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A Season of Apathy

May 19, 2018 by Charlie Hedges − 0 Comments

Acedia [apathy] is a danger to anyone whose work requires great concentration and discipline yet is considered by many to be of little practical value… [but] if I am to care, it forces me to summon all my interior motivation and strength. Kathleen Norris

I have work to do, work that requires creativity, ingenuity, discipline, and contemplation. My work is not rote and many times I wish it were, yet in our information-oriented work culture very few people are blessed with rote work. Most of us are forced to think, create and deliver. And yet, many are the times I just don’t feel like it.

And often, in my work, those times of apathy can last for weeks. Some call it “writer’s block.” I think it is “creator’s block.” I have been blocked for the past couple of weeks. It is weird because it is so pervasive. It impacts all I do, including conversation.

It’s not that I don’t care. I do care, but I cannot summon the strength or energy to do anything about it.

Journal Entry

Check out this morning’s journal entry…

What I once perceived as depression, then labeled as Lethargy, I think would now be more accurately described as Apathy, or in spiritual terms Acedia.

I have been neglecting my morning routine of brief inspirational reading, meditation and journaling. Instead, I stay in bed long in the mornings, usually responding to emails and do just a bit of writing, although I am not even really keen on that.

Last week I did a painting and discovered a lack of energy, creativity or pleasure. It was a “palette test” and I did discover that I could work with the palette desired by a friend even though it is an awkward combination of colors.

Another troubling aspect of the apathy/acedia can be discovered in my inability to converse. Normally, I have an easy time engaging in a conversation with interesting people but of late I can find nothing to say or questions to ask. For instance, yesterday in Reno I met with one of the foremost experts in the discipline of WASH (sanitation and hygiene in developing countries). I sat at lunch and could not think of a question or statement which the normal me would have been inundated with. 

It’s not that I don’t care, I am just empty minded and quite frustrated by that state of mind. I sat across the table from him like a stone, my mind totally blank.

Have you ever felt the same? My guess is your response would be positive. And so what do we do about it?

Just Write

I think the answer is addressed by Stephen King regarding his cure for writer’s block: Just write, even if it’s crap. Write. I have found the same for apathy. Whatever task you have on your “to-do” list, just do it—even if it calls for the creativity you don’t think you can access.

Kathleen Norris said it well when she wrote, “… [apathy] forces me to summon all my interior motivation and strength.” I think I have done some of my best work “when I didn’t feel like it.” And if I were to wait for the magical moment of inspiration… well, I’d still be in bed.

It’s odd isn’t it, that apathy can produce our most creative work because we force ourselves to discover, once again, that creative genius hiding deep within us all.

Apathy May Be the Spark to Creativity 

Photo courtesy of XXX at istockphoto

#72 Fr Robert Edwards-Theism-What is It?

May 15, 2018 by Charlie Hedges − 0 Comments


Show Notes 

Last week, we filled up most of an hour on the subject of Atheism?not in an effort to disclaim it, but rather to better understand it. I think it was a great show. In fact, it was one of my favorites.

Well, today I want to give equal time to Theism. I decided to do the show primarily through the eyes of a Christian priest, Fr Robert Edwards who is the Rector (or lead minister) of St Margaret’s Episcopal Church in San Juan Capistrano, CA-which is my home church. And Robert is also a very close friend. He and I talk about this stuff all the time.

Today will be another “discovery” show where my objective is to learn even more about a very common topic?Theism, or the belief in God. Data shows that most of my listeners would more readily align themselves with Christianity than with Atheism. But my question is, “Why is that so?”

You can reach Fr Rob at robert.edwards@stmarg.org

 

You can get more information and regular updates from Charlie at thenextchapter.life

Check out this episode!

Truth is Often Offensive

May 12, 2018 by Charlie Hedges − 0 Comments

In order to be able to think, you have to risk being offensive. Jordan Peterson

Ben Shapiro writes, “… while manners matter, truth matters more.”

Too Sensitive

Let’s be honest, we have become (or always have been) an ultrasensitive population of people that have hard time digesting “truth” (as another sees it) without taking personal offence. I guess it has pretty much always existed in the two deeply controversial subjects of politic and religion. I believe the reason is that each of these subjects mess less with our minds that with our personal identity. We have somehow married our politics and religion to our very notion of who we are as a person.
[Read more…]

Learning Begins by Unlearning

May 5, 2018 by Charlie Hedges − 0 Comments

Transformation is often more about unlearning than learning, which is why the religious traditions call it “repentance.” Richard Rohr, Falling Upward

“Repentance.” Yea, that is a pretty religious word with all kinds of negative implications. But… the Greek meaning of the word is simply “to change one’s mind.” Now changing your mind is not always quite so easy. We are immersed in a “my way or the highway” culture, in which many people truly believe their way is the right way and anyone that doesn’t agree is an idiot.
[Read more…]

#71 Matthew Sitton-Atheism: What You Didn’t Know

May 1, 2018 by Charlie Hedges − 0 Comments


Show Notes 

Let me begin our show today with a question? Consider this rather long list of names: Woody Allen, Isaac Asimov, Kevin Bacon, George Carlin, Jodi Foster, Joyce Carol Oates, Brad Pitt, Ayn Rand, Oliver Sacks, Kurt Vonnegut, James Baldwin, Charles Bukowski, Ursula K LeGuinn, Pablo Neruda, Virginia Wolfe, Stephen Hawking, Sir Richard Branson, and Bertrand Russell. What do all these famous and intelligent people have in common?

When I add the name Sam Harris to the list you might know: they are all atheists. And all of them have also contributed significantly to the value of the value of society and the world. They have made huge impact on the poor and disenfranchised as well as initiated critical thinking about the state of life and the universe.

So, today I am choosing to go off my normal grid and talk curiously about the subject of Atheism. I am genuinely curious. I ‘d like to know what atheism is and even more important what it isn’t, why a person would adopt a-theism over theism. My hope today is to simply understand a general overall perspective of the atheism. Many very bright and compassionate people have come to the atheistic conclusion through deep study, listening to their “moral compass,” and have often suffered some sort of restrained cynicism about what they believe and don’t believe.

My very special guest today is Matthew Sitton. Matthew is a thoughtful man, fluent in conversational Japanese, and spent one year in Japan teaching English.

Matthew Sitton is a Southern California native who is openly atheist. Matthew grew up a Christian but found himself leaving religion in his early adult life. A combination of time abroad, self-reflection, and extensive reading lead Matthew to find that he could live a progressive and moral life without theism or other supernatural beliefs. Matthew believes that a worldview without these attachments affirms our ability and responsibility to live meaningful, ethical lives?lives capable of adding to the greater good of humanity. Matthew now identifies himself as a humanist and tries to live his life [I really like this part] tries to life his life informed by science, inspired by art, and motivated by compassion.

I have been looking forward to this time for about three weeks now. Finally we get to talk on air about the fascinating topic of atheism. 

FOR ALL MY LISTENERS PLEASE NOTE: MY PURPOSE WITH THIS SHOW IS TO SATISFY MY CURIOSITY ABOUT ATHEISM; NOT TO GET INTO ANY DEBATE OF THEISM VS A-THEISM. I WANT TO LEARN AND I HOPE YOU DO AS WELL.

Check out this episode!