We started out on this revolution-not-resolution journey of inner transformation at the beginning of the new year. The plan was to bring some new habits into our lives — things that might foster peace, balance, and a sense of gratitude despite the craziness of the world around us. I can tell you that, for me, it was definitely a dance of moving forward a little bit, slipping back now and then, and standing still more than I would have liked. And that’s okay. After all these years of trying to make spiritual “progress,” I know this is par for the course, and I’ve come to accept the slowness of this work. This is not the kind of thing that can be rushed.
Now, however, we are on the cusp of Lent, and that provides us with yet another opportunity for growth and transformation. The structure of the season is perfect for making a plan and sticking to it. I don’t know about you, but I’m always able to do things in Lent that I just don’t have the willpower to do in “regular” life. The key is, as I’ve mentioned before, not to set yourself up for failure. Find one thing, one habit, one sacrifice that might challenge you; be sure that it’s infused with prayer and spirituality because that’s what will set this journey apart. Fasting without prayer is just a diet, so connect the dots between whatever you’re giving up and the spiritual path you’re on. To make this more holistic, it’s good to add something to your life — a specific prayer practice or maybe an act of service.
I was not so devoted to the meditation practice I recommended here a few weeks ago, so my plan is going to be to recommit to forty days of daily meditation that will include 5 minutes of spiritual reading followed by 10 minutes of silent meditation. (I’ll continue my gratitude journal as I always do and my yoga practice as well, which is spiritual practice for me as much as it is physical practice.) I haven’t yet decided what I’ll give up. So many things to chose from! I have toyed with the idea of giving up coffee, but I think my family is scared by that suggestion, as am I. My coffee cup is always full and at my side. Still… maybe that’s a crutch I can try to do without for a while. I still have to ponder this idea. Not sure I’m that evolved.
Take some time today and tomorrow, as Ash Wednesday approaches, to think about this coming Lenten season. What would make your time in the spiritual desert more fruitful? This is my favorite season in the Church year; there is something so beautiful about a season to strip away the things we don’t need or the things we allow to replace our connection to God and to dive deeper into the prayers and practices that can break us open and lead us forward.
We’ll continue this journey together in the weeks ahead. Share your experiences in the comment section, or shoot me an email. I love to hear from you. And thank you for inspiring me to show up and continue the hard work of becoming who I am meant to be.