Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Ashes Remind Me To Clean Out The Dust...

Today is Ash Wednesday. As I received my ashes this morning, I was reminded once again why I love my faith so very much and why the rich Catholic traditions mean so much to me.

It has been a busy few weeks. But today, I began the day in Church. I arrived early to rest in the peace of the Holy Spirit, and it was wonderful. I centered myself before the service began and thought to myself, what shall I give up this year? For those unfamiliar with this tradition, most Catholics choose to sacrifice during the Lenten season. Some give up coffee, others give up chocolate, a few truly working on converting themselves may give up smoking or drinking.

The past few years I have focused less on giving something up and more on learning. A study of the Gospels, a book group, a prayer partner. As I sat in silence it came to me what I need to do this Lent. I need to clean out the cobwebs. I need to make every day as glorious as my days on the beach were a few weeks ago. This feeling I refer to is not about the beach, not about the ocean, or even about the weather. It was about being one with my spiritual self.

I recalled a post Adrienne did when she stopped complaining for a day. Ironically, she also recalled this today on her blog! Anyway, I really think she was on to something. I sat in the quiet of the chapel thinking about how many times a day I allow myself to get drawn into someone else's drama. Sometimes I am truly trying to diffuse the situation or offer spiritual guidance. But it is drama nonetheless. What if, I wondered, I could extend Adrienne's day into forty days? I am not by nature a negative person, but just imagine forty days of no negativity, no drama, no complaining allowed in one's life. I think I am on to something here...

It takes 21 days to create a new habit. This could become a new way of life...positive energy constantly put out into the universe. This would allow positive energy to come back to me tenfold. I like this...I am cleaning out the dust and letting the sunshine in.

I have pulled a book from the bookshelf I have had for a long time but have neglected. Max Lucado is the author and it is titled, "It's Not About You." Well, there it is. It looks like I am ready to being my Lenten observance.


  1. Lovely post Beth. As a Catholic living in a country steeped in Catholic traditions I usually also give up something for Lent. But a very religious/spiritual friend of mine in Spain actually "confessed" that she never gives up anything for Lent. Instead she increases her spiritual practises in one way or another. How funny you should write about the same thing. It was just the excuse I needed to go back and eat what I had initially decided to give up!
    I am now just contemplating what I can increase during Lent?

  2. Beth,

    I am not Catholic, but went to Catholic high school and a Jesuit college, so I am quite familiar with your faith. I think it's a great idea to guide yourself away from any negativity - yours or someone else's - and into a habit of positive thinking. I would like to attempt this myself - Lent or no Lent.

    Thank you for this thought provoking post.
    xo, A

  3. Hi Beth,
    I've been feeling at a low ebb recently so your post has given me some food for thought.
    I know creating a new reality/habit is possible because it's something I've done in the past and hopefully your post can help me do that again.
    Thank you!


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