Let’s be real. Many of us always hated Lent. Bad weather. No desserts. Pressure to spend more time in church. And, worst of all, 45 days of a cumulative bad mood.
Something had to change.
Then last year I used brain science to experiment on myself. Not only was it fun, but I also got healthier, deepened my prayer life and got more connected to the people I care the most about. People started asking what I was doing differently; apparently, I seemed more positive and alive! (BTW I didn’t tell them why. It’s more fun that way!)
So, this year I’m upgrading my Lenten adventure playbook and inviting you to come along.
I’m getting back to the ancient origins of Lent, then applying current brain science. The ancient meaning of the word “lent” (i.e., Lencten) is “springtime”. It is a time to prune and plant so that life can flourish.
Our lawns and gardens need Lent. One of my favorite springtime rituals is to rake the dead grass out of my lawn. Ripping out this suffocating layer of old grass lets my lawn breathe and drink up fresh rainwater.
Our nervous systems and souls need Lent. We live in a world that is moving faster-than-ever, a world that repeatedly overwhelms our nervous systems with stimulation, leaving us increasingly stressed and disconnected from one another. Lent is a time to change that. It is a journey of destressing, simplifying and deepening our loving connections.
If so, here’s a good start: Ask yourself what is the “dead grass” of your soul. What is suffocating, numbing or medicating your heart? For me the list is long; I use coffee – lots of coffee, Dove dark chocolate, Dragon’s Milk (beer), Merlot, Facebook, Pinterest and mindless web surfing.
How about you?
On Wednesday I’ll make some suggestions for how to organize yourself this lent, including a chart (that I’ll be using too) to monitor how you are doing. (I can’t help it; I’m a psychologist.)
So, are you ready to do some pruning and planting, to let go of some stress, and reawaken your heart to what is most important? I hope you join me for the journey!