cripsy13

Musings, mutterings from the misguided.


Leave a comment

Finding My Religion (with apologies to REM)

**THIS IS NOT A ‘RELIGIOUS’ BLOG**

I grew up in a non-religious home.  We never went to church and when I asked my parents about it when I was in my 20’s, they told me that it was up to me to decide who, when, how and what I wanted to worship.  Oh, um…okay.  I also remember taking a course on Tibetan Buddhism and my mother warned me ‘not to tell my father’ – which indicated to me, that they considered themselves Christians, but just didn’t admit to it.

As a kid, I would occasionally go to Sunday school with a friend of mine – she belonged to an Anglican church and yeah, I lost interest pretty quickly.  Then, a few years later, another friend came along and her family were devout members of a Pentecostal church and I think I might have gone once and well, that was some scary shit, right there.  Yikes.  All that yelling and weeping and wailing and flailing of arms – uh, no thanks.

So, I was sort of left to my own to decide what I believed in.  Hmm.  Good question.

I never put much thought into it, to be honest.  I just assumed there was God and Jesus and for the most part – what I learned about religion was based on Jesus Christ Superstar (I still freakin’ love that movie).

jcs-logo

About 15 years ago, my family all went to see the Passion Play in the badlands of Alberta.  I wanted to go because it was set outdoors and it was supposed to be quite spectacular – and indeed, it was (if anyone is interested, here is the website:  http://canadianpassionplay.com/).  I laughed, I cried, I was moved – it was I suppose, a religious experience.  I’ve been back once since then, and I’d go see it again in a heartbeat.  It’s an amazing story.  I also remember my sister and I having a heated discussion on the way there – I asked her about her beliefs and she declared herself an Athiest and I couldn’t figure out why the hell she’d want to go see the story of Christ.  Ah, good times.

I plodded along, not paying much particular attention.  I’d go to church for weddings and funerals, but that was about it.  I have very good friends that are Ukrainian Orthodox and the inside of their church is simply beautiful and steeped in tradition.  I was in Paris a few years ago, and two of my favourite places were the insides of Notre Dame and Sacre Coeur.  They were awe inspiring and immensely beautiful in their design and age.

It wasn’t really until after my father died that I started wondering.  I look back now, and I think it was because I of course, was questioning ‘life after death’ and the idea of heaven and all those things that one thinks about upon the death of a loved one.  Was I mad at God?  Well, I was mad, but I realized it wasn’t at God, because I didn’t BELIEVE in God.  Huh…well isn’t THAT interesting.  I realized that I had a spiritual sense – rather – I believed in the spirit of the universe and that we are all energy and connected.  Did I believe in Christ?  Well, I think he was a stand-up guy; he was principled and preached the words of love and kindness.  Did I believe he was the ‘Son of God’?  No.

So, the past several years, I have found a sense of comfort, if you will, in putting my faith into the universe and knowing that everything happens for a reason…if I didn’t have that, I think I’d be in a much different frame of mind (and not in a good way).  When something goes wrong, I get upset, angry (insert emotion here) – but through it, I try to remind myself that it’s the universe’s way of telling me it isn’t the right time, right thing, right person – whatever the case may be.  That helped me through the agonizing grief I had after my father died and a number of other life altering things that have been thrown at me.  Don’t get me wrong – I get good and mad and weepy when something happens – but it’s that little voice telling me to be patient.  Whatever it is that I need, will come to me in its’ own sweet time.

Fast forward to this past week:  I have been invited to join the Order of St. John of Jerusalem.  Wow, really?  Me?  Huh.  So, I did some research and it’s an amazing Order that basically supports those who are sick or poor and can’t help themselves (I paraphrase).  That’s something I could certainly get behind!  It’s an Order that dates back to the Crusades…er…wait a minute…that’s ‘Christian talk’ – and I don’t consider myself a Christian.  Would joining the Order go against my own beliefs, also – would my lack of Christian beliefs offend those already in it?  I had to give this some serious thought.

I spoke with the woman who nominated me and she has assured me that my lack of Christian beliefs were nothing to worry about – the Order requires that one lives ‘by Christian values’ (and by that, I’m assuming they mean the ‘good’ Christian values, not the bad ones – because, there are some of those).  I researched the organization and came across this:  Notwithstanding the order’s devotion to Christian ideals of charity and its official position that the order has a “Christian character”, its Grand Council has since 1999 affirmed that “profession of the Christian Faith should not be a condition of membership of the Order.” The issue of the order’s Christian character and the issue of “inclusive membership” was dealt with in the Grand Council’s Pro Fide Report in 2005, wherein it was said that the order’s life is shaped by Christian faith and values, but that “[r]ather than the emphasis being primarily upon ‘spiritual beliefs or doctrine’ it is on works of mercy rendered through St. John”. Therefore, while the Great Officers are required to profess the Christian faith, the same is “not an essential condition of membership” and “[t]he onus is on the man or woman who is invited to the privilege of membership to decide whether he or she can with a good conscience promise to be faithful to the stated aims and purposes of this Christian lay order of chivalry.” On the subject of inclusive membership, the report stated “Christian hospitality is a criterion which can be applied to the Order’s relationships to persons of other religious faiths,” and “the Order needs to be characterized by a hospitable disposition towards other faith traditions while holding fast to its own origins and foundational identity in Christian faith.”

I have begun the paperwork this morning.  It doesn’t matter WHAT we believe in – as long as we’re all working towards the betterment of humanity.

PS:  For more information on the Order, here is a website:  http://www.sosjinternational.org/

Advertisements


Leave a comment >

It’s been an interesting week on my new ‘less self indulgence’ lifestyle plan.

I’ve been keeping a written journal of what I eat, what I drink – and what I spend.  At the very least, an eye opener.  Yikes.

I met with one of the leading experts in obesity in the country last week – he was amazing.  If you’ve been following my blog, I’ve been involved with a local “Weight Wise” program, which is geared towards those who are considered obese or morbidly obese.  I’ve met with a psychiatrist, a nutritionist, a nurse and now the doctor.  The whole premise behind this program is to find out if I am a candidate for lap band surgery.  I have to go through a whole series of hoops and jumps before they will even consider it.  The best part of this whole experience is finally having someone understand that it’s not all ‘eat less, exercise more’.  This program is more than that.

He asked some questions that I really never considered a part of being overweight, but afterwards I realized – wow, those questions made complete sense.  He asked me if I had been promiscuous at any point in time in my life, and I will admit – I did go through a phase (of which I’m not particularly proud of) in my early 20’s.  I realize now that I wanted love – and I had confused sex with love (wouldn’t it be nice if we could figure that shit out WHEN we’re doing it?)  He asked me about my relationships with my parents and my sister, friendships…etc.  He asked me if I had a tendency to binge eat (which thankfully, I do not) and if I used alcohol as a ‘crutch’ (oh yes), did I overspend beyond my means (sigh, uh – YEAH) and a few other questions.  The questions he was asking had very little to do with my size or my weight, they were more geared towards my thought patterns and my personality, which can be defined in one word:  ADDICTIVE.  I was addicted with trying to find love, I was addicted to instant gratification and I was addicted to alcohol.  2 out of these 3 things were easily obtained by overspending (yet, another addiction).

Now, this is interesting.  There was an article in the paper this morning – “Weight loss plan can curb spending” (Postmedia news).  There was a line in there that jumped out at me:  “While the authors say not everyone who struggles with weight also has money problems, [Demetre] estimates over 50% of the population has issues with both.”   Wow.  I’d never thought to put the two together per se, but it makes sense.

We live in a society of instant gratification.  We want what we want, and we want it NOW.  We don’t budget for things like our parents did, we put it on credit.  We don’t scrimp and save our pennies, we just buy it and worry about it later.  We don’t do without – we all ‘need’ the new TV, the new iPhone, the new tablet, the new…(insert vice in here).  When I want to eat something, I want it NOW.  I don’t mean binge eating – I just mean regular, day-to-day living.  If I want sushi for lunch, I’ll got and get it ($15.00).  Then, if I want steak for dinner, I’ll go and get it ($15.00) and maybe a few more groceries that I really don’t need, but want ($25.00).  I’ve just spend $55.00 on things I don’t necessarily NEED.  Repeat that every day for about 5 days.  That’s $275.00 just on FOOD related items that I probably only need about $30.00 of.  Let’s add some wine on top of that ($60.00/week) and maybe a shirt or pair of shoes ($100.00) and I’m up to $435.00  For one week.

Great – so now I’m fat AND in debt.  But I can see how it goes hand in hand.  I eat and overspend to compensate for the things that I don’t have, which in turn creates more problems and gets me farther away from where I DO want to be.  It’s a vicious circle and I’m doing everything I can to get off the giant hamster wheel and back on solid ground.  Because the things that I want most – to be happy, healthy, a normal body weight – and to buy my own home – are things that only I CAN do myself.  It won’t happen right this very minute, but with some time and patience, I think I have a pretty good chance.

figure_running_hamster_wheel

Like they say, good things come to those who ‘weight’.  🙂


Leave a comment

SELF INDULGENCE

Happy New Year!

So…how many of you made New Year’s Resolutions – hands up!  Right…now, how many of you are still following them?  Oh…yes, well, that’s to be expected.

Image

Every year, I vow to lose weight, drink less, do more, get out with friends, be more organized…the list goes on.  Most years I make it until about mid-January and then slowly everything starts to weaken…and I’m back to where I started, angry at myself for failing and then I wind up making things twice as hard for myself because if I’ve failed, I’m going to do it with a vengeance.

Image

Which ultimately means I eat too much, drink too much, slob out on the couch, ignore everyone and find myself looking for my bankcard at the bottom of my purse (because there is no way in HELL I’ll have put it back where it should go).

Bah.

Just prior to Christmas, I had a (as my father would have put it) a ‘come to Jesus’ meeting with my landlord.  I’ve been wanting to purchase my condo for a long time, but kept putting off attacking the mountain of personal debt I’ve accumulated in about the past 9 years.  She’s given me until the middle of the year to prove that I AM working on it and if she’s happy with the results, she will bend over backwards to assist me with the purchase – WAY above and beyond what a normal landlord would ever do.  Our meeting was extremely intense; not since my father died have I had such a conversation about my debt and my addiction to self indulgence.

Which started after my dad died.  I just put that together.  Interesting.

I’ve probably mentioned this before, but my dad was everything – dad, best friend, mentor – I admit, I was definitely daddy’s girl.  He did everything for me – got the oil changed in my car, bailed me out of stupid monetary decisions – the stuff most dads do.  I never panicked – or paid much attention to things, because I knew dad always had my back.  I’m embarrassed to admit that he helped me out financially WAY too many times.

My dad died suddenly in February 2005.  It hit me like a fucking sledgehammer.  If you were to ask me what the rest of the year looked like, I can’t tell you because I was in a complete fog.  My sister and I had to start caring for our extremely needy mother, who made our lives a living hell.  I had lost my dad, my best friend and my support.  My safety net, as it were.

Image

That’s when things started getting ugly.  I started drinking too much, spending too much – EVERYTHING was too much.  I didn’t care, nor did I think of the ramifications of my actions.  It made me feel better.  It stopped the hurt.  I started spending like I had an unlimited trunk full of cash.  I didn’t buy big things; it was the little things – $40 here for a new shirt, $25 here for groceries and I’m not even going to get into how much I’ve spent on wine over the years (that in itself is embarrassing).  Maxed out more credit cards than I can count.  Managed to get myself back on track by paying them off, only to get myself back into trouble – time and time again.

I just didn’t care…I didn’t stop to think that all those little purchases added up to one big, hefty bill.  Oh, I made payments regularly and was always very conscious about doing that, but it was all peripheral; it never entered into my mind that I was paying 13%, 15% or 17% and throwing a few hundred at it each month wasn’t getting me anywhere.  I was managing it and I didn’t have debt collectors after me and it was all good.  Carry on!

Image

After my mother died in 2010, there was a small inheritance left to me and I used most of it to pay off debt.  Yay!  A credit card with a zero balance!  Whoo!  I can start spending again!

Just before Christmas I got extremely sick and have only just started feeling marginally human again.  I had a lot of time to just sit and ponder things…when one day, I had what I like to call – a jelly donut moment.  A jelly donut moment is when you stick your finger in the middle of the donut and watch everything ooze out the sides and top.  Basically – my psyche started oozing, but with that came clarity – a sense of calmness that I hadn’t felt in a long time.

Image

I realized that for the past 9 years, I’ve been obsessively self indulgent.  I bought things because I wanted them RIGHT NOW and I drank too much because it made me forget all of my problems – but, I deserved it – didn’t I?

No.  Well, maybe.  My point is that all of the money I’ve spent, all of the wine I’ve drunk didn’t replace my dad – it only created a different dependency.  A dependency on being self indulgent.  ‘Poor me, I’ve had a bad day, I should go look at shoes.’

So, tucked at home in my jammies on New Year’s Eve, with some cold medicine and Netflix – I made a different resolution.  This is the year that I become less self indulgent.  I’m going to take care of myself by eating better, getting a bit more exercise and by not drinking.  I’m going to think before I spend.  Now, that doesn’t mean I’m going to be absolutely 100% ‘perfect’ – but what it means for me, is that those moments of self indulgence are going to be the exception, rather than the rule.  Because I deserve it – don’t I?