Typically I don’t find myself looking forward to Lent, but this year was different. This was our first year to live in New Orleans and participate in Carnival as residents. We had a blast, but by the end I was paraded out. The festivities last for a week and a half and Will and I made the most of it.
Normally during Lent I concentrate more on what I want to give up instead of what I want to add to my life. I tend to pay attention to my body and its relation to food. I do this in order to conjure a longing, a craving, and a need to remind me that there is something much bigger than myself. Even though I have missed certain food items in the past I have rarely found it to lead me to a time of reflection and penitence. I don’t often pay close enough attention to the idea of pruning or searching my soul so that love can grow.
This year I have decided to go a different route. I am going to focus on my mind. The past two years during the New Year I have combed my journals for themes of the recent year. One theme that has been present for years has been stillness. While I often write about it I seldom take action to change. For Lent I have taken steps to carve out time for meditation and setting limits with my time. People often ask me how I have time to make this or do that. Example: I was 2 weeks post-partum and making homemade doughnuts. (Disclaimer: I enjoying trying new things and it isn’t always an issue of being still, but in this case I needed to rest) When these comments are made I usually smile from pride of my accomplishments (which give me value and purpose) but deep down I feel sad that I am so restless. I run around making myself crazy and because of this those I love suffer. I am unable to give the best parts of me by being present with them.
My pace creates a mind that can’t stop making to-do lists. With every completed project comes a list of five more. Here is how I have determined to set limits for this season. I made a list of every weekly thing I do. This includes browsing social media, reading, crafting, baking, cleaning, errands and several other tasks. I pick 3 things each day that I want to do (not including routine stuff that has to be done like meals, naps, and bedtime stuff). When naptime or evening comes I can’t do anything before I have done my 10 minute meditation. When I have used up my 3 things I have to sit and be still (frightening , I know.)
I have given myself the freedom to tweak what I need to. This is a big commitment and very daunting, but I am ok with failing. I have to remember to offer myself grace and see this as a learning experience so I can get to those deeper parts of my soul. I don’t expect the rhythm of my life to be transformed in one season. However, I do hope for change and new experiences and I believe the goodness of God will carry me deeper into the shadows of my soul.
“Go slowly; meet people. Take your time.” -Stewart Jackson