Last week, I began a series on the two challenges I set myself up for this year. This is the second and concluding part of the first of the two challenges.
To read about how I got started on this challenge, please read my last post:
Challenge: Below The (Poverty) Line, Part 1 of 2
To find out how I fared with that challenge, well, read on.
A reminder. Bestie Boy’s text in green and mine in brown.
Me: Duuuuude! I so limbo’d through the week, yo! Uh huh, shimmy’d ‘n duck’d below that frakking line!
Oppan! This NO Gangnam style! 😉
Okay, okay, I know I foolishly compare something as horrific as poverty to happy times like dancing. What I was getting at is, I’ve just completed my dinner that capped a (work) week of dieting below the poverty line. (Dieting – again, a wrong choice of word, I know, but I think that’s what dieting feels like.) Quite tempted to celebrate right now with a slice of chocolate cake that’s oozing my name in trickles in the box it lies in.
Right. Ditching the drama; cutting to the crux.
Refraining from the beyond-basic extras wasn’t as hard as I suspected it would be, thanks to my ability to move a few gears in my head. Yes, yes, I really want to show off attaining the spiritual goal I hoped to with this challenge.
First, the ‘give the devil his due’ stuff. I hadn’t read about this challenge anywhere. So a very special ‘Thank You’ for sounding me about it, Bestie Boy.
Thanks to this challenge, I also finally know what I’m going to gift Liam* for his birthday this year!
*Liam is my friend who is a (Catholic) priest.
In Liam’s name, I’ll do something with the money I have saved skipping the frills this week. It’s a toss-up between giving him the amount for his street boys’ shelter or giving someone something edible right here in my city. As you know, I don’t give donations per se. I like to deny myself something and “donate” the money I would have spent on that temporary luxury. My travelling second class on long distance trains make sense now? I feel like a flippin’ saint when I suffer through stuff like that for this reason! I find this manner of giving fulfilling.
Liam doesn’t like receiving personal gifts, but he likes it when someone more deserving gets whatever-it-is instead. What’s that saying again? Ah, this.
“Show me who your friends are and I’ll tell you what you are. “ ~ Daddy
(Google doesn’t know the true source.)
Bestie Boy: Poverty and its resultant deprivations are something I think about often, anyway.
Me: Oh? Oh-kay. I know you’ve experienced periods of deprivation on occasion during your student days at uni, but I did not know you were aware in times of bounty.
Bestie Boy: I’m a [the university he studied at] student; of course, I think about these things! Just by process of osmosis, I think anyone who has ever stepped foot inside [the university he studied at] will be instantly made aware of these kinds of things.
But sadly, I did not take part in the ‘Under the Line’ (https://www.livebelowtheline.com/) initiative. It was much-talked about in the office, so I guess we raised some awareness.
Me: Fo sho! I learned about it through you. In any case, awareness is the first step towards making any kind of change.
Remember how I cribbed because I did not read about this challenge anywhere? Well, I found an article in some business section after the event, and I saved the following excerpt to share with you whenever we got down to talking about this.
The article is about the writer’s experience. He focussed mainly on how he budgeted for the challenge, but this excerpt is what I found more interesting. The writer’s text in blue; my two bits in … yeah, you know.
Of course, as a friend pointed out, many genuinely poor people wouldn’t bother cooking at all – they would simply buy £5 worth of spaghetti hoops, spam and own-brand biscuits and get by on them. Well, maybe so, but I reckon part of this challenge is to try and live in a sustainable, reasonably healthy way. And I did feel quite detoxed by Friday, after five days with no booze, very little fat and no sugar (almost). (I did not think of this benefit! Detoxed – ha ha!)
But I wouldn’t want to have to live below the line for any more than a week at a time [Me neither. I didn’t enjoy the process. 😦 ] – it really made me realise the luxury of choice that you take for granted when you have enough money.
Bestie Boy: I liked the last line of the article you included in blue: – it really made me realise the luxury of choice that you take for granted when you have enough money.
I think that’s what the campaign is all about really: realising how lucky we are.
Me: “Realising how lucky we are (/I am)” wasn’t the reason I jumped at it. Noble and worthy and all that jazz as the thought was, I dove into the challenge to challenge myself with something else.
Deprive myself of my favourite food – check!
Go a whole day with no food* – check!
*Good Friday and the times I emulated my Muslim colleagues in Saudi Arabia during Ramadan.
Both have been checked off several times to not make me bat an eyelid anymore over the thought. But eat the absolute boring-ish basics and get myself to not just refrain from not eating the fun-nest parts of the meals*, but not crave these luxuries? That was the biggest test for me.
*Raisins, flax seed, dates, jaggery and saffron strands with my porridge
Fish at lunch
Meat at dinner
Dessert after both meals
My fruit, veggie, nuts and junk snacks
This is typically how I eat.
This image is from www.rd.com
Thank you, Team at Chapter Q8,
on whose page
‘10 Ways to Right-Size Your Meals’
I found this image.
Everything Isabella cooks at home is stuff I like. The simple, healthy variety, mostly. Mum and I get a lot of food gifts, but tempting as it all is, that’s pure junk. So I restrict our consumption of that and I give away most of it to those who aren’t as fastidious as Mum and I are.
Every time I eat, out of habit that I’d cultivated shortly before I moved to China, I am conscious of what goes into my belly as part of my mindfulness (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mindfulness) and gratitude practices.
Thank you, Susan, John and Erin, for granting me permission to use your article to explain the
‘Attitude of Gratitude’
on your website,
‘Happy Life U’.
Not easy to be (the one on the) right.
This image is from
Me: As you’ve seen, being aware and being thankful are now routine for me. These two practices (along with a few more) are why I believe that my vita is dolce indeed.
When darkness rolls into my life,
I remind myself
that the sun will rise from behind the clouds.
Thank you, Alberto Monnar and JUMP FOR JOY! Photo Project, for signing up to follow my posts.
Thank you, You’ve Been Hooked!, for commenting on my last post.
Thank you, The Ranting Chef, You’ve Been Hooked!, and mj monaghan for liking my last post.
P.S.: Cheerful Monk adds a footnote to every post acknowledging those who comment on her previous post. She also links the commenters’ names back to their own blogs.
I like both these practices of acknowledging the time and effort made to comment, and the free advertising! So I’m doing what I do well – being a copycat!