A Necessary LentSO, today starts Lent. Admittedly, I was surprised by it this year – as Joel and I are on a hiatus from church attendance. When Joel told me last night on our lovely drive to SPU’s library to research for our various classes, I found myself frustrated at my lack of awareness and scrambling quickly to find some significance in the 40-day fast for my life. Last year, I decided to not “give up” something per say, but added journaling every day for Lent, which was a big struggle as I am so out of the practice of journaling, but very enriching nonetheless.
Anyway, we decided to do something together this year. We are going to do yoga together once a week and also try to work on teaching ourselves how to meditate – I am horrible at it, desperately needing guided meditation. But I think we will start there with some sort of downloaded program, and see where our journey into silence leads us.
I had a good conversation with my brother-in-law Brian about the practice of necessary boredom in my life. I have recently been noticing how much I really need to actively pursue boredom, how boredom brings in its wake an introspection and calm that I can rarely get from purposeful relaxation (movies, taking baths, video games (ha!) ). I suppose this boredom I am trying to find is actually a place of Zen – that illusive awareness of our smallness in an infinity large universe. I asked Joel the other day what he does to distress, and he told me that perspective quiets him immensely. He finds release when he can see how small he and his life are compared to the large span of time and space...and I can see this working for me as well. I think necessary boredom brings this – once we get better at learning it. For me to be truly bored, I must rid myself of all entertainment (especially noisy entertainment) (which is why the ocean/beach speaks to me so much). For others, perhaps it is surrounding themselves with stimulation. Either way, pursuing the boredom of life is much akin to being a child again; and as many of you know, I need to foster this desperately in my life.
A practical example: the other day I was deciding which Trader Joe’s to shop at. I live roughly 6-8 miles from 3 different ones. The one that is closest is simply the ugliest drive from my house, so as a pursuit of boredom, I took an intentionally longer route (only by a mile, so I was dealing with the same emissions – also a factor I considered), because the route from Renton to Issaquah on 900 is divine. I enriched my Saturday by turning my consciousness toward an errand that was both necessary AND beautiful...I wish I had pictures of those trees. But I pursued a longer drive in order to enrich my life...and I need more of that. Hopefully that is what learning to meditate and relax will do for me.
As always, I am curious about what everyone is fasting from or thinking of fasting from for Lent.