Acedia & Me: A Marriage, Monks and a Writer's Life by Kathleen Norris
I'm feeling lazy today, so instead of writing up another review of this book I'll just point you to Amazon, where I wrote that up yesterday evening. Only, be warned. I was writing with the TV blaring in the background and the kids buzzing around me. But I guess it's not that terrible a review. I'm just paranoid my distraction shows through.
One more comment on the book, I've had it a while and am so, so late reviewing it. I picked it out of my review pile on a whim, and, serendipitously, it happened to mirror an aspect of my life I've been actively working on lately. Coincidence? Fate? Who knows.
The feeling much of life is so mundane as to be without meaning has been bothering me for a while. Also, the realization of my many imperfections, causing me to beat myself up until I'm just so tired I could go to bed, turning my back on the world. That's how life has been lately. Then, I read:
"Decide upon a set amount for yourself in every work and do not turn aside from it before you complete it."
In other words, I don't have to move mountains. Except for rare occasions, nothing horrible will happen if a load of laundry doesn't make it through right away. The garden will always need weeding, and it's not crucial every little weed is ripped out the minute it pops up. The house won't ever stay clean with three children barreling through it. It doesn't all have to be done RIGHT AWAY, or perfectly. And it's okay to set limits on life's must-dos, then spend time on things I enjoy. Plus, everyone occasionally slips from an exercise routine, and eats too many cookies. Except people I despise. Skinny people I'd like to force feed.
I'm not evil. I'm flawed, but not evil. I'm human, thus prone to screwing up. Often. But, just as often, I forget this and beat myself up, so badly I'm permanently bruised. One step at a time is what I need to work on, taking each bad thought and comparing it to reality to see if it's really true (usually it isn't), then pushing it back out again.
It's a long, long process, and I may fight it all my life. But reading this book made me see even people who seem they have it all together, like Kathleen Norris, fall. I'll bet even the Dalai Lama burns dinner now and then, or thinks his ass is too big. Then again, the man wears a robe. Note to self: Find out where he buys his clothing.
I said I was too lazy to write more, but I guess I wasn't. Writing is my saving grace, my consolation. At least I have that, even if there's dust on all our furniture. When I die will my last thought be, "I should have cleaned more!" or "I wish I'd have appreciated more."With me, probably neither. It's more likely to be, "Dammit, I never finished Moby Dick!" And you probably thought I'd learned something.