*This post was originally published on my website on Ash Wednesday 2012
Today is the start of Lent, the time when Catholics fast in remembrance of Christ. Lent is observed by many non-Catholics and even many non-Christians as way to reset priorities and remember that it's the simple things that matter, not the glitz & luxury we desire on a daily basis.
But most people give up things that have little esoteric meaning - coffee, soda, candy, meat, alcohol. People give up things they consider vices and then immediately go back to these indulgences. Lent has become like the New Year's Resolution. It's a novelty, rather than an opportunity.
I think we should challenge our minds during this time. We should examine our mental addictions and not our physical ones.
Give up the thing that jails your spirit.
This year, I'm giving up wallowing - to break it down further, I'm giving up doubt & shame.
I do not think there are more destructive forces to than doubt and shame. They are unproductive, solve no problems and help no one.
Wallowing is the manifestation of those two things and because it takes a long time to move through doubt and shame, I'm going to take the easiest road - the road of productivity. I'm going to keep busy. I'm going to do solid things that have tangible results, even if those results are small.
If you choose to participate in Lent, whatever your reasons, I hope you take this time to set yourself free from more than physical vices. I hope you take this time to let your spirit breathe.