Friday, April 15, 2011

My Friend, Acedia

Oh my, I’ve had quite a few days. After reading Christine’s reflection early in the week, I realized I’ve been caught up in a bout of acedia (i.e. lack of desire or initiative.) Rather than sinking into it or being curious, I grumbled and complained about not feeling good or getting anything done. This managed to only feed the overall sense of blah and keep me from (surprise surprise) feeling good or getting anything done.

This morning something began to shift as I decided to have a conversation with my companion. It went something like this:

Me: Hello, Acedia. What do you have to teach me?
Acedia: Patience, faith and the ability to sit in discomfort.
Me: Oh. But, I like things to happen quickly. I am a fearless warrior. I like to step in and heal things – quickly. (Oh geez, I sound arrogant. Somehow thinking I’m magical and believing I’m in control. My Ego is operating on high. )

Me: Hello, Acedia. What else have you got?
Acedia: I’m here to humble you. To let you taste that place of despair.
Me: Yuk, and?
Acedia: You haven’t been there in awhile, but you are not immune. All your tricks and magic won’t keep you from feeling pain and despair. It’s time to make peace with me and stop battling. Do you not see the risk? The more you battle, the stronger my hold becomes.
Me: Hmmm. Very interesting.

Then Acedia and I had a little conversation about the should’s. Beginning with the thought of “I should know better”. Having done tons of therapy, practicing as a therapist/life coach/spiritual director and overall being a pretty grounded and solid person, I have somehow convinced myself I shouldn't have bad days or make mistakes. (How realistic is that?!?!?). Thinking the thought of “I should know better”, I felt the weight of responsibility and the amount of EGO attached to it. It leaves me trying to do other people’s work for them AND messing around in God's business. It takes me totally away from the business of caring for myself. When I let go of the thought, "I should know better", I burst out laughing as I realized what a total mind-game that is... Geez Louise.

Using Byron Katie's technique of the Turnaround, my thought shifted something like this, and with it, the acedia lifted:

I shouldn't know better... Whew! I can only know what I know.

I do know better... I have everything I need and I can see it when I get out of my own way.

God knows best... I'm part of the Universe (God) and it takes all parts - the space - the light - the dark - the "mistakes" – the acedia – the fearlessness – the glory - ALL of it – to create a whole human being.

It appears I need to keep learning these lessons over and over again. Ain’t life grand?

7 comments:

The Pollinatrix said...

Brilliant. Yes.

Dianna Woolley said...

oh yeah - when I read the lesson re acedie I immediately began to "fight it" myself....

The shoulds and the "I can fix everything" business have a place in my ego land - dang it, you had to point that out!

Obviously, I liked this post!xo

Anonymous said...

so pleased to read your words that give color and form to the realities of life as "a whole human being." a timely, vulnerable gift. thanks
potter

Tenar said...

Brave. spirited ride down those rapids, exquisite resolution (ALL of it), great comment by Anonymous !!

lucy said...

thank you all so much for your supportive comments! it can be a little scary putting your "whole" self out there :) xooxo

claire said...

Ah, lucy, I have had 'bad' days for a while, bad days that have lightened up recently. But as they were bearing heavily upon my heart, and as I admitted their weight, and the fear they created in me, I did find like you that 'honesty' does feel naked.

Thank you for sharing your acedia here.

Yes, it does feel strange to go through a series of bad days after having grown to feel 'beyond them.' Never quite.

Blessings.

lucy said...

claire - i'm so honored to share our "bad" times. i guess there's not very much we truly grow "beyond", huh?

blessings to you, too!