Seven Deadly Sins

Brad Pitt & Morgan Freeman in Seven

A celibate Christmas. It got me thinking about the seven deadly sins: what are they again?

Lust (a-ha!)

Gluttony

Sloth

Envy

Greed

Pride

Wrath

I’m pretty sure those are the famous Seven. And I’m pretty sure I’ve engaged in every one of them at some point in the past. And, you know, I didn’t believe they were sins at all. In fact, I thought these seven qualities were necessary, even good; definitely not evil. That’s because my ego was running the show and what my ego wanted, it got. I was impulsive, impatient, seeking instant gratification, shallow, elitist, and ignorant.

Lust, what could possibly be wrong with that? That’s just admiring another for their sexy qualities and indulging in some harmless play. Well, no, it’s objectifying another person, reducing him to his sexuality and not seeing him as a person with thoughts, feelings, and dreams. It is demeaning both to you and the other person and reduces you to your base urges…in which case you may as well be an animal.

As for gluttony, what’s the harm in over-indulging? Especially at Christmastime when there is so much around us to enjoy? While it’s true that denying ourselves food will not make the hungry less so, when we include intoxicants in this category we see where the harm lies. Overindulging in alcohol can lead to disastrous results including deviant sexual behaviour, neglect and abuse of loved ones, and a flouting of personal ethics and social mores. In many cases it can also lead to death.

How did sloth come into my life? The least effort for the most monetary gain was my motto; work smart not hard, and definitely don’t work for free. I have recently discovered the satisfaction of cleaning my own house when I used to pay someone to do it; of working hard all day and sometimes into the night to complete projects I’d previously procrastinated on; and of volunteer work: being of service to others, reaping no monetary gain but nourishing my soul in many beautiful ways.

And what of envy? I thought it healthy to look upon another with covetous eyes. Inspiring was the way I described my feelings of jealousy. You have what I want so I’ll pretend to be happy for your success when really I want it for myself. Secretly, I don’t believe you deserve that for which I envy you … Be honest; most of the things you envy are material anyway, not at all what God wants for you, but what your ego tells you you need. That’s why soon after you acquire it it loses its cache.

"Greed is good": Michael Douglas in Wall Street

It’s fairly obvious why greed is a deadly sin, but our society often confuses us by encouraging it. Even the so-called spiritual self-help movement (The Secret et al) would have you believe that wanting wanting wanting luxury goods is perfectly natural and ok and here’s what to do to get them. All that wonderful energy could be put into doing good in the world and instead they are encouraging you to use it to obtain a Maserati? No matter how you look at it, that is some faulty philosophy.

In the movie Seven, pride is represented by a model obsessed with her looks. The antagonist slices off her nose (to spite her face) and then leaves her with a bottle of pills (enough to kill her) taped to one hand, and a telephone receiver (to call for help) taped to another. Rather than live with a mutilated face, the girl opts to swallow the pills and end her life.

I’ve put my personal appearance ahead of my spiritual health for a long time. In fact, the better I’ve looked the worse I’ve felt, creating a complete disconnect between my outside and my inside. I’ve worked to change that by being easier on myself, dressing more comfortably, and daring to leave the house without make-up once in a while. I am slowly letting go of the need for external validation based on my appearance and asking to be loved for what’s inside, even by my self.

Wrath: although I’m uncertain about the exact meaning of this one, I have an idea it is about venting your frustrations on others. Letting loose a pile of vitriol on those who would dare to behave in ways that are not what you had in mind. It’s called control and it’s probably the sickest behaviour of all. Wrath’s close cousin is anger which is really a demonstration of powerlessness. Wrath can also be inflicted as retribution for a perceived wrong (the death penalty, for instance).

The opposite of wrath is forgiveness which I now practise every day, especially toward myself.

And in case you were wondering, the Seven Virtues are:

Chastity

Temperance

Charity

Diligence

Patience

Kindness

Humility

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Hollywood kisses

Omigod, I watched a Youtube video of Hollywood kisses yesterday. I’m turning into a romantic. Not having sex for a few months has taken my mind out of the gutter and put it somewhere else–in a sweeter place. I am tired of being alone, though. I know I’m not technically alone but I mean alone in the sense of a man touching me. Unless I go for a massage or chiro treatment, no man is touching me. Which is tough.

My friends are still puzzled by my decision to abstain from sex for a year. At first I think they were just waiting for me to cave knowing I’d give in when I got randy enough or a handsome enough man came along. There have been a few handsome men (and I’m definitely randy enough) but I decided I can look at something nice and not have to have it. Kinda like window shopping. I am practising restraint and impulse control and it has been a true character builder.

I am beginning to view men in a new way: as people, imagine that. I no longer judge them according to shagability but just enjoy being around them, talking to them, with no expectation of anything untoward. I am developing my personality in a way that is not designed to attract men. I have changed the way I dress; again, it’s main purpose is no longer to attract men. I dress in clothing that is comfortable as well as flattering and I am gentler with myself in many ways.

I used to feel like I had to look perfect when I left the house…just in case; I got my hair done once a week, waxed everything once a month, wore full make-up every waking minute, and worked my body out to within an inch of its life. Now I feel I don’t have to be so hard on myself and I don’t wish to be obsessed with and defined by my outside. I want to develop my inside and be loved for that, too. Most of all I want to love myself.

Put simply, I am developing a relationship with myself. And it’s complicated.

Published in: on December 23, 2010 at 10:12 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Alone

I saw a really cool video posted on Facebook today on how to be alone. Not to be confused with typical guides on how to be single, the video which was spoken/sung by a girl with a guitar could help anyone who was having trouble being on their own. She suggested starting small with places where it’s “normal” to be alone like coffee shops or libraries, gyms with headphones firmly in place, then graduate to darkened movie theatres or lunch counters.

Once comfortable, move on to solo dinner dates (resisting the urge to check your iPhone), walks in the woods and sitting on park benches. Being alone is useful for improving your art, be it music or drawing. Society is uncomfortable with aloneness assuming people have problems if too much time has gone by and you are still not “taken”, she says. I confess to having thought this myself.

I assume people must have walls up if they’ve been relationship-free for a number of years. It’s been about a year and a half since my last relationship and I must confess I hope it doesn’t go on much longer than the next eight months of self-imposed alone time. I am grateful for this opportunity to get to know myself but I am also curious to know what it’s like to love another. I wonder if I have that in me?

I have no idea if it’s a fairy tale; I wouldn’t be surprised if it were. I can live with the idea that you have to learn to love yourself and if that’s true then I look forward to falling in love with myself and with life. I am inspired by those who live every day to the fullest. I have days that I live to the fullest but definitely not every one. It seems as though those people who take life by the reigns end up in happy relationships. That’s my only evidence that one has something to do with the other. That happy people attract one another and want to be together. That’s my hope for the future.

Published in: on December 19, 2010 at 3:29 am  Comments (3)  
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One Less Lonely Girl

Ok, I’m lonely. I miss being touched by a man even though I know it’s not what I need. I have experienced progress in that I feel I might enjoy the more romantic aspects of being with men, like kissing, hugging and even talking rather than my mind going straight to sex. I just miss being in the arms of a man and I’m not ashamed to say it.

The longing intensifies when I get a text, which happens from time to time, from a guy whose company I used to enjoy *ahem* and who’s come sniffing, I mean asking, if I want to get together again. Part of me thinks it would be so easy to just get that fix and be done with it, but I know I would regret it after and I’d feel cheapened by the whole thing–a very short term gain for a longer term pain, one that I didn’t readily admit to myself in the past.

Everything has changed about me since I embarked on this journey, not the least of which is the way I dress. I used to present myself in a very sexy way which evoked a positive response in men, of course, but ensured that I was valued mainly for my exterior. Now that I am working on myself rather than being distracted by attracting men, I feel as though I don’t want to false advertise so I’m keeping the goods under wraps dressing much more conservatively and covering up skin I used to reveal.

It’s been 4 and a half months since I had sex or a date or any meaningful contact with a member of the opposite sex. What I’ve gained is the hope that a future encounter will be mutually respectful and beneficial, and spiritual on some level. I’ve also gained the knowledge that I can do without men while I continue getting to know myself. It’s really not that hard to stay away from men; it just takes some getting used to.

Published in: on December 18, 2010 at 4:12 am  Leave a Comment  
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Make-up free

I feel different. It’s been four months since I’ve had sex and now that I don’t have to worry about whether or not I’m going to meet someone and/or take him home, I have eased up on myself a little. I don’t feel like I have to look hot all the time so I can get whomever I want. I actually left the house without make-up the other day which is a miracle in itself. I had a conversation with myself first because the idea seemed so wacky and I decided that I looked pretty good and didn’t feel like covering up my naked face. I felt liberated and vulnerable at the same time. Ironically within an hour someone called me “hot” which surprised me quite a bit.

I wear make-up not for myself but for you, the viewer. I have learned from a young age that people respond to my looks. I get daily compliments on my appearance and I feel as though I have a responsibility not to disappoint. I feel almost as though it’s my job to look fantastic. When someone says, “Wow, you’re stunning,” I just think well, good, I’ve done my job. Sort of like a mechanic who’s fixed your tire. He’s not going to be flattered because you rave about how well he fixed the tire; he just did his job.

Just recently I’ve begun to think maybe it’s not my job to look amazing all the time, that I’m allowed to leave the house looking less than perfect. I’m not perfect, I’m only human. Looking perfect distracts people from the fact that you may not have anything else of value going on, that the inside is a lot messier than the outside. That’s ok; my inside is messy. And now sometimes my outside is, too.

Published in: on December 6, 2010 at 4:28 am  Leave a Comment  
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