It’s been awhile since I’ve written. It started with my week off in February – I figured I’d take a break. Now, though, I’ve just been lazy.
But it’s Lent, a time to get back to ourselves. A time to pluck away the distractions and to plant the seeds of a holier self. I know “holy” isn’t a word people like to hear or read; it smacks of self-righteousness, stuffiness, even silliness. But our distaste for the word doesn’t change the fact that Lent is a time to practice holiness in a mindful way. We balk at things like “holiness” or rosary beads or anything related to old-time religion. But what else is Lent other than 40 days of mindfulness? Or the rosary other than a form of meditation or centering prayer? Whether you choose to be holier, or more mindful, or enlightened, it’s all the same. More awareness, more presence, more peace. And that takes a certain amount of work (and un-work).
I’ve been really trying to do the work to get to a more peaceful, present place. I’ve been seeing a counselor to help me notice, work through, and come to terms with worry and anxiety. That’s hard (weird?) to share with family and strangers on this blog, but hey, here we are. While it’s not ‘clinical’ or restricting my routines, my tendency to worry, analyze, and (falsely) predict isn’t helpful. Or fun. The week I decided to make the first appointment, the homily at church was centered on having to prune our lives of the things that keep us from God. Things that even seem a part of our personality. I realized that making the first appointment was the right thing: I need to remove my anxious, reactive mind, even if it means getting on my hands and knees and getting dirty.
I’ve been getting dirty. It’s not easy to notice all the times you’re reacting and not acting; all the times you’re dramatizing and fixating and living in thoughts and not reality. It’s been a worthwhile Lenten practice; it’ll be a worthwhile lifetime practice.