Even though I don't consider myself to be a specific religion, I love the messages and practices behind many of them - especially lent. My dad's side of the family is Irish Catholic and there's a certain connection to their beliefs and traditions, but also because it's a time that encourages us to reset and self-reflect - kind of a refocusing on our lives and faith.
My friend and I were talking about how lent has turned into a sort of a vice-releasing, will-power thing (giving up chocolate, coffee, etc), but does going without some pleasure pr another make you a better and more connected person? I could be totally off on this - it's just what resonates with me.
An article on lent in the New York Times yesterday read, "What does it mean to wander in the wilderness for 40 days and nights and face your demons? How would I do that today? How do you give up all distractions and listen to that inner voice that tells you what you need to be doing but you can’t quite face yet?"
Yesterday I thought about what I wanted to reset in my life - what would put me more in touch with the "flow," what would require me to face my demons, what would tune me in to that inner voice? I'm not 100% sure, but I do know that I feel the most clear and connected when I 1) wake up early and exercise, moving my body in some way, 2) set aside time each day to write, which I rarely do and my dream of finishing/publishing my book gets pushed further and further back, and 3) spend time in the evening (when I'm most tense) doing yoga, meditating, and practicing gratitude
For this lent, I'm going to spend the next 40 days (and hopefully longer!) doing those things, because that's how I can best be with myself, and therefore with God.