stacked papers

Image courtesy of scottchan/

Sometimes I feel like my mind gets bombarded with something to the point that I have to give up “kicking and screaming” and pay attention to it even if it is absolutely the last thing I want to do. Last night book’s study focused on the concept of “sloth.”  The book we are studying identified sloth as: “…… “avoidance of physical or spiritual work ” (P., Bill; W., Todd; S., Sara [2009-06-03]. Drop the Rock: Removing Character Defects – Steps Six and Seven (p. 38). Hazelden Publishing. Kindle Edition).

In other words, sloth is not just putting off doing something by choosing to do it when you feel like it —-it is also neglecting and putting off needed “spiritual work.”  I have always had an attitude about doing things my way, which, by default, includes  not doing things until I  feel “good and ready” in my mind to do whatever task is looming. This results in living in semi-hoarder conditions at work and at home. In the past, I have bragged that a messy desk (which, in my case, soon spreads to a stacked and messy office floor) is the sign of a creative mind at work.  Should my readers think I am exaggerating, when I taught at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio  one of the main office administrative assistants was asked to deliver something to my office. I guess he’d never seen my office before, because he reported my office to security because he thought it looked like it had been vandalized.

My “slothful” way of refusing to keep things neat and orderly according to society’s standards has long been one of the few remaining habits I employ to rebel against authority and “the system.”  I do so by stubbornly doing or not doing things “my way.” There are a tad too many “I”s and “my”s in what I’ve written so far. Thus, a new red flag is emerging. I may have to pay attention to the spiritual part. False pride may be threading its way through decades of purposeful mess.

Here’s what I’ve discovered about my “mess pattern.” Yes, I put off what I don’t like to do. When the clutter starts to annoy me, get in my way, hide what I am trying to find, or harbor dust that triggers sneezing and wheezing, then I start to be motivated to clean up the clutter. Then I enlist the help of a friend who enjoys cleaning and organizing as one of her favorite activities, and we start cleaning and organizing. We tackle one room at a time until I run out of motivation. Things look great for a while—–even though I can’t seem to find things in their organized place. But, eventually , over time, I am once again surrounded by comfortable clutter.

So, my physical sloth occurs on a continuum from none to overwhelming. I can’t even say  that it comes to rest in the “middle” and enhances a semblance of balance in my life. For the most part, the “sloth indicator” stays much closer to the overwhelming side of the continuum than the none side. I believe that is where my comfort level resides….anymore and feelings of guilt, depression, and being overwhelmed start to stir; any less and I don’t feel relaxed and “in my own skin.” I am not sure I am willing to accept that this is a barometer of my spiritual condition. Many neat freaks I  have observed through the years haven’t seemed capable of entertaining the concept of procrastination for longer than a few seconds—— but  they have also not reflected a healthy spiritual condition in their behaviors and interactions with others.  The mere fact that I have been judging their spiritual condition all these years does not indicate my spiritual condition has been anything to brag about either.

The authors of “Drop the Rock” present putting things off as a waste of time. There are times I am sure they are right, but other times I feel like if I spent my time organizing and cleaning I might miss out on another, more important aspect of life. I do acknowledge and fully accept their premise that the work of keeping spiritually fit is vitally important for recovery and living. I am not ready to accept my “comfort level procrastination” as it manifests in my  chosen state of non-overwhelming clutter as an indicator that my spiritual condition is in a similar state of disarray.  I choose to view myself as clutter challenged or just purposefully eccentric.

Please comment and share your thoughts about the character defect of “sloth” and how it relates to recovery and living day by day. May God bless and keep you.