I was hunting for inspiration this morning to start a fresh day when I came across a post from local author Susan Gaddis, who reminded me that lent is coming, in her blog Holy in the Daily. Lent will start on Wednesday, the 22nd of February and will continue for 46 days until Saturday, the 7th of April.
I’ll agree, the liturgical calendar seems a bit obsolete these days, but this season of Lent inspires me. I spend a good bit of my time reading faith-based books and blogs. My daughter Valery and her husband Jonathan are writing one called Hoekmania from Ethiopia right now, a blog that is not necessarily faith based, but it and its followers are truly faith-filled. Jon’s dad, Larry writes God2Me, which shows up in my inbox each morning. I also like Daily Manna from the Net.
That’s the easy part: reading the inspirational writings and teachings that others post. But it is in the doing, the being, that the struggle lives. I can easily become like the Dead Sea: things flowing in, but nothing flowing out. My life can become too salty for anything good to live in.
The purpose of the infilling I think, is to enable the out-flowing. Both parts: filling and emptying, need to be very conscious decisions. Truly, the choice to be happy, grateful, giving, does not come naturally.
Lent then, becomes a special container – a time set aside for this process. What we fill the time with, and what we give are unique to each of us. My hope is that I don’t sound too super-spiritual but that my life truly reflects my words. Here are some of my ideas. Maybe they will inspire you to create your own.
- Stay in the moment. Projecting ourselves out into the future or dragging ourselves back to the past are futile efforts.
- Let yourself feel. Author of Taming Your Gremlins, Rick Carlson, tells us that The Zen Theory of Change is in this simple notion.
- Be angry, but sin not. I used to be afraid of anger, but I’ve learned that anger is natural, needful. If we don’t allow anger in our lives or the lives of those we love, we will experience its outlet in secret ways…much harder to deal with.
- Be your own mom. This notion came to me one day and changed my life. Treat yourself well, love your body, don’t be critical of yourself, be fully you.
- In everything give thanks. As you embrace and work with what is, you will grow and mature and your life will flow.
- Forgive yourself – forgive others. This sounds like a good idea doesn’t it? But it’s not so easy, for like love, forgiveness is an action. It starts with an intellectual choice, but until it permeates your actions, it is empty.
- Mind your own business. Pretty self-explanatory. I’ve got enough work taking care of my own issues, shortcomings, challenges. I can listen, reflect, and empathize…then stop. It’s not mine!
- Treat others as you want to be treated. It’s not just the Golden Rule but the only way to true happiness for yourself. For hidden in the way you treat others is ultimately what you will attract, and in the end, the way you will be treated and judged.