I'm not sure exactly yet what I'm doing for Lent. I don't really think of it as giving something up with the implication that, well, the implication is usually that it's sort of a pointless exercise in self-deprivation. Lent should never be pointless. The point of Lenten devotion (including fasting, broadly defined), as I understand it, is twofold. First, Lent is an exercise in spiritual discipline. By the very act of intentionally doing anything, we are reminded daily throughout the season that we belong to God. Second, by cutting out the extraneous things in our lives, we make room for God, make ourselves holy vessels for God's presence. I think we (and I know often I) use Lent as a time of self-improvement. Which is not bad in and of itself, and I've broken some bad habits (i.e., Baby-Sitters Club books in sixth grade, and if you don't think that was a bad habit, you don't know how good that crack is.) over Lent. And I don't want to imply that any way of "doing Lent" is wrong or bad, just that I think that at its core, Lent is about making yourself good for God.
I suppose one could think of this as being our preparations for Easter. When you're getting married, you want to be absolutely perfect for your spouse, so you go on a diet and you do your hair and you lose weight or whatever. Since Easter is the Church's wedding day, we are making ourselves over as Christ's bride, and so of course we want to be our new-and-improved post-Lenten selves for that day.
This Lent, I am giving up the flesh of mammals (i.e., beef, pork, and mystery meat). I would give up all meat but then I'd starve to death. I've heard it's impossible to be a vegetarian on this campus. I'm also giving up soda, which is a new one for me but is so, so bad for me. Coffee is still okay, since I don't want to be suffering from withdrawal.
I think I am also going to adopt mylittleredgirl's daily Gleee!, which, as described in her userinfo, is
"Joy Sadhana" on my livejournal are hereby explained:
Sadhana is a practice done with 'higher intent' (this is often used with yoga or meditation, but can really be *anything* done with that intention). So... Joy Sadhana is a daily practice in the observation of joy.
The idea is to end my day by writing a list (not comprehensive, and in no particular order) of 5 good things about the day, and 3 things I did well. The things can be as small and random as necessary. I am doing this to ward off depression and destructive thoughts like "I did NOTHING today" or "NOTHING good happened today," no matter what the overall trend of the day was like.
And, amazingly, other people have picked it up. So now I get to read *their* random itemized joy!! It's compound gleee!
The idea of sadhana sounds remarkably similar to my idea of what Lent is about, because it is about intention, the idea that it doesn't really matter so much what it is that I do so much as that I think of God while I am doing it, that I am reminded constantly throughout my day that God is. God is, God is, God is.
I am feeling so spiritually empty lately. I haven't been to church in a month for various reasons but even when I go to church, I feel empty. Ugly, and tired, and bored. I crave ashes. I crave Ash Wednesday. I crave ashes on my forehead pressed to my skin a reminder that I am God's that I am dust and ashes. There's a service at the Presbyterian church but I probably won't go because I have tutoring.
Ash Wednesdays past.