Mental Sloth: Acedia

“I was dismayed to find in a tiny town that offered very little in the way of distraction, I nevertheless managed to be distracted much of the time.  I had imagined a quiet place to write, but not that I would first need to foster more quiet within.”

from Kathleen Norris’s A Marriage, Monks, and a Writer’s Life:  Acedia and Me.

Oh how I can relate to much of what Norris has written in Acedia and Me.  A sense of boredom that overcomes me at times, making me listless and dreading to do even the most basic of chores.  I had no idea that there was a word for this form of depression/routine/boredom and that it has a long history:  ACEDIA.  My computer’s dictionary defines it as spiritual or mental sloth; apathy–and it describes huge swatches of my life.  How comforting to know that I share this state of being with others.  I thought it was just a weirdness of my personality.

I think this is one of my favorite things about reading–I discover that so much about myself is actually universal, shared with and by many others.  I don’t have to walk this path alone–I can follow trails blazed by monks, for example, in the 15 century.

2 thoughts on “Mental Sloth: Acedia

  1. That’s a great quotation, Kelly. People search for peace, too, without recognizing that peace comes from within.

    I always think the essence of discovery is in mutual communication. I learn a lot about myself as I write, and about others as I read, watch or listen. Communication shows me that people have more similarities than differences.

  2. And I procrastinate. Sometimes i can see why, and sometimes i just feel like my get up and go has got up and gone, with out permission no less. Yes, we share more with others than we often think. Thank goodness, uh.,,hmm. Maybe. OK – yes- thank goodness.

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