I send you best thoughts and hope you are well. March is upon us, with a hint of spring in the air. This signals an energetic shift represented by the many seasonal festivals coming our way. One of them is Mardi Gras, which falls on March 1st this year. It's followed by Ash Wednesday, which initiates Lent.
"Laissez les bons temps rouler - Let the good times role!"
There is significant meaning and history to this template. The French name Mardi Gras means Fat Tuesday — because of the custom of using up all the fats and rich foods in preparation for Lent, which entails the practice of fasting and abstinence. Mardi Gras marks the close of the pre-Lenten season. This grew into a "party hardy" mindset which created the parades and celebrations we see in the yearly carnivals that take place in New Orleans and Rio de Janeiro and throughout the globe.
"Ashes to ashes. Dust to dust."
In stark contrast, this is followed by Ash Wednesday, the next day. A day to "sober up" and a solemn reminder of our human mortality. It's a time for reconciliation and is the official beginning of Lent.
Although I embraced yoga and the tenets of Eastern disciplines in my teens, I'm still drawn to the Catholic practices of my formative years. I love Lent! To me, it's a time to reconnect and recommit to my spirituality in a deeper way. Lent is a time to reduce and reflect, in preparation for rebirth and renewal. In the Christian template this reflects Jesus' journey of fasting and prayer, crucifixion and resurrection.
For the past several years, I've practiced "giving up something" for Lent as well as committing "to do" something. I've found this to have some lasting effects.
One year I gave up watching "Law & Order" and another year, CNN News. True, I may have replaced these with other binge watching. But at the very least, I completed my commitment those years and I've not returned to watching either of these programs since. For me, this is significant. This year, I choose "to give up procrastination" to at least one major project that I've resisted for years. This project involves giving up things, stuff, possessions. I'll share the results in a future newsletter. Stay tuned!
As for my "to do" commitment, I usually choose a daily reading from a particular spiritual text, book of poetry, or specific mantras or prayers. This year I'm going to gear this toward the completion of my memoir, since this has been such a struggle for me. While I don't expect to be published in 2022, my intent is to have a full first draft completed by the end of the year. For this too, I shall keep you posted!!