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Posts Tagged ‘acceptance’

This is the third Friday I’ve been in my new home.  The third Friday that I’ve taken as a day off.  I have no desire to do anything and nowhere I really have to be.  But there are things I’d like to get done.

As I’ve been unpacking boxes I’m piling them in my kitchen.  Today I broke them all down and put them together for recycling.  The community bin is across the street, which makes this OH SO convenient.

My kitchen is ready save for a couple of small things.  I’ve been prioritizing wants from needs.  I’ve got everything I need for the kitchen.  There’s a few things I’ll obtain as I want them.  For example, casserole dishes.  I didn’t have any.  I really didn’t need any but was out one day and came across an incredible deal.  So know I have one that I purchased at 75% off.

I’m embracing a new attitude about “stuff”.  If it’s something I will use (more than once) and will enhance my life, I will obtain it. Otherwise, nope.  Don’t need it.

On my list still to obtain are a creamer and sugar basin for when I entertain, which I will be doing on Sunday.  An iron and ironing board.  Something I will be using, especially once I start home communions and will have linens to launder.

I am in need of new clergy shirts; the one’s I have are starting to come apart at the seams…granted, I have had them for 6 years.  But I’m waiting for a sale as they are EXPENSIVE.

I also need new bras.  The two I have are uncomfortable, too big and leave a weird line in my clothes.  Living where I do means there’s no easy access to buying them, so I’m beginning to look online.  Being a plus size gal makes it a tad more challenging.  But I will succeed.  I am determined!

Slowly I am mindful of a routine being established in my life.  I like routine, I like order and I am finding for the first time in a long time, I have both.  I work as hard as I ever did, and am mindful of myself and my needs.  If I’m tired, I rest.  If I’m hungry, I eat.  I’m still struggling with food addictions, and overall am making healthier choices most days.

There are times I abuse myself with food.  And I’m aware that I’m doing it.  It occurs infrequently and I am pleased that I can recognize that it’s happening.

So today I’m going to have a shower and get dressed.  Make my bed, go to the post office, drug store and grocery store, all of which I can walk to.  I’m going to go to the hardware store on the other side of town.  I could walk, but I’m going to drive.  And if I don’t get what I am looking for there, I will drive to the next largest community; an hour away.

There is nowhere I must be today and no commitment I must keep.  Today is a day just for me.  And I LOVE that.

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Recently there has been a great deal of attention given to fat shaming, usually in the guise of “concern”.  There is a You Tube “comedienne” who recorded a video called “Dear Fat People”.  I started watching it, got frustrated, angry and then started to feel sorry for her.  I didn’t finish watching it because I’ve heard her arguments before.  The thing is, this woman does not know me.  She does not know my struggle.  Yes I’m fat.  But that’s not all I am.  That’s not who I am.

I am a 47 year old woman who has battled demons that she would likely never imagine.  I wouldn’t wish my burdens on anyone.  They have strengthened me.  They have formed me.  They have softened the hard edges in me.

There was a time when I was under-weight.  And I was in terrible shape.  Psychologically I was unwell.  Physically I was frail.  I wasn’t anorexic, I didn’t struggle with an eating disorder.  I was naturally under-weight and extremely sick.  At 16 I was in a car accident that changed me.  I became afraid of everything and everyone.  I sought comfort, in food.  So I ate, and I ate and I ate and soon I was a “healthy” weight.  But still sick.

As I have aged I’ve had a love/hate relationship with food.  There was a time when my diet was almost exclusively ready to eat or heat and serve.  And I was malnourished although I was overweight.

I am not now, nor have I ever been a delicate person.  I have an above average skeleton so I “hide” my weight well.  But I am overweight; I am fat.  You may think you know me, but you don’t.  And you likely won’t ever get to know me because all you see is my size.  Not my heart.

I am an Anglican Priest in a small town.  With my arms I have held those who were in mourning.   I have hugged those who are celebrating.  I have anointed those receiving the sacrament of baptism; and anointed those who have died.  I have written hundreds of pages of homilies, read thousands of prayers, and heard more stories than my heart can hold.  Some of those stories are of triumph and hope; some are of death and despair.  All of them are held sacred.  They are part of me.

I have witnessed people seeing the face of God for the first time.  I have listened as folks poured out their heart and soul, looking for forgiveness which they didn’t feel they deserved.  But they do.  We all do.

To those who feel sorry for me because of my weight, please don’t.  I have no desire to be on the cover of a magazine.  For those who judge me when I order dessert or french fries, go ahead.  Your judgment means nothing to me.

I have a weird relationship with food…I always have and likely I always will.  I struggle with food addiction, but instead of feeling a victim to it, I am re-learning to enjoy food, without guilt or shame.

I walk every day, sometimes more than once a day.  I walk for me, to see the world around me.  I don’t listen to music or compete with besting my time, but instead, I walk to feel the rhythm of my feet on the ground, to feel the rush of air into and out of my lungs.  I walk to strengthen my body.

My hearts desire is to make a difference in the world.  I have the best vocation in the world…to teach people about love.  I live that the best way I can.  And in doing so I am learning to love myself.

So for those of you who cast judgment when you see me; my clothes, my hair, my weight, my diet…go ahead.  I’d rather you cast that venom in my direction, then to someone who isn’t as strong as I am.  You see, your words mean nothing to me, they don’t define who I am.  Only I get to define who I am.  Only God will judge me.  Actually, many will think they can judge me, but only God’s judgment matters to me.

So go ahead, bring your fat shaming.  I know who I am.  I know of what I am capable.  You don’t.  And likely, you never will.

I am Fat Woman, hear me roar!

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When I was recently away for two weeks I read a book that changed my focus and, in fact, my life.  Since that time I’ve been back at work, working as hard as before, but with a better sense of peace.  I am able to recognize things within my control and much more often, things outside my control.

I no longer feel the need to micromanage everyone around me.  My house is a mess, there is dog hair everywhere, but instead of fretting about it, I go for a walk, meditate or pray.  I watch a movie or read a book.  And then I vacuum or sweep the floor.  My “must do” list is much shorter than my “may do” list.

I’m eating healthier, drinking lots of water and moving my body every day.  I no longer race around, I walk, sometimes at a good clip, other times barely above a saunter, and take in my surroundings.  I stop to smell a flower or say hello to a dog (always with permission of the dog’s owner).  I say yes to meeting a friend for coffee and then walk to our meet (if at all possible).  I’ve stopped taking responsibility for other people’s actions and reactions.

In short, I’m regaining control of my life and letting go of the things that have cause me distress and devastating unhappiness.  I have finally realised that the only person responsible for my happiness is me.  Those two weeks away meant I could unwind and simply be.  I reordered my priorities and now I’m quite near the top of the list.

The realisation that I’m a priority, and by spending time doing things that make me happy is not selfish, but necessary.  Doing that helps me remember my balance and priorities.  I’m worth it.

I will never be an extreme athlete.  It’s not something for which I strive.  I will never be a cover model.  I will never be the size I was in high school again.  And that’s okay.  I’m overweight.  Or maybe I’m undertall?  Either way my goal is to be happy, not because of a dress size or numbers on a scale.  More than happiness I crave peace and calm.

I still have a riotous sense of humour that can come out in unexpected and often inappropriate places.  I’m unique.  I’m quirky.  I’m weird.  I’m different.  In short, I’m me.

My choice is to seek the good in every situation.  And in every person.  Every day I give thanks for something…it may be something small or something huge.  But it’s something.

I try not to take anything for granted.  I try to celebrate something in every day.  Yes, there are times when I will be hurt.  Yes, there are times when I will hurt other people.  But I truly believe if you speak the truth in love, you will always find the strength to speak the truth.

This next year will be about changes.  Some internal, some external.  All good.  All healthy.  All God-given.

Look at me go!

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I’m not even sure if that is a word…but it is now.  It’s been ages since I last posted and that’s for a variety of reasons.  Since Easter I’ve had a funeral, a wedding, have met with two couples who are getting married.  Spent time in hospital at bedsides, attended meetings, and contracted a devastating 48 hour ‘flu.  Aside from that there’s been not much happening.

This Spring I’ve been overtaken with the need to de-clutter.  I’ve been consumed with the need for open space, for clean shelves, uncluttered tabletops.  In short, everything in it’s place and a place for every thing.  I decided two summers ago to empty the room that was, at one time, my home office.  It became a storage wasteland for all the things that entered the house but didn’t have anywhere to go…so they ended up in that room.

That room is now empty of my stuff.  There’s a growing pile of garbage at the sidewalk in front of the house because this week is the community garbage collection.  There’s broken clothes racks, broken glass, broken chairs…just about everything but broken hearts…

And while there’s been a great deal of space opening in the house, there’s still boxes of things that need to be sorted through…books to be returned to friends or put in the box for the Church Yard sale.  There’s more stuff than space, even though there’s a whole empty room.  Thus, the discombobulation.

In the course of a couple of extremely busy weeks, I reached for Coke Zero, my go-to caffeine kick at Seminary…and in short order I was guzzling a horrifying about each and every day.  I’ve also been eating a great deal of food that is little better than garbage and not drinking nearly enough water.

So last week I decided that I needed to get my unhealthy self back to healthy..

I purchased a Fitbit that tracks my sleep patterns, steps, stairs, water intake, calories in and out. So far I”m using it to track steps, stairs, sleep and water…will work up to the caloric thing eventually.  I know I feel better when I drink water.  I can motivate myself to drink enough with Fitbit.  I”m not competing with anyone or anything but myself…even though that is an option.  I need to spend less time in my head and more time outside, moving my fat ass around.

And while I am learning to love myself, I am in need of health and that will come by caring for as well as loving myself. It’s not about losing weight, although that is something I want to do.  It’s not about scoring points on a chart.  It’s about doing all these little things that will help me to feel better, look better and be better.

If I don’t lose one pound, that will be okay, because I know with more water, more movement, less stress and better eating, I will be healthier.  And my body will thank me for that.

So while the de-cluttering of the house continues, the cleansing of the body begins.  As the garbage goes out and the treasures go to the Yard Sale, I will still and quiet my mind.

I believe it will be then that my discombobulation will begin to lift and I will feel more like myself.

Oh, how I have missed myself…and as soon as I find where I tucked my yoga mat away, that will be another goal realised.

Time to get up and get moving, the administration will wait until later.

Now where’s that water bottle…

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Karen Armstrong, a former Roman Catholic nun and well-known theologian has written extensively on the three Abrahamic faiths; Judaism, Christianity and Islam. She feels that what is causing a great deal of strife in the world is a lack of compassion.

As such, in 2006 she expressed a desire for a world-wide Charter of Compassion, whereby individuals, communities and groups could agree to live life with compassion for others. In 2008 the Charter for Compassion became a reality.

It’s mandate is simple: “We believe that a compassionate world is a peaceful world. We believe that a compassionate world is possible when every man, woman and child treats others as they wish to be treated: with dignity, equity and respect. We believe that all human beings are born with a capacity for compassion, and that it must be cultivated for human beings to survive and thrive”.

To read more about the Charter for Compassion, please check out their website, www.charterforcompassion.org.

Jesus talks about compassion in one of the most well-known pieces of scripture. John 3:16 says “for God so loved the world that He gave his only Son, that those who believe may have eternal life”. Jesus is continually putting others before himself. His entire ministry is of teaching, preaching, proclaiming and healing.

He welcomes sinners and outcasts. He eats with them and shares stories with them. He treats everyone as equal; something that was unheard of in those days and, at times, still feels as though it is the way of the world.

Imagine if you were Mary. She was told, as a teenager, that she would have a very special child. She agreed to undertake this ministry. Little could she imagine that her child would die before her…a parent’s worst nightmare. Would she have agreed if the angel had told her that her son would die before her? Or the horrific way in which he would die? Would her reaction have been the same?

Imagine if you were Jesus. He is born fully human and fully divine. He was able to experience hunger and thirst as well as pain. He knew that he had an earthly calling but also a heavenly calling. And he was, as we all are, gifted with free will. To say that Jesus had no choice, is to weaken and diminish the gift he lovingly and willingly gave us, the gift of his own life.

Imagine if Jesus had been told the horrific way in which he would die? Imagine if God has responded when Jesus was in the Garden of Gethsemane? Jesus called out, in emotional agony for God to take away this what had been commanded. And God was silent. I have wondered for years why God was silent and I can only deduce that God kept silent because if God had spoken, s/he may have changed her/his mind.

God kept silent because s/he felt there was no other way for Jesus to fulfil his ministry.

Remember the story of Abraham and Isaac. Jesus would have known this story well. Maybe he was hoping that God would tell him that because he was willing to die, he would be spared; as God spared Isaac. That didn’t happen. And Jesus died.

Willingly and lovingly.

And Jesus would do so again.

When we live our lives only for ourselves, we fail to see the gift we’ve been given. When we fail to see the suffering of humanity, we struggle to recognise the inherent human dignity of the stranger; of the other. We fail God. And each other.

As we continue through the 40 days, plus Sundays that comprise Lent, let us take the time to be kind to each other. To treat each other as we wish to be treated. Every religion on the planet has adopted this basic premise as it’s main tenet. In Christianity we say “love your neighbour as yourself”.

Spiritually speaking, it is easy to get wrapped up on our own lives and forget the lives of the less fortunate, of the broken, the hungry and the naked. We are called, as Christians, and as human beings to share in the experience of compassion.

Imagine if we all lives our lives believing we were making a difference? Imagine if we lives our lives putting others before ourselves? Of loving with abandon and of ensuring we recognised the inherit human dignity of every person?

We can do it. Each and every one of us. It starts with me. And with you.

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I have never had general anaesthetic before.  Pretty amazing given my age (47).  But it’s true.  I am scheduled for surgery on Friday and I’m nervous about it.  Not nervous about the procedure, the surgeon has my complete faith and he knows what he’s doing.  I’m not nervous about dying, because I’ve made my peace with God and am ready for whatever comes my way.  I am nervous about the anaesthetic and my reaction to it.

I’ve been preparing this week by eating a bland diet.  Drinking lots of water and herbal tea.  Detoxing the processed crap from my diet.  Breathing better.  Getting things in order at the Church for Vestry.  Asking a friend and Deacon to take the services for me so I don’t have to worry about presiding service less than 48 hours after surgery.  I’m even staying overnight at a friend’s house for a couple of nights to make sure I have someone with me.  Another friend is moving in to look after the dogs so they are cared for.

The massive anxiety I have been carrying was lessened significantly when I decided not to work on Sunday.  I know it’s our annual meeting and that’s a really big deal, but so is my health.  The work has been done to get everything ready; well, as ready as things can be for this meeting.  We must remember to leave room for the Holy Spirit.

I will be spending some time at the Church this afternoon putting things away as the office is a pigsty right now, sorting things out, finding files, filing them, etc.  And once that is done I will breathe a great sigh of relief.  I have full trust in our Wardens that they will do a fantastic job of Vestry.  I’d like to be there, but I don’t have to be there.  Vestry happened before I came to my current parish and it will happen again when I’m no longer there.

I have done what makes me comfortable.  I have organised as best I can.  The rest I leave in capable hands.  And it will be what it will be.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to refill my water bottle.  🙂

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We are on the countdown to the big moment, the BIG SHEW, the Birth to end all BIRTHS!  Yes!  We are 2 days away from the birth.  We gather on the 24th to celebrate the coming, and yet, not nearly as many gather to celebrate the actual birth…something which has puzzled me for a long time.

I have not done any baking for festive cooking this year.  I haven’t mailed any Christmas cards this year.  There are some decorations at the rectory, but not many.  I haven’t composed a Christmas letter…and I’m not likely going to.  Why?

Because there is more “stuff” to do then there is time.  And this year, for the first time ever, I am not skimping on my sleep.  Traditionally, every year, I get sick after Christmas.  Partly because I don’t eat properly, I don’t exercise properly or look after myself properly, and I certainly don’t sleep properly.  This year I have been mindful in the invitations I accept so I can factor in proper sleep.

Maybe that makes me sound like an old woman, and if so, I’m okay with that.  Age is a relative term.  I’d like to stay upright through this season and into 2015.  So far, so good.

One of the things I have missed doing is yoga stretches.  I’m not the slightest bit graceful, nor do I pretend to be, but when I stretch out on the yoga mat and focus on breathing, I feel invincible.  I feel like I can take on the world and do anything. And usually I roll up my mat, put it back in the carry bag and go back to work, feeling focussed and alive.

As a society I don’t believe we put enough energy into our breathing.  I know for myself, when I am feeling stressed and overwhelmed I find my breathing to be shallow and rapid.  When I become mindful of my breathing, I can focus better, think more clearly and make healthier choices for my life and those around me.

These next few days will be pressure filled.  The crazy illusion that if I preach my best homily ever I will single-handedly bring folks back to Church.  That one good homily will fill our little Church to the rafters.  It’s not true.  But the pressure remains.  I have promised myself that I will put one foot in front of the other.  I will take at least one short walk a day.  I will eat healthy and save room for fun stuff.  I will nap if time allows, and I will focus on my breath as often as possible.

Because without breath, we have nothing.  When the earthling was formed, God breathed life into its nostrils and humanity began.  Breath is essential, without it we have nothing.  Without it we die.  So from now on I will focus on life-giving breath, on slowing my breathing and focussing on life.

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