Yesterday was Ash Wednesday, marking the beginning of the Lenten period leading up to Easter Sunday. Lent, which literally means springtime, is a time of preparation for the joyous resurrection and birth we are invited to experience at Easter. In these 44 days of Lent, we have an opportunity to place our spiritual growth front and center, devoting time each day to prayer, meditation, spiritual reading, or any other discipline that draws us closer to God. Many folks think of Lent as a time to give something up. If we choose to do this, it is important to remember that this practice is not about pleasing God. Rather, it is about consciously changing our behavior in a way that wakes us up spiritually. We may choose to give up something that no longer serves us in order to make room for more of God's goodness in our lives. Or, rather than give something up, we may instead choose to add something. Maybe there is a healthy new habit we want to begin. Maybe we are ready to make a commitment to a daily meditation and prayer practice. Now is the perfect time to start a new behavior that will bless us not only for the period of Lent, but throughout the entire year. Or even better, we can choose to give up something that no longer serves us or that we want to take a break from, while simultaneously adding something that is life-affirming and soul-expanding. Here are some simple ideas for Lenten practices to get you thinking:
Limiting screen time or creating no phone zones in your home.
Rather than listening to the radio in the car, use that time for prayer or simply silence.
Give up complaining and/or do a daily gratitude practice.
Spend a few minutes each day reading something spiritual or inspirational.
Fast from negative news or media.
Do some small act of kindness for someone each day.
Forgo a small daily expenditure, such as getting coffee at Starbucks, and set aside that money to donate to a special cause at the end of Lent.
Each day give up some small resentment and practice forgiveness.
I invite you to spend some time considering what you would like to either release and/or add to your daily routine during this Lenten period. Ask your Higher Self in prayer for guidance in choosing something. Once you have chosen what it is you want to do, make a commitment to yourself and then simply begin. Traditionally, Lent is made up of fasting days and feasting days. When implementing your new habit, if you “mess up,” forget to do your practice, or “fall off the wagon,” simply call it a fasting day, extend yourself compassion and forgiveness, and begin again the next day. Again, this practice is meant to strengthen and deepen our own spiritual path, not to please God. I will be doing my own practice right along with you as we commit to spending this time of Lent in preparation for the resurrection of the Christ consciousness in each and every one of us at Easter! Many Blessings, Rev. Michelle
#unity #unityofmontereybay #lent #lent2023