Lent is a Christian observance that lasts about six weeks and leads up to Easter. There is, obviously, a great deal of religious significance to it, but in practice, it involves giving something up or sacrificing some luxury for the duration of it. We are currently in the season of Lent.
Thinking of this led me to ponder the value of giving up, of sacrificing, and of letting go. So often it seems we think we need more of something or other, but there is great wisdom in seeking less.
What could you give up that may lead to broader wisdom, enriched spirit, or simply peace? Whether you are observing Lent or not, here are five ideas.
Could you go six weeks without buying anything? Perhaps you can give yourself a caveat like “besides essential groceries.” Perhaps you could also prepare freezer meals in advance to make it through.
Would you find this difficult? How much time would you save? How much money would you save? What might you learn about yourself?
Could you go six weeks without issuing one single complaint? When your spouse leaves a towel on the bathroom floor; when your kids get paint on the dining room table; when your colleague fails to follow through; when the barista gets your order wrong; when a stranger cuts you off in traffic; when a friend betrays your trust … what if you just did not complain? How would your thoughts change? How would you feel?
Could you go completely sugar-free for six weeks? Could you abstain from all sweets, sugary drinks, sugar in coffee, and any foods with sugar as an ingredient? Would it be challenging? How would you set yourself up for success? How would your body feel after six weeks? How would your mind feel?
Could you stop feeling jealous for six weeks? Do you believe such a thing is within your control? Could you replace jealousy with true happiness for others’ good fortune? Might you begin to cheer others on more? Might you feel more at peace inside?
Could you go six weeks without looking at a digital screen? Perhaps you can’t avoid a computer at work and need to make an exception. Could you eliminate television and digital devices outside of work? Would that be difficult? Would you need to switch to a “dumb” phone? Would you free up time for more valuable priorities? How do you think you’d feel after six weeks?