Tuesday, 13 March 2012

give it up

Lent is typically a time for giving up or sacrificing something. I didn't grow up with this practice, but it's one that's intrigued me. A 40 day discipline. But I've never really challenged myself to do it. What do I give up? Coffee? I don't drink it. Chocolate? That could be a bit hard, but not really. Beer? Not hard. Sugar? Too hard. What do I give up?

I always wondered how giving up sugar or beer or some other treat leads to a spiritual exercise of any kind.   The two didn't really connect in my mind. I admired others for their fasts, but just couldn't decide on or commit to my own. 

This year I noticed a friend was participating in this 10 day fast. I'm equally intrigued by ideas like this - to discipline your body and your eating for a period of time. I was almost ready to commit, but I knew I'd be traveling for 3 days of meetings right smack in the middle of this fast, and I knew I couldn't do it. Maybe some other time. But this is what I've said many times. Like with that 12 day herbal de-tox box of goodies that I bought about 12 years ago. It's long past its expiry date. I wanted to do it, really, I did, but the moment was never quite right for me to start it. Because life just keeps happening.

I've been pondering what to give up this Lent. I've half-heartedly given up eating meat. I say "half-heartedly" because I eat meat at about half of the meals that I usually would. Not very committed. 

This Lent, I want to give up:

* doing it all. I can let things go, ask others for help, and not expect too much of myself. My mind gets bogged down by busyness of my own making sometimes. Give it up. Let it go.

* slothfulness. I can go to bed earlier, get up earlier, and exercise. I know that I need to do this for my physical, spiritual and mental health. I know I'm not a total sloth: I work hard. But I don't sleep enough. And it catches up with me - physically, emotionally, spiritually. Give it up. Get sleeping and get going.

Those seem like opposite goals, I know. Like slowing down and speeding up. But they seem to be connected in my mind. And I also see the connection between these physical actions and my spiritual health. 

It strikes me that some traditional practices during Lent are associated with justice and wholistic peace: physical fasts (peace with self/body), prayer (peace with God), and giving (peace with others). Some people take away vices (like coffee) and add something that will bring them closer to God. 

What is it for you? What would you give away? What would you add? 

What would bring you closer to God?

8 comments:

  1. Dear Sometimes Twin -- I too have an expired detox box in my cupboard, for exactly the same reason.

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  2. oh rebecca, your thoughts here are resting in my heart. i love what you've chosen to give up for lent. so incredibly thoughtful and full of potential. i love what you're doing, love what you're thinking...

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    1. You inspired me with your fast, Michelle - I really feel like I should do something similar - my body's feeling very sluggish lately. Loved reading your posts about that experience for you.

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  3. I have taken up writing a letter by hand each week and actually mailing it.

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    1. I love this idea, Carol. I would love to get back into letter writing.

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  4. Thought provoking post. I am not a fan of "giving up food" and have never truly participated in the giving up for lent thing. But, I have pondered in a similar fashion. I could see committing to getting more exercise , or giving up negative self talk, or obsessive thoughts like thinking the worst will happen, more beneficial to my wellbeing and in return those around me. I guess in a way becoming more at peace. Hmmm...slothfulness and doing it all...I can totally see how these relate...and could apply very well to my life right now. I will ponder this more. Thanks Rebecca! Good night to you :)

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    1. I'm trying to take the time to do more exercising right now - goes along with the cleanse that I just started. And hopefully it will continue past the 30 days of the cleanse! Negative self-talk is a great idea - hard to do sometimes! I like how you say this: becoming more at peace. Good night to you too. :)

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