearing down?

How does repetition turn relationships stale and lifeless[…]? What is it about repetitive acts that makes us feel that we are wasting our time? Although it is easy to dismiss our daily routines as trivial, these are not trivial questions, any more than sloth is mere laziness without spiritual consequence. Acedia & Me p186 (boldface […]

In hope we were saved

Acedia’s genius is to seize us precisely where our hope lies, to tear away at the heart of who we are, and mock that which sustains us. —Acedia & Me p44 For God is not unjust; he will not overlook your work and the love that you showed for his sake in serving the saints, as […]

Slow down and adjust: how hard can it be?

In our own time Wendell Berry has written eloquently of pulling off the high-speed world of an American interstate highway into an Appalachian campground, and needing more than an hour to slow down and adjust to the rhythms of his own body and the world close at hand. –Kathleen Norris, Acedia and Me, p220 This […]

I have a worthy cure

Now that I’m flipping pages, skimming back through my penciled underscores, I see that I indeed absorbed my remedy in part while reading Acedia and Me. [quoting Evagrius] “What heals acedia is staunch persistence…. Decide upon a set amount for yourself in every work and do not turn aside from it before you complete it.” p100 Man, […]

Distractibility gets everyone eventually

I expect that Ms. Norris found profound reassurance in reading ancient struggles with distractibility, given that I find comfort in her comments, particularly her choice of quote: [quoting desert father (“abba”) John Climacus] “Tedium reminds those at prayer of some job to be done, and searches out any plausible excuse to drag us from prayer, […]

Paint it black?

I find it interesting in myself that, while ostensibly studying acedia, I collected quite a few of Norris’ observations about depression. This has more to do with my nods of recognition than any current resonant thrum—thanks be to God!—but today I want to fan these observations out in front of me and talk a bit. Imagine […]

Prescribing a remedy

Fighting acedia with a focused, intentional stability was considered [..] vital in maintaining a good relationship with God and one’s fellow monks[…]. [One elder] counseled, “Go, eat, drink, sleep, do not work, only do not leave your cell.” […A]nother elder advised, “Don’t pray at all, just stay in the cell.” —Kathleen Norris, Acedia and Me, […]

Oooh, ooh! I got this one

Is acedia depression? My answer is No, not exactly, but I must struggle to articulate the difference with precision. —Kathleen Norris, Acedia and Me, p24 Emphatically not the same. I can tell from the inside. When I observe the outward signs (including struggling to get out of bed, not tackling even the smallest of house-tasks available, human […]