WW # 11, 12 and 13 have come and gone and somehow one quarter of this year of Whispered Wednesdays is over. The light hangs on more every day, and we are no longer relegated to seeing daylight only if we steal a quick glance out of our windows at work mid-day. The temperatures are slowly rising and I actually went for a run this weekend in a light shirt and no hat or gloves, which reminds me that after the dark but cozy resting time of winter, comes the promise of spring. The roots that have been maintaining life below ground are sending up the first evidences of this next season of growth, and although the limited sun at our place means no flowers yet, all around me my friends’ tulips and daffodils are debuting this year’s fashionable colors. All the waiting of Lent and the acknowledgement of sacrifice and the focus on the purpose of the season (literally) “springs” forth on Easter to announce- “I’m here”. A glorious day reading and writing and reflecting and resting in the sun was just the way to celebrate this start of the next month.
As I reflected in my journals and “books I’ve read folder” and did some writing this afternoon, I realized that this project of intentional simplicity I committed to has had some unanticipated results. While I imagined that these Wednesdays would be really difficult and long to get through- filled with the “sacrifices” of limited food, activity, decisions and money, what I’ve found is that in some ways, I didn’t make them quite difficult enough. I’m finding it’s not that difficult to go without most anything for 24 hours, but I am finding it INCREDIBLY inconveinent to do so. I’m finding this is the theme of those Wednesday’s: not the pain of doing without something I need or miss, but the annoyance at not being able to get or do something I want. As the days go on though, I am learning. I am learning to check the gas tank on Tuesday morning to make sure I can make it through to Thursday. I’m learning to make sure there’s enough fruit in the house on Monday and Tuesday to make it to the weekend. I’m learning to set alarms and notifications to remind me to do things that if missed on Tuesday, will have to wait until Thursday. I wrote in earlier posts about mindFULLness and about meditation and how they are gifts and habits that help us focus on the minutes and the hours. By thinking about the food I’m eating- where it came from, the people who played a part in getting it to me, how blessed I am to live in a place where fresh food is available and how I have money enough to be able to buy not only what I need but what I want, I am able to focus on those who don’t have those luxuries. To pray for them and think of ways that I can do more to share my blessings with those around me. By making plans to ensure things are taken care of before Wednesday starts, I am able to rest, and avoid rush and pressure to do things last minute- to focus on how thankful I am to have a car that works, a credit card to buy the gas, a job to go to, and colleagues that care about me personally. I am learning that planning for Wednesdays requires intentional planning (so that I can live intentionally) but that it is transferring into other aspects of my life. I found myself today (Sunday) spending an extra couple of minutes in meditation, grateful for the sun and the water I could hear while sitting on my front porch. I could see 20 different colors and hear birds and scampering squirrels and shut my book and my mind long enough to simply recognize those gifts.
As we head into April, I’m finding myself somewhat excited about what’s ahead. There are plenty of upcoming races, which means “vacations” and destinations and experiences shared with friends. There are graduations and birthdays and weddings to celebrate and days warm enough to camp and the promise of summer in the Pac NW which means glorious stretches of sun-filled days. Our Seachange module this month is “Exercise” and although this is already a part of my life that is non-negotiable, I’m excited about new ways of looking at exercise and some ideas I have to celebrate the month.
In fact, I’m writing this post to invite you to “play” with me in one of these ideas if you’d like. I did not grow up participating in Len,t but for the last several years have given something up during that season along with those who have done this their entire lives. Each year I have come to understand more both the symbolism and the purpose of this practice. As I thought this weekend about the end of Lent, I wondered if it might be fitting to in turn commit to DO something specific each day for the next month. Combining that with the exercise module and my upcoming several races, I decided to commit to running or walking each day in the month of April. There is an easy 2, 3 or 4 mile loop starting right outside my front door and I am going to make that loop somehow each day. To mark this, there is a certain spot on the run that is a beautiful picture spot, so I’ll snap a pic there each day and stop to be mindful of all the blessings I have that allow me to be able to do that. Feet, health, a home, a camera, time and money and motivation and inspiration and beauty.
One of the first steps to sticking to any habit is announcing it to others- it’s proven that people are more likely to do something if they’ve told others they are going to. If you’d like to commit to do something- anything- each day in April- I’d love it if you’d share it with me here! Maybe you will walk a loop like me each day, or maybe you’ll take the same picture each day for a month of something, anything. Maybe you’ll get up 15 minutes early to meditate, pray or read something you never make time for. Maybe there’s something else you have been putting off for the right time? What about now?