Monday, February 20, 2012
What Does Lent Mean To You?
Finley Cane Trail - GSMNP
February 17, 2012
There is way too much rolling around in my brain that I'd like to talk about. I wish there had been more time this past week to write. But I've come to accept the fact that my life is just very full right now leaving little time for sitting in front of a computer. I'm very grateful for that! Given an extra hour with a choice, I'd rather visit around to see what you've been up to than spend that time creating a post of my own. But c'est la vie!!
I was not raised in a church that taught or practiced Lent, so it is something I've only come to appreciate over the past decade. I've always heard the question, "what are you giving up for Lent?" but only recently through the music sung by the choir of which I'm a member and participation in the Ash Wednesday service at my church have I truly come to appreciate the concept of LOSING (or giving up) something in order to GAIN a greater appreciation for new beginnings and new life that are a part of the Easter Sunday morning celebration 40 days later. Since our choir began rehearsing Ash Wednesday service music several weeks ago, I've already had plenty of time to reflect on what I might "give up" for 40 days beginning next Wednesday. The usual things (sugar, white flour, fast food, etc) are no longer a part of my eating and THAT alone is an amazing example of LOSING something in order to GAIN energy and strength I've not had in many years. I'm wondering if this year's "lesson" for me might need to move away from those easily identifiable, more tangible "don'ts" and towards characteristics which the discipline of the 17-Day Diet along with some other life situations have revealed I need to address.
One of those is in the area of generosity. Not just plain old giving back or paying it forward, but a renewed and DISCIPLINED (there's that word again) effort to be generous in very new and creative ways. Ways in which I might have to LOSE something in order to fully appreciate what I've GAINED through my efforts. If you'll recall, the fifth statement in my 2012 New Year's Mantra was this:
SHARE my life, my time, my money and my possessions in creative ways that are new and extravagant.
So in keeping with my mantra, in anticipation of the joyous upcoming celebration of spring and Easter, and in keeping with my obsessive personality which must have an organized plan, here is my goal for Lent: For each of the next 40 days beginning on Wednesday, February 22, in addition to seeking out random opportunities for practicing generosity, I will plan a specific event/activity/goal/etc. that causes me to LOSE something. My LOSS could be time, money, compromise, giving up of control, a combination of the above or something I've not yet even though about. I will be creative and make every attempt to step out of MY comfort zone in order to be generous towards someone or something else.
I have no expectations or ideas as to what I might GAIN. We'll just let that be a surprise!
I continue to be totally amazed at my success with the 17 Day Diet. February will not record a significant weight loss although there WILL be a loss, but another month under my belt with the plan has brought its own rewards. The biggest of those has been a continuing freedom from desires or cravings for sugar, wheat or dairy products. NEVER in all of my life on ANY plan, have I had the luxury of easily passing up the bread basket in a restaurant or the chocolate in every imaginable form that flowed freely at the Valentine's party we attended last weekend. NEVER have I experienced this level of freedom and its been a long, long time since I've felt this good, both physically and mentally. I am strong and I have energy. I mostly adhere to Cycle 2 with many days naturally ending up as Cycle 1 days. The weight is continuing to come off.
I am thrilled that several of you have expressed an interest in the 17DD, have begun the plan and are having success with it. You've told me you first heard about it here and that my success was an encouragement for you. That makes me feel like a proud "parent" and I am almost as excited over your results as I've been over my own. You are spread out all over the country, but I think we should already start planning a "strut your stuff" meetup when we all get to our respective goals. In the spirit of sharing, I wanted to make sure that you all read each other's blogs and have that source of encouragement from other people on the same plan.
Here are the links to those I know following the 17DD. If you know of others, please let me know so I can share and maybe find some new friends of my own.
We are gearing up for some very busy weeks ahead. Next to the month of December, Mr. B's schedule is craziest during March and April. It begins with the international trip his auditioned choir takes each year. This year, they are traveling to Germany and he will leave in a couple of weeks. Our 2012 Summer Adventure is out of my head and on the written page. Our cabins and cottages have been secured so now the fun of planning what we'll do begins. I'll be reactivating the travel blog soon and will add a link so if you are interested in that part of my life, you can follow along. I have two hiking days planned this week and some activities already in mind for the first few days of what I'm calling my Season of Generosity. So, as you can see, life is very full and life is very good.
Do you practice Lent? What will you begin giving up this year?