Yesterday was Ash Wednesday - the beginning of Lent. Forty days with a focus on fasting, praying, and giving. I had been thinking about what I wanted to fast from, for many months, and had come up with being negative/critical/complaining. I was hoping I could make it to lunch without breaking my fast.
I am teaching a small group of kids at church, preparing to be baptized at Easter. With ash crosses marked upon each of our foreheads, we discussed what we'd learned at Mass earlier that day: the meaning of Lent, the symbolism of the ashes, and what we were going to do during our own individual Lenten journeys.
One of the older students, a sponsor to a younger student, after a group discussion about giving up Xbox, iPods, candy, sweets, etc., said she was a going to do "more of a figurative fast." It's not my place to publish her personal decision on what to fast from, but suffice it to say, I was blown away by her maturity, wisdom, perspective, and approach. It gave me both hope for humanity, and raised my own bar. She shared that she'd made this same journey a few years ago, but had decided it was time to bring it back around again, now that she's older and sees it differently.
I am listening to Eckhart Tolle and Oprah's Super Soul Conversation podcasts on A New Earth: Awakening to you Life's Purpose. I've listened to each one at least twice already, and many years ago when they did their webcasts, I listened and re-listened over and over again throughout the years. It seems to take repetition to break through to any kind of deeper understanding. Even then, the tendency to "forget" is strong.
And so with the help of Eckhart to become more conscious, more in alignment with my inner purpose, to be in the Now, I step forward into Lent. More mindful of that from which I am fasting. More prayerful. More giving.