Thursday, April 09, 2009

enCouragingBliss: Do Not Get Rid of Your Vice

“Do not get rid of your vice but make it work for your illumination rather than your degradation. Turn it around on yourself and transform it into your best virtue.” from BlissChick

Wouldn’t you think that finding your bliss would be all warm and fuzzy. Happy. Light and carefree? Wouldn’t that be delightful – and way too easy?!?! BlissChick, however, is a woman after my own heart and she is willing to dig deep and look at the hard stuff which in return helps us move closer to living our bliss – truth – image of God – or whatever you like to call it. In her current post, she asks us to consider how we might transform vice to virtue.

So, that’s where the tough work comes in. We must first name our greatest vice. Yuk!! I pondered her post for a minute or two, considered doing something else (i.e. avoiding the topic) and then my inner censors kicked in and shouted, “I am selfish.” So, I opted to pick up pen and paper and see what happens.

In writing about my selfishness, I began to find the virtue of generosity. So I posed myself the question of when am I most generous? Throughout the conversation, I realized another vice showed up – my self-critical voice. (Not so surprising!) Self-criticism is an easy trap in which to get caught, because I am great at being critical about being self-critical. (While writing this, I realized the virtue here is that I am very generous with helping others see and fight their own battles to be free of self condemnation ☺.)

Having come through this not-so-little exercise, I discovered the virtue to these two vices of selfishness & self-criticism both come down to one thing – generosity.

Be generous. Unconditional. What if I could be generous with myself - giving myself the love and care I need…while still being generous with others and knowing they may fail me, because they’re human just like me? A circle of generosity perhaps?

Thanks to BlissChick (and Joseph Campbell who inspired her post which I highly recommend reading) I shall be looking more closely at those places where I am both selfish and generous with myself and others. Not getting rid of the vice, but seeing how it might be transformed into virtue.

How about you? Are you up for turning some vice into virtue? What would it be? How might you go about it? I hope you’ll join in the journey and let me know what you find along the way.


Anonymous said...

"A circle of generosity maybe?"

Lucy! WOW! this is really excellent. Honest.

I admire your integrity.

Yes, we are both "do the work" girls, aren't we? :)

Unknown said...

What a great post...doing the work no matter what work can be difficult but the rewards are absolutely worth every bit of work.


Unknown said...

Thanks for commenting on my lost exercise and for your own post. It is helpful - generosity is most definitely the positive side of self criticism. I need to and certainly will work at understanding it more positively. Thanks for your help!

Sorrow said...

vice into a virtue?
I thought about what my "vice" might be.
because I am not sure exactly what a Vice is.
Is it my love of chocolate?
my need to be present for my children?
my opinionated personality?
Guess I need to decide what a vice is..
thanks for this trial of mental bread crumbs

lucy said...

blisschick--you gave us one whopper of an assignment this week. it's funny, but i did not do my normal journaling this morning, because i had other writing to do. then i read your post and had to spend time in my journal before i could get anything else done! thought-provoking and convicting - to say the least :-)

gabriella--i think after LOTS of practice i am finally remembering that rewards do happen and so don't spend quite as much time procrastinating the hard work.

nomad--nice to see you here. i also loved your responses at blisschick! it is so much easier for me to be generous to strangers than to myself and the people closest to me...but i'm going to keep working on it :-)

lucy said...

sorrow--how would you answer your own questions? if they were mine, the answers would be no, yes and yes. (from what they tell me, i am a strange woman as i do not have the "normal" chocolate addiction.) thanks for stopping by!

Kel said...

perhaps we feel selfish because others make us so when we assert our needs?

that circle of generosity is something all us women should step into

but really what i wanted to say is that i love those terracotta cherubs!
are they from your garden?
but bearing wisdom somehow ...

Dianna Woolley said...

This is brave introspection and an excellent stream of consciousness about turning the vice to virtue. Admirably done!

Procrastination may be my vice of the moment. I would pretty much like to put EVERYTHING off until tomorrow - paying the bills, going to the grocery store, working out, painting, weeding, writing - I don't think this is a new vice for me. I find in retirement it's just easier to exercise. I do manage to push myself into action just when I think I may have "waited" too long on about everything I can think of.I've pretty much gone through the exercises in life that get me out of the procrastination trend for a while but I think I really like this vice so I find it especially difficult to turn around:)

I think Blisschick's exercise and your questions were meant for a deeper analysis of self than the one I've come up with.....

Barbara said...

Sunrise Sister is so right about developping the vice of procrastination in retirement! (As some of my students once wrote -- others may crastinate, but we're pros at it!) The absence of deadlines is difficult to adjust to. Eventually, it all gets done. Eventually.
The virtuous side of this vice is perhaps my "time-wasting" on the computer. Procrastination allows me time to connect with others, to think and process what is going on in my life.
As SS said, as well, a deeper analysis of my self would come up with something more fundamental. However, I'll get to that later. ;)

Abbey of the Arts said...

This post made me think of Thomas Moore's wonderful book Care of the Soul (which I believe your dear sister is now reading) :-). He talks about asking those inner voices that undermine and sabotage us what it is they really need, what is the desire underneath the din of negativity. I found this way of looking at my own places of struggle absolutely transformative. I love the image of being generous with yourself and with those parts of you that you (or I) may be quick to judge. So much more fruit comes from this journey rather than just staying with what feels good.

Kayce aka lucy said...

kel--i spied those little cherubs in a neighbors garden and couldn't resist snapping their photos. i, too, love their childlike wisdom!

SS & Barbara--you retired procrastinators, you!! so glad you don't put off stopping by here and commenting :-)

christine--i'm going to have to keep practicing this one alot! those old voices and habits are hard to consider in new ways, but i'm working on it. xoxo

storyteller said...

You've given me something new to consider and I'm grateful. Thanks also for the link to BlissChick ...
Hugs and blessings,