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Dwarf Planet Chapter 4

Here is author, Ben Sledge, discussing Chapter 4 of Dwarf Planet with Dan & Casey:

Questions to answer:

  1. Identifying Acedia: How many of the Yes/No Checklist did you answer as “Yes”?

  2. The implications of Acedia (answer those applicable to you)
    a) I derive purpose and meaning from:
    b) I numb my emotions when I:
    c) I can spiral into self-hate/self-loathing when I:
    d) What are some things I’m constantly putting off? Why don’t I want to do them?
    e) What are spiritual practices I put off or find absurd? Why?
    f) Do you think faith or a lack thereof is playing into your depression or acedia (if you identify more with acedia)? Why or why not?
    g) If you’re comfortable exploring the spiritual implications in your life, what are things you think would help you with your depression/acedia?
    h) Ask yourself this question: “Do I even have a spiritual practice?” If so, what’s the answer? If you know others who do, how do they find purpose and meaning in life?

  3. Combatting Acedia:
    a) What options did you select that may be able to help you combat acedia?
    b) What is your plan of action as a result?

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  1. A total of 7 “yes”.

  2. a) I derive purpose and meaning from:

  • Living according to my own values.
  • Love and being loved, supporting others and myself, through my work and privately.
  • Exploring what this world has to offer. Learning, progressing.

b) I numb my emotions when I:

  • Binge-watch TV shows/movies.
  • Keep scrolling endlessly on Internet.
  • Sleep a lot (too much).
  • Eat without being hungry.
  • Procrastinate.
  • Sometimes use creativity or any passion/interest excessively, as something that will take too much space and overshadow everything else.

c) I can spiral into self-hate/self-loathing when I:

  • … finish something that was supposed to be done earlier (or don’t do it at all).
  • … don’t do what I intended to do during the day or the week.
  • … forget/miss important things.
  • … don’t fit to my own standards/expectations - that are objectively too high.
  • … avoid to respond to texts, phone calls or emails.
  • … actually try to rest.
  • … feel like I just wasted my time all day long.

d) What are some things I’m constantly putting off? Why don’t I want to do them?

  • Self-care in general: it’s hard for me to allow myself to take care of myself actively, even though I value it in my heart.
  • Paying bills: because it’s objectively annoying. o/
  • Meditation/mindful moments: because it makes me feel uncomfortable or can make me cry.
  • Responding to others: because it’s draining.
  • Daily tasks (cleaning, chores and stuff): because it’s draining and it has to be repeated again and again.
  • Exercising: because it’s been difficult due to health issues and because it’s draining.

e) What are spiritual practices I put off or find absurd? Why?

Praying + reading/learning. I put those off as I started to doubt/was disappointed by life/felt like I wasn’t worth it. To the point of giving up on faith, consciously.

I don’t particularly do any other ritual. I respect that it’s meaningful to others, but it’s not for me - and I’m okay with it. I tend to focus on spirituality as more of an internalized/intimate aspect of life. I don’t feel the need to share about it or follow others rituals.

f) Do you think faith or a lack thereof is playing into your depression or acedia (if you identify more with acedia)? Why or why not?

I recognize myself more in the definition of anhedonia than acedia. I see lack of faith as playing a role, but only partially. For me, it’s also about lacking of purpose/meaning in a more philosophical sense. Even though spirituality and philosophy are both important and intertwined.

g) If you’re comfortable exploring the spiritual implications in your life, what are things you think would help you with your depression/acedia?

Following my heart and my intuition, basically. Because I think that when I do that, it’s not only about me but also about the love I can feel in my heart. Reconnecting to my fatih, in a more active way than before (which was literally non-existent, so… starting from the beginning again) would help. Through daily devotionals, spiritual readings, prayers. At this point I don’t really know how to respond precisely. I just want to follow my heart and intuition, to embrace the wave as it comes.

h) Ask yourself this question: “Do I even have a spiritual practice?” If so, what’s the answer?

I had. I lost it. I’m currently re-building my spiritual practice again, step by step - also in a more committed way than before.

3. a) What options did you select that may be able to help you combat acedia?

  • Connecting with nature
  • Exercise
  • Breathing/meditation
  • Playing music
  • Drawing
  • Reading
  • Cleaning
  • Spending time with friends/family
  • Prayer
  • Painting
  • Recreational activities
  • Spiritual practices
  • Going to therapy
  • Writing poetry

b) What is your plan of action as a result?

  • Daily: walking outside/connecting with nature - Breathing/Meditation - Spiritual practices/prayer
  • Weekly: exercise - Drawing/music/painting/reading/or any recreational activity, depending of what I want to try at the moment.
  • Spending time with friends and family: when there’s a possibility to do that and when I’m okay with it. I already have my own balance on this matter - and at the moment with Covid it’s been more difficult of course.
  • Other goal: Therapy: I have to contact an institution to ask if they accept new patients during covid (yes/no - if yes, how practically). I want to do that before the end of this month.

I love using notebooks and practical tools. So, to make all of this in practice, I use a calendar that I can see everyday, a notebook for daily gratitudes, an agenda and online files to take notes of my readings. I don’t use those everyday, but I try to celebrate at least the days when I do. It’s still something.