Simplification: Hopefully Without Judgement

I am making an attempt to simplify my life. I know I will never be Buddha on the mountaintop, but I feel constricted by my Things. I feel manipulated into thinking I need things. I feel stupid for buying into the capitalist consumer (yeah, mom, I’m a communist) driven society we live in. I guess I just feel worn out from trying to keep up. I sometimes think that Bec is some kind of saint for being able to live with me when I am like this. I fully expect at some point in my life to have a breakdown, to just turn on, tune in, and drop out. I just can’t take trying so hard just to live up to the expectations of other people, to live up to my own expectations of me, and to go through life with real life passing me by. I often wonder am I trying to get my PhD. To make money? to impress others? or because I love literature? I sold my car to my friend, and now I walk or ride my bike everywhere, which is amazing, but I find myself thinking mean thoughts about people who are addicted to their cars. Take, for instance, my neighbors. Yesterday they left and no more than two minutes later, they were back. I said out loud to Bec, well, I suppose the amount of CO they put in the air was worth the five minutes they saved by not walking that trip. A month ago that was me, so why am I so damned snarky? Well, not only am I PMSing, but I guess I am also trying to find my place in this mess. I think I am going to go homeless for a bit next summer, or something, maybe a long camping trip by myself, but I need perspective. I need a perspective that I can’t get where I am right now.

I blame my disillusionment on people like Shane Claiborne, Donald Miller, Anne Lamott, and mostly Jesus. I have been trying to cleanse myself. Yeah, I guess people would say I am a bit new-agey, too, but I think Jesus took moments to cleanse himself. He fasted, prayed, withdrew to the wilderness, and walked around barefoot, so I guess we all should take a moment to do that. I need more time with just myself and Jesus and nature.

Anyway, I have stopped eating meat again for health, moral, and ethical reasons.

Health: I was fatter than I had ever been one month ago, but I have lost quite a bit of weight since then, like 15 pounds. I feel better when I am vegetarian, and I love vegetables, so what the hell, no more dead animals.

Moral/Ethical: First, I am a pacifist, and I have read enough Buddhist writing that I believe that compassion extends to all living beings. (I also think people were created to be vegetarians, but I won’t go into that theological rant right now.) I think that way we treat animals and all living beings tells alot about how we eventually treat people. I know, I’m crazy, but I have a hard time eating one animal and petting and naming another, and since David, who hates vegetables, is in Fort Wayne now, it is easier to make a vegetarian meal for Bec and I. And, I know that it may seem weird, but I have a hard time eating something that I think is beautiful. I love cows! How can you not love cows! I guess, too, I am trying to think about how gluttonous Americans are. If we don’t like food, if it doesn’t taste exactly right, we don’t eat it. Why? Because we can afford to be picky! I am trying to buy as much Fair Trade, Organic stuff as I can, too. Basically, I am trying to take only pictures and leave only footprints, as the case may be. I want people to be treated fairly, and I want my body to be a temple—a round, wonderful temple. Click here to see a website about Christian Vegetarianism. Click here to check out a local fair trade endeavor.

This whole post was prompted not only by my mother telling me that I needed to post something because I hadn’t in a while, but also by my first Sabbath on which I read Through Painted Desserts by Donald Miller. He writes:
“How does a person stop caring about the opinion of others enough to enjoy them without manipulating them? How does a person stop caring about money to pay rent, about where his food will come from, or whether or not he has a good retirement package? When with Paul [his friend not the apostle], one is confronted with the notion that may be much easier than the rest of us believe it is, that most of the things we worry about are not worth worrying about, that a low bank account or unfashionable clothes won’t give you cancer.”

He goes on to talk about how he thinks that life is about security. How life is about worrying about being right, whether or not people like him, whether or not he’ll get married, and all sorts of other things. I want to be more like his friend, Paul. I want people to know when they are around me that life is good, life is worth living out loud, life is not about money, status, popularity, or security. Life is about love, compassion, grace, God, and each other. I want to live the simple way: love God, love people, follow Jesus.

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