BECOMING BETTER

Jean Croker Petke


Sloth living

Sloth living

Frank Chimero is credited with saying, “Did your heart pump more than a sloth today?”

I immediately thought, “Have I exercised today?” On that particular day, I’d been to the gym. I’m not a sloth.

I began to ponder about sloths: who are they really and why does their mention bring such negative thoughts.

A sloth is a slow-moving mammal native to South and Central America. They hang upside down from tree branches and mostly sleep and eat. Their idea of socializing is sleeping in a tree with another sloth at some distance.

In our culture sloth has come to mean lazy, inactive, apathetic, complacent, and sluggish. If you’re a sloth, you may be a slouch, a slacker, prone to loafing, lethargic, and bored. One definition says you have a habitual disinclination to exertion.

I’m depressed already.

Slothfulness is on the list of deadly sins, perhaps because when we’re slothful other negative behaviors and attitudes begin to inhabit our mind and spirit. It’s also been called a “sin of omission,” of not doing.

My purpose is not to espouse certain religious concepts and tenets, but rather to bring awareness to myself and others about our behaviors and attitudes — and possibly offer suggestions about how we might change for the better.

Slothfulness is not just about physical activity. Our minds and spirits can also be affected. Let’s look at how this might play out:

Physical: Are you active? Do you move your body significantly every day? Are you a couch potato? Do you sit most of the day? Do you have conditions that make it difficult or painful to move? Do you resist most physical activity?

Mental: Do you read books, magazines, or newspapers? Do you engage in learning new things? Do you already know all you need to know? Have you changed your thinking on anything? Do you engage with others in meaningful conversation? Do you take in new information?

Spiritual/Emotional: Do you allow yourself to feel your emotions? Are you numb to the feelings of others? Do you care about others? Do you keep your emotions hidden? Are you engaged in life beyond yourself?

The questions above are not exhaustive, but I’m suggesting that most of us probably have some spots of slothfulness in our life. Where is it that we’re being lazy or hiding or not engaging? Where is it that we’re feeling bored or apathetic or indifferent?

For me, my emotions are buried deeply. It’s not that I don’t feel things, but my friends and family are not exposed to my feelings and emotions. Emotion is not a driver for me, and probably never will be, but I could be more forthcoming about my fears and joys, my excitements and my fun. I could include others in what brings great joy to me.  I was told after my recital, “You really come alive when you talk about your music. Your whole appearance changes.”

I was not aware of that. But it’s a clue that I could let go a bit more in some other areas of my life.

What about you?

Got any slothfulness in your life? Can you do something about it? Will you?

Until next Tuesday . . .