Hello my fellow human Beings:
In the Christian calendar, today is Ash Wednesday, the start of about 40 days of preparation for the Easter celebration. This Lenten period is said to be a time of prayer, repentance, self-denial and almsgiving.
I have always looked forward to the start of Lent, as it gave me another fresh start on the new good habits that I had planned to instill in myself at the beginning of the calendar year, but may have not fully established yet.
Lent is meant to represent the reflective time that Jesus is said to have had before he began his public ministry or his life’s purpose. It was a time when we are told he spent 40 days in the desert reflecting, sarificing the comforts of life, and strengthening his resolve as he was faced with temptations.
I like to use this 40-day or so (45 days, I think this year) Lenten period as a time of strong determintation, where I can:
(1) Be still and reflect more (e.g. more meditation time).
(2) Turn away from my bad habits (e.g. too much TV watching or worrying about unfounded fears) and return to more good habits (e.g. more exercise or accepting things as they are and not reading too much into what might be).
(3) Sacrifice some guilty pleasures (e.g. chocolate or video game time) so I can refocus on my good (healthy) habits.
I also find it a good occasion to perform universal giving (which fits any size wallet or purse) and put into effect the phrase that Anne Herbert, US writer, is accredited with coining:
“Practice random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty.”
These next six weeks provide me with a time, consciously set aside, to reflect, to repent from my bad habits and return to good habits, to sacrifice, and to give, so that I can strengthen my resolve to be the person I strive to be and move towards doing more of my own life’s purpose.
I view Lent as a fresh start, a new beginning, and a time to develop myself without increasing my ego.
So this means I won’t (or I’ll try really hard not to) whine about the sacrifices I’ve made or brag about things things I have done.
Instead, I will journal about it.
- Set out at the beginning the goals I wish to achieve by Easter. (S.M.A.R.T.goals would be best. That is, specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely.)
- Track daily what I have accomplished. (As a recovering worry wart, I find it more productive and motivating to focus on achievements, rather than worry about failures or missteps.)
- Review my progress weekly. (Refocusing my determination on goals I may be lagging behind on achieving.)
Throughout it all, I will focus on being more still, so that I can connect more with the God within me and which surrounds me guiding me on my path in life to growing stronger in my True Self.
Eckhart Tolle, contemporary spiritual teacher, reminds us, in A New Earth, that:
“It has been said: ‘Stillness is the language God speaks, and everything else is a bad translation.’ …You are never more essentially, more deeply, yourself than when you are still.”
So how about joining me on this Lenten journey of reflection, repentance, sacrifice and starting afresh?
The reward of our hard work and effort during Lent is celebrated with rejoicing in the new abundant life we lead.
For the more we are still, the better we connect, and the more we live abundantly!