15 June 2015

guilt & pleasures

on my dutch blog i've been trying to deal with Feeling Guilty {and how utterly debilitating it can be, but how deeply ingrained in our culture and convictions at the same time}, Abundance and Being Able To Spend Money...

i was born and bred a Good Catholic Girl, went to church every week until i was 13, believed the whole Jesus Loves You thing and got great comfort from belonging to this group of other Catholics in the village {which, although in the predominately Catholic south of the Netherlands, was a minority group, as the vast majority of people were one form of Protestant or other, or non-religious}. in my teens i started to question the whole religion thing, which wasn't happily received by my parents {for strange reasons my father - who always portrayed himself as a Rebel - was heaviest with me in my wish to opt out of going to church and being religious... i guess he was towing my mum's line and my rebellion against her scared him} and gave me my first inklings into what lay ahead for me in terms of Becoming My Own Person, as opposed to carrying on as i had been in the years before, as an obedient child.

one of the big things in any religion, and Catholicism in particular, is Feeling Guilt. Admitting Guilt, Being Punishable Through Guilt, as one is Born Guilty and you spend the rest of your life redeeming yourself, and maybe by the time you die you'll have accomplished this mission and you can die a happy man/woman... it is of course a very complicated matter {more can be read here} and not one that is easily defined or dismissed {when is Feeling Guilty a natural reaction to something that is deemed wrong, and when is it a harmful emotion, holding us back from developing and flourishing as human beings?}. my friend Mo and i spend hours trying to figure out which of the guilt that we feel is a remnant of old feelings of repression, as used by those who raised us {parents, church, teachers, family members}, and which is something else altogether... guilt in itself isn't bad, it's the inability to move beyond it, to feel so bad as a person that one can feel only redeemed when punished, that it stops us from being truly happy or free-spirited...

which brings us to the matter of Abundance.
part of my upbringing was a reaction to the poverty that one of my parents was raised in, and the relative richness and comfort of the other... rich people were seen as oppressors, as bad and evil and all things awful {unless they lost their riches and became poor, or had given all their money to charity, or were in some other way denying their wealthy background}, and in no way to be trusted. money could be lost, there was no way of knowing if what you've earned or saved up can be held on to. so money was always a hot issue. it needed to be gathered, saved, spent incredibly carefully, and one had to feel bad about wanting things that cost money... gluttony in any form was seen as Wrong.

when i started to earn my own money, i spent it on Luxury. just because i could. true, i saved, for You Never Know {and to be able to Travel}, but i happily spent it on things i really didn't need, but liked the look of. expensive fountain pens, for instance, or loads of books and music, or way too much paper, or a travel bag made form Indian material, or a throw made form Indian material {there was a shop in a nearby town that sold beautiful things from India, that i almost lived in at one point...}, or shoes, or... and my mum looked on in horror... she had never in her life dared to waste a penny on anything, let alone herself, and here was her daughter, whom she'd raised to be sensible and cautious, buying stuff that had no use other than Look Pretty... What The Hell...

the man i spent my life with for the past 23 years was quite a lot like my mother in that way... very sensible and careful with money, always convinced we were on the brink of poverty and destitution, looking on at my ability to spend money 'recklessly' on Luxury Items {which was rare, as we had Nowt...} with confusion, but not the horror that my mother would sport. he was amused, in some ways. still wouldn't spend a penny on himself, unless he needed new clothes or shoes or now, stuff for his house, but any item of luxury he owns has been given to him as a gift... unlike my mum he believes that it gives him a spiritual advantage, less baggage is living lighter, that kind of thing, and i see what he means. he has a suspicion towards rich people, mainly those who we born into it, the ones with the advantages he felt he never had, and i get that too. i just don't share his hostility towards them... if i truly believe my belief in the Law of Attraction, i know that they've somehow attracted their reality, and Mr G has his, as has my mum hers...

there's nothing wrong with abundance, with spending money with having it, or not having it... all is okay... as long as it is what you feel truly happy with and grateful for...

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