Struggling with ideals.

I return, time and again, to environmental concerns. It makes sense — I met Poseidon during a mental break that was at least in part triggered by hopelessness over the negative impact humans have upon the planet and our callous treatment of other creatures. I struggle with our disposable society, with our plastic usage, with animal cruelty in the farming and cosmetic industries. We have tried, in our household, to make shopping and eating locally and seasonally a priority. We started — or I started — being pretty do or die about it, and tearing myself down whenever I faltered. I dragged Beth along, but she’s never been much of a “and I suck as a human if I can’t do X or Y,” like I am. And we discovered some things.

Like, it takes time to cook from scratch, to cut plastic out of our lives, and that time is hard to come by, at times. Eating seasonally works pretty well, if you can eat and then digest the seasonal foods that are largely available. That eating seasonally and buying locally is great . . . when you can afford to do so — when you can afford the time and strain that going to the Farmer’s Market will take on you — and it does take a toll on Beth. I can’t go, because I work Saturdays, and her going has wound up needing to have her rest the whole next day, and when she’s already so depleted, that’s viciously unfair.

We’ve considered CSAs, but they’re expensive, and here there are a ton of leafy greens, which . . . we can’t use. Well, half of us can use. And time is a factor.

We are a household wherein one of us works full time. We are a household with members on medication and expensive allergy avoiding food. At this point, eating seasonally and buying locally is being relaxed, with compassion and without guilt. (See? BAD GUILT!) The food ideals I hold for myself are being relaxed, and I’m not going to beat myself up about it. It does not make me a bad pagan, or a bad human. I like my food source ideals, and there is much much wrong with the food industry . . . but we can also only do what we can, as we can, and feeling badly when we can’t do a particular thing serves no purpose.

And, it’s been good, too. It’s reminding me not to judge others. We have the choices that we have to make, only we can make the choices for ourselves, and every day brings new choices. I don’t believe that one cannot care deeply about the plight of the planet and still remained confined to bad and less bad choices. I don’t think one is a hypocrite for saying one loves animals, and for then buying factor-farmed chicken to keep their family fed. I don’t think that we have to always live up to our ideals and our goals to count ourselves as decent humans. And I do think we should talk about it, when we fall short of where we want to be, whether for ourselves or for others.

I am exhausted this year. It’s been a good year, in many ways, but it’s been a hard year, one of recovery as I’ve mentioned, and really, right now, I’m simply tired of struggling. So, in various places, I’m stopping.


5 Comments Add yours

  1. Nykti says:

    I definitely under the “if I can’t do this, it means I am terrible” feelings; I struggle with not only with what I eat, but also in my religious practices. I know I need to recognize that just because I am not in my Perfect Ideal Situation does not mean I can’t worship the gods, or they can’t receive offerings, etc. etc. It just requires a lot of re-tooling that I always feel bad about, or feel can’t happen or else it’s not Real Worship.

    … It sucks, basically. And it’s a hard feeling to try to re-wire but … I think it is possible (or at least I hope it is, so I keep trying). Even doing the little things count, too.

    1. naiadis says:

      Arrrgh!! A plague, a plague upon the Perfect Ideal Solution! It has taken me my lifetime to realize that I *am* a perfectionist, or I at least lean that way. In my mind, I’ve always pictured perfectionists as people who needle at details way beyond what non-perfectionists would do. It’s only recently that I realized I’m a different sort, and have always been. I am the “if I can’t live up to my standards/expectations, WHY BOTHER?” Which is absurd. Most of the time I can counter this with a very, “Bother, because no one else is going to do this in a way that you can/that matters as much to you/because what else are you going to do?” Sometimes, though, the why bother is so heavy.

      And my gods, at least, are never anything but compassionate with me. Existence is messy, situations are not and never will be ideal, and They are involved with us anyway — I don’t think They are involved with us with Their eyes on some future version of us, where and when our ideals are realized. I do think that existence is messy, and I think They want the connection anyway.

      Giving generously of our time and ourselves matters. Sharing it with Them is the biggest devotional act we can give — what more *can* we give, really, that is ours to give, that is inherently of ourselves? What form that takes, that’s up to those immediately involved. With me, Poseidon seems to want the grit and the messy, and the stumbling. Oh, how He wants the stumbling. In that space, there is such love.

      YAY for the little things! They are the moments that make life up. 🙂

  2. Soli says:

    Count me in as another person who does the eating of my own heart over not feeling like I live up to my own standards. It’s tough, we want to do so much, and have such great hopes, but this life isn’t perfect.
    You do as much as you can right now, correct? If you do indeed want to work on changing things further, let what you do now morph into your “normal.” And then when that is set, see what more you can incorporate and KEEP there. Does that make sense?

    1. naiadis says:

      Life isn’t perfect, that’s true, and I’m gaining so much from its imperfections, of late. And yes, changing things, adapting things slowly and keeping them there is the way to go. I do struggle with that. There is so much about horrible food (or food that supports horrible practices and treatment of animals of all sorts, humans included) that is wired as comfort food, at a very hard-to-change level, and there are certain times of year when I relax my standards, because having them add one more thing that I just can’t deal with. December is one of those times.

      But feeling badly about ones’ self does absolutely nothing good. It encourages one to stop trying, and then it is even worse, because it tears one down, and what use is that to anyone?

      Thank you, for your cheerleading. 🙂

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