For the first time in my life, I plan to practice Lent. I decided to attend Ash Wednesday service at UC Berkeley’s Newman Hall tonight on my way home from work. I figured I wouldn’t get weird stares all day about the smudge on my forehead. Why would I do this? To make a long story short, the Camino brought me closer to God, and I decided to be confirmed as a Catholic. I am going through all the ceremonial rites and attending the adult confirmation classes at my parish. You may recall from a previous post, that I was a bad Catholic through my first Communion and a skeptic thereafter. But events in the last year encouraged a change of heart. This has all been part of my “inner Camino” which I will write about in due time. For now, let’s get to some ideas to consider for the 40 days of Lent.
First, a background on what Lent is all about, as described by Melissa Rudy, Health & Fitness Journalist for SparkPeople.
Although Lent is typically a Christian observance, people of all religions (or none at all) can also participate. After all, the name comes from the Old English word len(c)ten, which translates to “spring”—and there’s no better time than spring to purge the negative and usher in the positive.
If you haven’t yet decided how to participate in the Lenten season, but still want to be a part of this period of introspection and self-improvement, you’ve got plenty of time. During the 40 days between Ash Wednesday and Holy Saturday, many people choose to give up something—typically a vice or an unhealthy habit—in a symbolic gesture of sacrifice, or they may take on an enriching project or activity in an effort to improve themselves or others. Source
Next, a compilation of clever ideas to practice Lent.
Purge one item, (or a bag full) each day — This can be anything from an uncomfortable sweater to a piece of art that no longer inspires you. Choose a different room, dresser or closet for your purge item each day. At the end of Lent, you’ll have 40 items to donate—and less clutter throughout the house. See 15 Unconventional Lent Ideas.
Give something up — meat, sugar, caffeine, gluten, fast food, alcohol, smoking, etc. This is a great opportunity to test how your body handles it. You just might feel better and make a lifestyle change!
Take something on — 40 days of yoga, 40 acts of kindness, 40 phone calls to the important people in your life, 40 notes of gratitude. 40 _______fill in the blank.
Daily Devotionals & Readers
Everyday Camino with Annie is the obvious choice for Caminophiles. Annie O’Neil has a music CD that accompanies her book.
Subscribe to Richard Rohr Meditations via Center for Action and Contemplation. I heard about this from Phil Volker of Phil’s Camino when he was in Berkeley for a film screening. This is a good daily reader for us skeptics. He takes a metaphysical view of religion and attempts to explain Christianity “from the bottom up.”
Read The Secret Daily Teachings or install the Mobile App. Brief readings and quotes about living the Law of Attraction. If you don’t know the secret, find out. It is so simple, yet life-changing. Try it for 40 days and see what you think.
Subscribe to Our Daily Bread, available in print and online. It includes an audio podcast and a way to read the entire bible in one year.
Subscribe to 40 Day Journey with Deitrich Bonhoeffer.
For 25 more ideas, check out Busted Halo. Love the name!
I’ll be doing some giving up and some taking on, but will keep that between me, my family, and God. I will, however, eat chocolate. 🙂
If you have some unique ways to practice Lent, please share by using the comment form below.
Thank you, and buen Camino!
PS – Did I have you at chocolate? Learn why good quality dark chocolate is good for you! Try Wei of Chocolate while doing a meditation as the chocolate melts in your mouth. A friend at work turned me on to these organic chocolates and meditations. My favorite so far is the “Inspired” Himalayan Pink Salt dark chocolate.