Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Tuning In For Lent

Today is the start of Lent, after the gluttony of Pancake (Shrove) Tuesday yesterday. It's a time that many decide to give something up that has a particular pull on them, until Easter. I know my mother-in-law, for example, has given up desserts a few times over the years.

For me, Lent also signifies a time to turn inward. It's a time to focus on how we are living, and to re-evaluate our spirituality and relationships. I'd rather turn the magnifying glass on myself, than merely give something up for a few weeks, just to turn back to it once there. It's not for me to decide another individuals journey or beliefs though, of course. Lent obviously lends itself to fasting and to repenting. My own journey is about positivity, however, and in that vein, I choose rather to find ways to improve on my path forward.

Over the course of the last few weeks, I've been searching the net for various suggestions on what to do for Lent. One such site had a list, submitted by readers, for something to do each day for the length of the Lenten weeks. I thought there was some great info there and the practice of a new and inspiring activity daily was interesting to me. The suggestions ranged from reading Lenten scripture to having a carbon free day by eating by candlelight. Neither of those are bad ideas for the right person. You can find more from that list, here:

Another site has a daily calendar with a listing of what to give up or fast from, what to pray for, and what to start anew. You can find that one, for your own use, here :

As to me? After much soul searching regarding how I can make Lent truly meaningful for my own needs, I've decided to take some time each day to meditate. My days are often child centered and are harried at best. I move from one task to the next, never more fully conscious than what that next moment holds and where we need to be in a hurry. I collapse into bed with my family asleep around me, and realize I've never stopped to just "be." I'm no martyr, and I know making time for myself is my own responsibility. I'm just not very good at it. As activities and demands mount, I'm more likely to make sure all is carried out without a hitch and that everyone around me has all that they need. My time focused inwards is minimal to nil.

So, for Lent, I've decided to take the time each day, just 10 to 20 minutes, to reset my focus and re-energize my soul. It will most likely help with stress, for sure, but more importantly, I hope it quiets my mind and my heart long enough that I can breathe. In that breath, I am searching for peace, calm and some time to re-align my true priorities. In so doing, I assume I'll be giving up some things by default.

Whether you partake in Lent or not, I think relinquishing bad habits and seeking new affirming ones is never a bad practice to begin. Check out the above ideas and maybe find your own inspiration for one thing you can do today to make a small change, one step at a time.

Or, you could just go eat that dessert! My mother-in-law won't be needing it!

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