In praise of Sloth

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Not that I’d know, what with the crazy amounts of homework and getting-paid-for-it work and eating and cleaning and you know…life… BUT I have to agree with this little kitty that sometimes the best thing you can do for your mind, body and peace of …well Mind…is to just do NOTHING.  For even 10 minutes, for an hour, for a day, for a week, for how long you need to recharge those body and/or mind-batteries.  Resting and “being lazy” is no more a moral reflection upon your personal character than eating food in public is an automatic pass for others to judge you.

Despite the desperate puritanical striving of our culture to ALWAYS be productive, be doing something, be active and Never Sit Still or risk hellfire damnation (or catcalls about being lazy and whatnot); I really don’t think God is going to come down with anger in their stance and a cattle-prod in hand to move you into Non-Sin for daring to rest!  I mean come on, even God rested on Sunday after CREATING the entirety of the world as we know it folks.   Why then is it so ingrained into our minds that never can a moment of rest be had without overwhelming guilt, especially if we are created in the image of a Greater Being who had no qualms about taking some time to sit back and reflect upon things done and recharge those creative juices.  And all that discourse is assuming of course a Christian view of the world.  Yet even those who don’t even ascribe to such beliefs STILL find themselves sucked into this moral dichotomy of Action is Good and Sloth is Bad!

So as we in the Northeast of the US are seeing the first peeks of “HOPE” in the form of melting snows and glimpses of sun between gray clouds and are feeling so cabin-feverish I am prescribing for you a moment of relaxation.  I know that like those little birds starting to clear out their nests we might start feeling that need to rustle our home feathers and Clean! Organize! Act Now! but no matter how much of that spring cleaning mentality ends up taking over your mind (battling with the trepidation that still lingers in the fear that this winter is still far from over) don’t forget to take those moments, that day, that time to just STOP and do the sort of Nothing that can be Spectacularly Awesome.

Part of loving your body is learning to respect that it isn’t a machine capable of running non-stop at full swing without a chance to recharge.  Oh, and don’t feel you have to get “such and such” done FIRST either, that’s just a cycle that you know is bound to continue forever and never end with you getting any relaxation in.  I will be taking my own advice this weekend and be putting my own body’s relaxation first for a few hours at least too.

Oh and for you nay-sayers, for those of you who are convinced that any unoccupied moment is a sinful proof of moral ineptitude?  Well all I can say is:  May a Bird of Paradise Fly Up your Nose!

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7 thoughts on “In praise of Sloth

  1. Great point. 🙂 I’ve noticed that I’ve been so busy busy busy lately that I haven’t had time to sit outside and enjoy the nice weather.

    I may just take a book and relax overlooking my apartment complex’s lovely manmade pond, hehe. 🙂 To be honest, even reading my psychology textbook would be nice…I always feel that if I’m not miserable, the work isn’t worth doing…so when I enjoy a textbook, I always do all my other hw first and never get to the thing I enjoy!

    Thank you for the prescription. I’ll be watching for those flying Birds of Paradise. O_O

  2. Have been following your blog for a while… Just LOVE this post. I cannot agree more. Taking time to relax seems so right and natural, but we fight against it and feel guilty about it. My aim for this evening is not to feel guilty about having a lovely lie down. 🙂

  3. Thanks. I needed this one today. I’ve been sick as a dog with one of those damn superviruses that’s been going around, and I keep trying to Do Stuff even when my body is begging me for a rest and a nap.

    Of course it’s too late for me to take a nap today because I’ve got a doctor’s appointment (to double-check this really IS just a terribly tenacious cold and not incipiant bronchitis or something oogie like that) in about an hour and a half and I still need to take a shower and make myself look marginally human before I head out the door. Whee.

    When I get done at the doc’s, though, I fully intend to go straight to bed, no matter what the diagnosis/prognosis. I’m finally ready to admit I need the rest.

    And when I get up, it’s going to be stupid television on the couch FTW!

  4. I never know what to do with myself when I’m not doing anything. I do nothing often, because I can’t think of what to do. I don’t actually get much enjoyment out of it. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE sleep – I adore it, cherish it, enjoy it, and don’t get nearly enough for a happy body and mind – but usually doing nothing is just wasting my time.

    I do like this about the Jewish worldview – the religious one anyway – you aren’t allowed to do anything on Shabbat. You aren’t allowed to carry anything (especially money, but technically anything) you aren’t allowed to drive or use electricity or light a fire (that’s actually where the prohibition against electricity comes from, as they didn’t have electricity in Biblical times. An electric connection creates a spark, which is lighting a fire.) You can’t write anything or tie any knots that are permanent (ie, knwitting, crocheting, weaving) you can’t cut anything etc etc. There is an actual list of everything you can’t do. It’s supposed to be a time of reflection and enjoyment, a time when you are nothing more or less than a creation of God. You’re not a [fill in career here] or a student or a role in the world. Every week is this really important holiday that supersedes every other commandment except saving a life, and the entire holiday is about resting and remembering that you are you regardless of what you do or who you’re related to or who you’re friends are. It’s really an amazing, radical concept. But because it happens every week people think it’s not really a holiday.
    I never celebrate it though. Today (aside from writing on this comment space) I’ve gone out to buy stuff to work on my bathroom, and then I’ll go out to buy stuff to cook. I love the theory, but it’s really hard to put into practice unless you’re surrounded by a community that agrees on the rules. And since I’m not religious, I’m not finding that community. This is America, and we don’t do that sort of thing (although in colonial times church was pretty much mandated and it was illegal to work on the Sabbath.)
    Anyway, rock on you resters. And good luck getting rid of your cold, Twistie. I had one of those long running miserable things last month. It lasted forever – maybe because I didn’t rest like I should have. Bed, soup and NyQuil are your friends.

  5. Again I am reminded why I love this blog. 😀

    I related to pretty much everything you wrote… and it struck me, because I’m not used to having these particular topics validated.

    Puritanical thinking was a big part of my eating disorder and general self-hate. Old cliches like, “the flesh is weak”, “emotions are fickle”, “idle hands are the devil’s workshop”… taught me that being human simply wasn’t acceptable. I went on this crazy crusade to rid myself of emotions, free-time and body needs… ya know… cuz they are all evil after all, right?

    I especially love this bit:
    “Part of loving your body is learning to respect that it isn’t a machine capable of running non-stop at full swing without a chance to recharge.”

    Right on! I forget this truth too often myself, but I am also working very hard to ingrain it into my mind, soul, life…

    Your post has inspired me to blog something about talking to one’s inner puritan. Maybe it will get written in a few days. Thank you for the lovely post and also for the inspiration!!!

  6. Pingback: Awesomeness Around the Fatosphere « Angry Gray Rainbows

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