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Sloth Messages & Medicine


Sloth Messages

The sloth moves slowly in her tree top world. The movement is ancient and painstakingly slow in a world that moves swiftly, with much speed. But what does the sloth gain from her motions so slow? Loads and loads of information seeps through each methodical moment and motion. Each layer, each leaf, each branch holds information for the wise sloth to obtain. The messages and medicine for her and her young to thrive and survive in an ever-changing world. The information comes from the food she eats, from the branches she sleeps upon, and then is carried through to her kin, as they must be as methodical as she.

Slow is the way to go. Even slower than tortoise, even slower than snail, even slower than a slow moving mountain. As slow as one can be in this moment. Slow is the way to be.

You see, speed isn’t quite what it may seem. Humans move about here and there doing this and that, but with what intention? What is the purpose? What is the whole point in the end? Life should be vibrant, full of color, texture, tastes and flavors in abundance.

The sloth, being a slow creature, must be methodical for each motion and act taken, because she exerts much energy through every movement. Humans might exert energy with every motion taken, but not in the same way. They can skip and jump about and refuel easily but when one moves slowly, they must be methodical about each and every bite taken, each and every move made.

One little step in the wrong direction could be fatal for our dear sloth friend, who, when falls from her tree top branches, finds herself in inescapable danger. She was not meant for such a fast-paced environment, nor are you, deep down, in your musculature and biological framework. No, dear one, you were meant to move with the rhythms of the earth, slow and steady as our dear earth grows.

Even when springtime pops up, it’s not a sudden change that occurs overnight. It takes much methodical motions on behalf of plant species for when they need to “wake up”. It isn’t sporadic, no, it takes many environmental cues from the earth and sun to share their information with the plant and when the plant and only when the plant decides to risk it, it will wake up and grace us with its divine presence. The same goes for the migratory aspects of many wild kin. They make their motions methodically, directed explicably by the cues of the world, of their environment.

Think of it this way, what do you miss when you speed about here and there? Do you see the details of a leaf? Do you feel the breeze upon your cheek? Do you notice the subtle changes of here and there in your atmosphere? No, we think not, we think many things are missed when one moves swiftly about.

The sloth is an ancient creature, one that knows speed isn’t the key, speed is what endangers them and we ask for you to think about it this way:

  • How has speed challenged your day to day living?

  • How has the fast-paced world inhibited your growth and luxury?

  • How can you slow down to notice the little changes in your daily life and how can that help you enhance your experiences?

After all, life isn’t worth living if it speeds by you so quickly and you don’t even notice what happened, don’t you think?

We sure do.

Begin to notice, begin to slow down. Begin to settle into your body, your temple, your space and see how that feels within. Bring your attention to the vibrant colors all around, the gentle textures of the swaying grasses, the slow motions of the mountains, and the gentle growth of a new spring bloom. It might all appear to move swiftly, but if you stop and notice, day to day, moment by moment, you’ll realize, things move much slower than once observed.

Be slow like the sloth. Be methodical in motion. Be curious and wise about what you ingest. Food is full of motion too. Some foods, like the vibrant grapefruit are full of exciting life and energy, some foods are slow, slow, slow like the earthy goodness of a beet or carrot.

Ask yourself just now, what does your body crave? A speed demon capsulation of all that can be or a gentle breeze guiding you along a slow and winding path, open for exploration and gentle growth within? It is up to you if you think you can slow down enough to see what is right in front of you. It is up to you and only you on how you’d like to traverse and counteract the rushing waters ahead. You have the power within to slow way down and enjoy the journey and subtle moments.


Energetic Medicine From Sloth

If you wish to call upon sloth for her gentle and caring medicine, all you must do is think of her, and her gentle movements. Embody her, feel as though your body is hers. Feel the fur upon your skin and the shape of your claws.

  • What does it feel like to be a sloth, hanging upside down in a tree?

  • What do you see, what do you see from that vantage point, a different perspective?

  • What does it feel like to move with ease and grace, but methodically and slow?

  • What does it taste like to eat the fruits of fresh leaves and their tender shoots?

  • What does the texture of their food feel like? Is it sweet or bitter in taste?

  • What does it feel to be a sloth, furry and wise, watching the world go by?

These are the attributes you can embody and inhabit to bring forth the energy and medicine of sloth. Take it slow, take it easy, there is no need to rush about. Think of the things you’d miss if you didn’t slow down.


Fun Sloth Facts

Sloths have the least muscle mass of any mammal and all of them are herbivores which doesn't have a ton of calories. Being slow enables them to conserve precious energy so they don't starve.

Clumsy in nature, sloths can fall to the ground, putting them in danger of predation or starvation. Being slow and methodical, helps the sloth plan its travel route and reduce risk of falling.

Their hook-like fingers and toes allow them to hand suspended from a branch without using any energy. While suspended, sloths can eat, sleep and give birth in this position.

They don't have great vision, are completely color blind, and cannot see in bright daylight.

Sloths are three times stronger than the average human when it comes to grip.

Their average speed is about 1 foot per second.


Resources for Sloth Conservation

Vital Actions

Instagram: @vitalactions


Thank you for reading and and being here!

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Elaine Kitagawa
Elaine Kitagawa

Love this Kara! I thought to share that just yesterday, I wrote in my journal this Chinese phrase "欲速而不達" (a phrase from the Chinese philosopher Confucius) - Fool's haste is no speed (this is google's directly translation which I decided to share here given today is April Fool's day). Basically it is the notion that speed doesn't necessarily get you to your goals or objectives faster. And when you rush through things many times you end up half-assing it, or wasting more time. A simple example for me: I rush and scribble a short handed note of to do, come later I had no idea what I wrote and ended up wasting more time trying to figure out …

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