She must learn again to speak
starting with I
starting with We
starting as the infant does
with her own true hunger
and pleasure
and rage.

-- Marge Piercy

Exprayeriment #13 -- Acedia Happens

God, guide me today and always to make choices that move me
closer to becoming a more perfect expression of You.
Show me the way back to You when I wander.
Teach me to live in, through and for You.

-Alizabeth Rasmussen


You know the feeling.  It can come on suddenly or over the course of several days.  It can manifest as depression or anxiety, irritation or ennui, restlessness or boredom, discontent or doubt...or some fabulous combination of all of the above.  You may find yourself at the intersection of I Don't Know and I Don't Give A Damn, feeling stuck and unmotivated and listless and just plain "blah."

Acedia.  The "noonday devil."  The ultimate in "out of sorts."  Call it what you will but, by any name, it's just no fun.

It shows up as a result of things being out of balance.  The problem is, in the middle of it, it's difficult to assess what's off.  So for this week's Exprayeriment, we're going to be proactive and study (it is back-to-school week, after all) the specific conditions that need to be in place in your life in order to maximize your potential for happiness and your connection to God.

What practical steps do you - or can you - take on a daily, weekly, or every-so-often basis that give you the most bang for your buck as far as supporting your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being?

What controllable internal and external variables help you feel calm, peaceful, focused, centered?

What does Being Kind to You look like?

The number of possible answers to these questions is limitless and depends on your individual lifestyle, circumstances, and challenges.  Recognizing the specific ways that your life tends to get unbalanced, you can then start to consciously build in that balance before the scales tip too far.   It could mean small changes in eating habits or patterns; stealing a few minutes of quiet during the day for praying, reading, or breathing; carving out time for creative endeavors; cleaning out a closet; listening to music; wearing a favorite pair of earrings; reaching out to a friend you haven't heard from for a while.

Each of us has our own special formula...the mission this week is to learn (or relearn) what ingredients make up that formula.

Make a list of as many things as you can think of, and then choose one or two that feel most important right now.  Keep the list handy as you go about your week.

This isn't meant to be a to-do list.  It's not about "shoulds" or checking things off or feeling bad about not checking them off.  Instead, think of it as a guide.  In our day-to-day lives it's easy to forget to take care of ourselves so that we can be at our best and, eventually, that takes a toll. So the list is meant to be a reminder to do what we can, when we can, with whatever time and resources we have.

Having the list - and even using it - won't make you immune to occasional bouts of acedia.  But it will, we hope, make them a little less severe and a little easier to recover from.  It gives you options.  It gives you something to DO.  Focused, intentional action (as opposed to manic, what-must-I-do-to-not-feel-this-way-anymore? action) can take the edge off so that you can start to build momentum in the right direction again.

As always, we invite you to share your lists, thoughts and insights in the comment box on the site (click the link below)!

Trite and True: Making Peace With the Cliche (Part Three)

Images of Silence