Chodron’s third kind of harmful laziness is the “Couldn’t Care Less” form. This is a harder, tougher version of “Loss of Heart.” For in this type of apathy, we are hardened and angry at the world. We are “aggressive and defiant.” If someone tries to cheer us up, we lash out at them. We use “laziness as a way of getting revenge.” But really, we hurt ourselves the most.
Until we decide to investigate and objectively look at our intentions, we will continue this destructive pattern. We will continue to have our “problems”: health, relationships and career.
It’s simple, but not necessarily easy. Sometimes, we don’t want to “get real.” We are comfortable in our habitual patterns of laziness. But the benefits of doing the work will greatly outweigh any temporary comfort.
Yesterday’s post was a review of Pema Chodron’s take on laziness (part one) from her book The Places That Scare You. Chodron asserts that there are three “debilitating habitual patterns” that we often partake in.
The second type she identifies is “loss of heart.” One symptom of this form is when we tell ourselves something like, “I’m the worst. There’s no hope for me. I’ll never get it right.” (Chodron, 90).
When we become lazy with loss of heart, we avoid interacting with the world. We retreat and we watch lots of TV (or surf the net). We eat, drink, smoke and watch the screen mindlessly. We have forgotten how to help ourselves.
The remedy for Lazy Type 2 is the same for Lazy Type 1. Get curious. Ask the right questions (hint: one wrong question would be, “why me?”). Notice that you don’t have to subscribe to negative thought or belief patterns. You can choose differently.
We often condone our behavior. We say we are “happy” and deserve to relax. But in reality, we are “haunted by self-doubt and feelings of inadequacy.”
Why concern ourselves with these notions of laziness? As Marcus Aurelius (Roman Emperor, 161 – 180 AD) reminds us in The Meditations, our lives are short. There is no time to waste.
Today was the first day of Tetra Quartet Summer Camp for my daughters, 14 and 15. They both play violin.
The 15-year-old is a night owl. But for camp, she needs to wake up by 7:30 am, not her preferred hour of noon.
She was a sleeping angel – so cute! – who was about to become a demon. I dreaded it. I gave her a hug and kiss. Nothing.
I nudged her a little later. Nothing.
I yelled out from the hallway, “Got to get up soon!” Nothing.
My mind flashed past articles I read about not waking your children. Something about being a helicopter parent. I’m not a helicopter parent! Still…she needed to get up. My BP was rising.
At last, she woke. Grumpy. She slammed things. She packed her music stand roughly. I held my tongue. I asked her to do that last night! How dare she get angry because she didn’t prepare! But I remained quiet.
We were in the car. She wanted me to hurry, because tardy musicians must do a little song and dance for the (on time) group.
As calmly as I could manage, I said, “You weren’t prepared for this morning. Your oversight is not my emergency. I’m not going to rush and risk an accident. You have a cell phone with an alarm clock. I will not wake you up anymore. If you can’t get up, you’ll be late. Your song and dance consequence is not my concern.” Sitting in the backseat, the 14-year-old’s silence was deafening. Good – a bit of peer pressure for the older sibling.
We sat in peace for the rest of the ride.
I realized that had I said something earlier, when she was huffing and puffing, and slamming things, we would have had a “blow out.” Instead, I waited until I was calm (and she was calmer) and stated in a factual matter what was what.
When my daughters (14 and 15) are grown and living on their own, I hope they miss me and call me often. I hope they visit.
We’re in middle of high school angst: social issues, the need to be more independent, and stress of grades. On some days, I feel like I am nagging incessantly. It can be drive a wedge between us.
The 14 year old went out with friends so I pounced on the opportunity.
“Josie, want to go out for lunch with me?”
“Anywhere you want.”
She chose a Japanese restaurant and had the chicken teriyaki bento box. I had the California roll. She told me funny stories about her friends and how she feels anxious, even when on vacation. I was careful to just listen and sympathize.
She reluctantly volunteered to host the party. And then she complained and stressed about it for months. At last, the day arrived. She greeted the guests with a weary smile and they didn’t feel welcome at all. In fact, a good number of them wanted to leave right right away. Her mood colored the evening a dirty gray.
As the party ended, she uttered aloud, “Thank goodness it’s over!”
The guests felt the same way.
All that time, energy, and money wasted.
If you don’t want to do it. Don’t.
If you have to do it, then accept it. Accept the situation completely.
But if you can, enjoy doing it. Spread love, not regret.