Last week I went on an amazing hike from the valley floor to the top of Mount Mitchell. Two dear friends were with me, mommas all. Never mind the blaze of Autumn color–it was the the regal, dark brilliance of the tall Spruce People that spoke to me. And I couldnt stop and listen. We had to rush, a bit, to get to the summit, because we had to pick up our kids. This is not a complaint, but an observation. Life moves at a quick pace, even when you are recreating.
I have a t-shirt that bears the advice, “Live Slow.” It also has a sloth on it. I like sloths and I think it’s very interesting that they are named after a deadly sin. Not that anyone cares about that so much anymore, but what moralist would have thought that a deadly sin would become necessary to balance the pace of life?
Actually a little research indicates that sloth, as in the sin, is not really about slowness, or laziness, but about apathy, acedia. This is very relevant to modern life. Apathy is an indication that our relationship to our true power has been severed. And it is a grave psychological epidemic that touches all of us, the result of the traumatic disconnect from Gaia, from Earth and earth, that we all experience. Without a connection to our true power–and to the Earth that sustains us in that state of connected, holistic power–any attempts to remedy our collective apathy will result in pain. Which we avoid.
So in that context, sloth, as in slowness, is not a deadly sin at all, but rather a cure to the more appropriately named deadly sin of Apathy. Because it connects us, it enlivens us, and it deepens us.
The sloth life has space for connection–to nature, to each other, to our deeper selves. The slow life ignores business and absorbs time with play. The sloth life allows reverence to ease into your being. Clocks, calendars, and the to-do lists on my phone–and in my head–are making me crazy. Making all of us insane.
case in point
But sloths are not insane. They are in the trees right now, slowly chewing their leaves, watching the sun glimmer through the canopy. They are thinking they might move in an hour or so, but right now the sunlight is so nice and the leaves so tasty.
Let’s be like sloths. I’m going to start with the old-fashioned route of Sundays. No shopping, no errands, no business or busyness on Sundays. Sundays are sloth days. I might even go Amish and unplug the electricity. Or at least the wifi.