"Let's have a merry journey, and shout about how light is good and dark is not. What we should do is not future ourselves so much. We should now ourselves. "NOW thyself" is more important than "Know thyself." Reason is what tells us to ignore the present and live in the future. So all we do is make plans. We think that somewhere there are going to be green pastures. It's crazy. Heaven is nothing but a grand, monumental instance of future. Listen, now is good. Now is wonderful." ~ Mel Brooks

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Let the Light shine out of Darkness

I don't really follow any type of denomination, however I am quite Spiritual. I believe in the God of my choosing.......one that embodies Love. I don't believe in a punishing God. I don't feel as though I will be cast to hell or damned to the pit of sulphur for not going to Church every Sunday or for having an unfriendly thought about someone or something. I am human, after all. I am not perfect. What would the point of this all be if we were to fear our whole lives away? Therefore, I choose to love as much as I can in my life. I choose to fear as little as possible and to raise children who will not fear, especially the God of their choosing. It our greatest effort to know that we are loved, always. To know that no matter what, we will be loved, supported and looked after. That is our simple right as dwellers of this Earth. To love and be loved, to give and to receive, to hold and be held. This Lenten season, as millions of folks 'sacrifice' something they love and cherish for their own spiritual growth and to 'show' their faithfulness to their God of choice, I will follow a little differently. Sacrificing at Lent, as I understand it, is to show that we understand the sacrifices that Jesus made during his 40 day retreat into the wilderness. He fasted for those 40 days so giving up food items is typical. In more modern times, giving up TV, gambling, smoking, driving, drinking and many other kinds of personal vices have become popular. This year, it seems many people feel that giving up Facebook is a sacrifice!!!

"The three traditional practices to be taken up with renewed vigour during Lent are prayer (justice towards God), fasting (justice towards self), and alms giving (justice towards neighbour). Today, some people give up a vice of theirs, add something that will bring them closer to God, and often give the time or money spent doing that to charitable purposes or organizations." To provide a sound plan for celebrating Lent with my family we will utilize the three traditional practices: prayer, fasting, alms giving.

Each day, during the 40 days of Lent, we will focus our 'prayer' by connecting with our God of choice, whether in sitting together quietly, taking a walk outside and connecting with our surroundings, preparing a meal together giving full attention to the bounty before us, writing, or reading something that inspires us.

Each day, during the 40 days in Lent, we will make sure to focus our 'fasting' to better the lives of those we live with. We will fast from saying hurtful words, forgetting our chores, not listening, and other acts that may seem hurtful or unfriendly (to be determined by each individual). Being a family with small children, I feel like it is so important to allow our children the most potential for personal growth. Having said that, fasting from foods is not something I want to encourage, even if it is sweets, ice cream, or gum! Focusing on 'doing' something positive seems more fulfilling in the long run and will hopefully bring lasting change. Sweet treats will always return after Lent, but, working long and hard on changes within our personality, my hope is that the harmony that will ensue will be clear......everyone will be happier!

Each day, during the 40 days in Lent, we will focus our energies on 'giving'. Giving to each other, giving to our neighbors, giving to those we don't know. We will give of our time and talents......to focus deeply on things we are good at and then doing to benefit someone other than ourselves. These tasks are easily done by all members a family, young and old! Little ones and older ones can help clean out a neighbors garden bed, bring treats to the Humane Society, bake for the food pantry, visit the home bound, bring cheer to someone who might be feeling down. The ideas and possibilities are endless. Giving is endless. Lent is about Giving, the ultimate in sacrifice! Giving is LOVE. God is LOVE!!!! It all makes perfect sense and these things don't need to end once Lent has. They can be motivations to change ones life forever and bring us closer to the God our our choosing as well as bring us close to remembering who we are meant to be. These small shifts in ones consciousness will bring peace to the heart and soul.

Each day during these 40 days I will share a thought of the day. A focus to help guide the Lenten day. Whether it is an idea to share with family, a simple meditation, a song, a poem, a picture. My hope is to bring inspiration to Lent and to help foster the joy Lent can bring in it's endless celebration of life and giving. I am choosing not to focus on the traditional 'sadness and grief' that is associated with Lent but to bring about the Love that was shared by Jesus and all others that suffered in sacrifice to each other. This truly is such an inspirational time. Being that today is Ash Wednesday we will celebrate the beginning of our Lent together with a fire. We will make ash to bring symbolism to the day. We will share this poem:

"Tomorrow at sunset the Journey begins
The footprints precede you, but glow from within
Stop often to listen, to pray and to write
Be aware of your breathing, your feelings, your Light
Be true to intention, to wisdom received
Allow for transition in what you believe
Open your heart that your Way may be known:
That your peace and your truth become solid as stone."

We will celebrate a lovely meal and enjoy our homemade Lenten pretzels (which have a fun Lenten history). We will make a plan for the next day to keep our focus and to share in the excitement of all the wonderful gifts to come: how we will 'pray/connect' together, what we will 'fast' from, and how we will give of ourselves. I wish for you an inspiring Lenten journey.

Trust that your God loves you and wants only the best for you. Trust that giving of yourself is one of the greatest gifts you can give. Trust that God is Love.


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