08 October 2012

Celibate but sinful


I’m not normally so candid in my blogs but I’m quite happy to admit that I’ve been three years celibate today! The most intimate I’ve been with a man in the last 36 months has been in the squashed conditions of a Peruvian bus.

This wasn’t an active choice; it just so happens that I haven’t met any men during that time who I’ve wanted to have a relationship with. And that’s no bad thing. Wasn’t it one of Shakespeare’s characters in Twelfth Night who said “Journeys end when lovers meet”? Well, I don’t want my journey to end for a few years yet, so a lack of lovers must be a good thing.

It's difficult not to be gluttonous when treats like these are on offer.
However, just because the sin of lust has passed me by that doesn’t mean I haven’t indulged in some of the others. Gluttony, for example, is my constant companion. It’s a miracle that I’ve lost weight since I came to live in Peru as I’m sure I eat more here than I ever have before. That being said, research tells me that living at altitude burns many more calories than living at sea level and experts recommend that more than 70% of your daily calorie intake is carbohydrates, so my physical location has much to do with controlling the results of my gluttony.

As for greed … well, I think I’ve successfully managed to shed my ‘excessive or rapacious desire for wealth and possessions’. Moving from the four-bedroom house I shared with my ex-husband to a 50-square-metre apartment forced me to discard many belongings and, though it took a little getting used to, I actually found it liberating not to have so many possessions. As the quote, by some unknown wise person, goes ‘Letting go isn’t the end of the world; it’s the beginning of a new life’, and so it has been for me. And now that I’m wandering the world, I carry very few possessions with me.

Sloth is another sin I battle with. Though I pride myself on being a hard worker and I know I can accomplish a huge amount when I put my mind to it, I am sometimes inclined to indolence. At least I am aware of my failing and try to close my ears to that siren’s call.

A good place to be idle!

And so to pride. Do I have a ‘high or inordinate opinion of [my] own dignity, importance, merit, or superiority’? That’s a difficult question to answer. I am proud of what I have achieved in my life but not of all I have done. But am I excessively proud? I hope not. As the old proverb goes, ‘pride goes before a fall’, and I have a great fear of falling. Hopefully, that fear will prevent me becoming too proud.

The sixth on the list of deadly sins is wrath. Though I am slow to anger, once aroused my anger can take on a life of its own and is a scary thing to behold. Borrowing from Steinbeck, I try to starve my grapes of wrath of the sustenance that would make them grow heavy for the vintage as I am aware they produce a poisonous brew.

No green-eyed monster here
Last but not least is envy, the green-eyed monster. Do I covet the success or advantages or possessions of others? Most of the time, no. I am grateful for what life has given me, grateful for my health, grateful for my friends and family, grateful for every day I’m alive. I agree with what Jean Vanier said about this particular sin: ‘Envy comes from people’s ignorance of, or lack of belief in, their own gifts.’ I am grateful for the gifts I have been given.