Sweet Unity

sweetunity

On the day of New Year’s Eve 2019 in the heat of the transformation mindset I have made the rash decision to avoid processed sugars all week, and every week except Sundays. There are multiple normal reasons that I have for doing that, but nothing that’s a matter of life or death. I just wanted to see if this change would make my normal human health problems such as energy spikes and crashes, skin problems, motion sickness, and other things improve so that I can become a healthier version of physically ‘normal’. I told my mom about this on the phone, and coincidentally she said that she had made the decision to avoid desserts until Sundays. “Maybe we can support each other,” she said. Avoiding desserts is a change far less extreme than avoiding the processed sugar that’s in commercial peanut butter and fed to yeast to make bread fluffy, but it was still a similar kind of change.

I thought that this would be fun. I have lost some of my taste for sugar from the time I was a little kid–now if you give me the choice between peanut butter cups and cheezies, I’d go for the cheezies. This will be easy, I thought.

I got into the habit of getting up early in the morning to make myself a hearty sugar-free breakfast of some kind. Over the past few weeks I have made myself plenty of three-egg cheese and spinach omelettes, and they’ve kept me going very well until lunchtime. I’ve been brewing my coffee less strong so that it would taste too sweet for me if I even attempted to put a small amount of sugar in it, while beforehand I would have brewed it so strongly that once I had added my sugar, it would have been as decadent as bittersweet chocolate. I loved, and still do love coffee like this, but it was a lot of caffeine in one little comfort drink. Milder coffee with just a splash of milk has also been tasting really good, but in a different way. My energy, mood, and my stomach feel better now than before I began drinking coffee without sugar. It also cleanses my palate in a nice way after eating an omelet.

I’ve been liking what this choice has been doing for me, but this is the problem— as an over-analyzer of everything including ingredient labels, I could easily allow this choice to make me so self-centered that I can isolate myself from others for the sake of vanity. My arguments for following this restricted diet to such an extreme might not be strong enough and can potentially discredit the challenges of people who have no choice but to avoid sugar.

Why do I think that this choice can be unjustly isolating? I have begun to question this choice on my first day back to my volunteer job at a school when one of the teachers baked a birthday cake for the teacher I work with who had her birthday during the Christmas holidays. This was when I began to think about what a birthday cake, or any other kind of centerpiece dessert that we cut and share symbolizes—it symbolizes coming together to celebrate unity in one good thing. If I had said ‘no’ to a piece of cake I would have been denying the intentions to share for superficial reasons. I accepted a piece of cake and felt no regrets. In fact, my conscious would have been bothering me if I had said ‘no’. This might sound strange to some people, but it actually took willpower for me to accept a wonderful piece of homemade buttery pound cake with whipped cream icing all because of my legalistic tendency towards excessive self-control. Personal freedom takes effort sometimes—can you imagine that?

After this experience I tweaked my New Year’s resolution to include centerpiece desserts, but not a moment too soon I couldn’t help but acknowledge that my friends and family had been continuing to bake homemade treats such as cookies, and offering them to me just like they had always done—same story.  Although physically cookies are not centerpiece desserts that symbolize one unifying sweet that we share In pieces, they are still made with the intentions to share, so I’ve accepted homemade cookies, and the occasional candy. So now I’ve tweaked my resolution again: I will eat sweets whenever they are offered to me in kindness, but I won’t go out of my way to find something with sugar for myself for convenience’s sake. It’s considered normal in today’s world to turn to a vending machine candy due to hunger over taste, and that might be one of the biggest problems we face regarding sugar. There’s no unity involved in getting yourself a package of Pop Tarts just because you’ve missed breakfast. I doubt that there was any love put into the making of convenience sweets either. From now on whenever I’m offered anything sweet I will ask myself: “Is accepting this treat going to allow me to connect, or maintain connection with others?” If the answer it ‘yes’ I will accept it.

Because of my obsessive personality I can easily become an extremist in many aspects of my own life. I either neglect to care about worldly things, or I obsess over them. It’s hard for me to find the in-between, and my diet is not an exception to this problem. This reason is why I’ve thought it best to create rigid rules for myself, and then over time tweak them whenever they are proving to deprive me of whatever is freeing and humbling—this is transformation.  First Timothy 4:4-5 says, “For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, for it is made holy by the work of God and prayer (ESV).”

 

Gracefully Admitting to Mistakes

2+2=5In a Church service this past Sunday I have heard something that challenges what I’ve previously written in my last blog post about ‘The Unmoved Mover’. The pastor said that “God doesn’t tempt,” and immediately I remembered the line I wrote about God giving us “incorrect” thoughts and feeling to move us towards what is true. I still stand by everything else that I’ve said, but I urge you not to give into what I’ve said there. I’ve made the existence of elusions seem simpler then they really are, and I’ve ignored the fact that people get deceive by subjectivism, and that subjectivism comes from the devil. But on the other hand, the devil can never act outside of God’s control. This is a dynamic that I can hardly begin to wrap my mind around, so that’s why I’ve written this part too simply and lazily.

I am saying this to let you know that I am not scared of the mistake that I’ve made. In fact, I’m going to leave this mistake in my post, and discerning people who understand the complexities of human transformation will pick up on this and filter it out in their minds. This blog is being written by a millennial who still has three quarters of her life experience ahead of her, so don’t expect a high level of objective wisdom here. I’m just trying to figure these things out like you are. I can deceive you without knowing that I am, as can anyone else who is human.

Why does it take years, and decades to become comfortable making mistakes, and admitting that we’ve made them? Is it because of the way in which society is structured, or is it part of human nature? In a conversation I’ve had on this blog I have discussed the necessity of forgiveness. I believe that whenever we trust that we’re going to be forgiven any fear that we’ve previously had of confession melts away, and after making mistakes we can painlessly grow beyond them.  We need to build more environments that allow this kind of transformation to happen–it’s amazing how people can grow towards the truth in an environment where the desire to give, and receive forgiveness is evident.

The Unmoved Mover

aurora borealisHere is a question to think about: Do we exercise free will in our thoughts and feelings, or are we only free in our actions?

I’ve provided a link to a website about “The Unmoved Mover” below this paragraph. Although I believe that the author stating that “Time has always existed” is a little too much of a stretch, he explains Aristotle’s theory of the Unmoved Mover in a way that can prevent our brains from wandering off. This is good, because our minds can wander easily while trying to wrap them around all of this.

https://classicalwisdom.com/philosophy/unmoved-mover/

The article says, “We cannot say that fire or air move upwards by their own agency, that is to say that fire and air did not decide to travel upwards…” our thoughts, feelings, inspirations, and even our current beliefs don’t seem to move from our own agencies, but they do seem to move, and transform just like these elements. But in-turn, our actions can affect our thoughts and feelings. For example, if you ate the last piece of cranberry upside-down cake, and then learned that your friend was saving it for later because he or she hasn’t had any yet, you’d probably feel bad. You didn’t choose to feel bad, this feeling just came from outside of your own will.  You could have chosen, however, to ask your friend if he or she has had any cake yet.  If you did ask, and refrained from eating the cake, you would have been exercising free will just like when you chose to eat it.

So to answer my question from the beginning, it seems like we are free in our own actions to make decisions, but our thoughts are as much from our own free will as breathing, and our feelings are as self-controlled as our heartbeat. I believe that these things come from a living unmoved mover who gives us incorrect thoughts and feelings to move us towards what is correct throughout our lives. Logically we’re puzzled by why He would intentionally give us false thoughts and feelings and won’t just make them prophetically align with the truth all the time so that nothing ever goes wrong, but He doesn’t—that would be boring. What would a story be like without conflicts and character growth? You’ve guessed it; boring. Who likes coffee with too much sugar and not enough bitterness? I don’t.  In this life too much sugar can make us feel sick, and bitterness helps us to appreciate sweetness even more.

adult beverage breakfast celebration

I’m going to leave you with this post for now until the new year. I wanted to end 2018 off with these thoughts because my plan is to talk more about Christianity next year, and the ‘Unmoved Mover’ theory seems to work as a great bridge between philosophy, and theology. This year I have noticed how open-minded people can be. A few people have taken my writing into consideration while being justly critical at the same time. I believe that constructive criticism is a sign that people care because they want to help me to see different perspectives. Nobody was ever dismissive of me just because they disagreed. I have tested the waters of the online community and have determined that people are strong enough to handle what’s coming next. It’s not likely to go well with the kind of people who don’t question their own thoughts and feelings, but those who do will hopefully gain access to new intellectual terrain that’s yet to be explored.

I wish you all a merry Christmas, and happy 2019.  🙂

Finger Food for Thought

Here are a few summaries on the things that I have discussed on this blog so far. I am trying to capture what I’ve been saying in my philosophy posts into less words, and to also roughly illustrate a new direction that the topics might be heading into. I’ve been trying to think of something Christmas-related to write about, but I’m struggling to come up with something.  (I feel kind of bad about that because Christmas is my favourite time of year 😦 ).  However, I have written a fable that I am planning on publishing here soon.  It will be extremely different from the Macaroni and Cheese story that I wrote for Canada day.  My family says that it’s pretty creepy and dark.  (For the record, I usually don’t write scary stories.  It’s just that I find it hard to stay within one genre).  As the motto says under my title, here are some ideas that I have tried to ‘contain, and secure in a knot’.  I hope that I have succeeded:three christmas themed glass snow globes–Intentions matter more than words.

–Chaos doesn’t exist outside of ourselves, but it does exist as an illusion that we can escape by trying to communicate, and looking for the truth. The unknown is order, but what appears to be a communication disorder needs to be acknowledged in order to break out of it. (This is two blog posts put together as one idea—the fourth post, and the thirteenth.)

–If there is anything that terrifies me to no end, it’s the possibility of remaining stuck with my own opinions about other people without any help to figure out if I’m wrong about my beliefs about them, and to learn about what I have in common with them.

–If people criticize others more than themselves, it’s best not to implement their advice into your own life. These people don’t seem to have enough self-awareness to understand you at a human level. You will know that you are around them if they dig their heels into you whenever you are trying to implement healthy self-critical skills. You will know that you are around them if their words grind you in the gut, and cut you off from ever questioning them, or even conversing. They might try to transform your self-criticism into a false sense of self-love, but it’s more likely that they will try to transform your self-criticism into self-hate.  They might make you believe that your best intentions, or efforts are never good enough.  Do not let them interfere with the balance that allows you to connect with others.

–Earlier this month, I believed that pride and shame is a rocking scale that we need to get away from. I also believed that If we looked at this scale from a bird’s-eye view, we would see that pride and shame are both the same thing, and that they are both bad. However, it was brought to my attention that there is another form of pride that I have neglected to mention—the pride we earn. When I first wrote about this, I was originally thinking about self-assigned pride. Self-assigned pride is most likely a self-made illusion to conceal shame, and earned pride is the sense of fulfillment that comes after personal success or doing a good deed. It’s a reward that keeps us from giving up on ourselves. Whenever people reach this form of pride, they provide a standard for other people to strive for. What are the prose and cons to earned pride? I don’t know yet.  All I know is that writing makes me feel more stable than I was before, so I suspect that I’ve been gradually earning this kind of pride.  I am still learning about the cons, so hopefully in the future I will have the experience I need to go into more depth about these two forms of pride.