40 Days for Becoming a Better Person
If you read my Love Dare article from a year back you’ll see how I dedicated 40 days last Spring to improving my marriage. It’s not that it was on the rocks and in bad need of repair. I just wanted to take a good thing and make it better.
In my Novena article I talk about a 9 day practice I followed to help get me re-focused and balanced. There are times when I get way out of whack and I need something like this to bring me back. I wrote about it again in Five Steps for Beating the Christmas Bah Humbug Job Seeker Blues this past December. I committed myself to 20 minutes of quiet time a day for the 20 days leading up to Christmas. My goal there was to make it my best Christmas ever.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not trying to make the world Catholic (though it might not be such a bad thing). I’m just sharing these church rituals or tradition with you. If it wasn’t for them, I’d probably never spend several days in a row doing anything consistently to improve myself. I just don’t have the discipline and structure in my life.
Now that my daughters attend college near New Orleans, I know exactly when the Catholic Lenten season begins. They make a habit of visiting there for Mardi Gras this time of year. Mardi Gras is French for Fat Tuesday, a day of excess (and an awful lot of craziness) preceeding Ash Wednesday. That’s the day that kicks off Lent. On Ash Wednesday everyone’s supposed to begin the 40 day penitential season that ends with Easter Sunday.
Now I’m not sure what the party crowds visiting New Orleans do post Mardi Gras, but the idea of Lent’s a good one. Some people get hung up on the word sacrifice, but the point is to give up stuff or better yet take something on that makes you a better person. If you commit to doing something “different” for the 40 days, it’s likely to become a habit that extends well past the 40 days.
So here is yet another one of my public declaration (blogs are a great way to hold yourself accountable) where I set out to do something and I hope you keep me honest.
I’m getting out of shape. You’ll probably noticed from reading Career Jockey that I do plenty of exercise. I’ve run and trained others for marathons and make Yoga a part of my routine. Well truth be told, I’ve been slacking big time and I’m starting to feel it. I had gone up about 10 pounds. I have reclaimed five of them if this morning’s weigh in was accurate, but still not sleeping well and stress and anxiety tend to creep up more.
So here’s what I’m doing. I’m OK on the spiritual side using SacredSpace: The Prayer Book 2010daily. I’ll leave that alone. (You can read about that one at Weakness and Vulnerability May Be Your Biggest Strength.) So my Lenten sacrifice (I just have to use the Catholic name for it) is to return to a consistent exercise schedule where I run or practice Yoga five days a week. I’ve been a runner so long that part’s easy. For the Yoga I’ll either follow one of the pose sequences I’ve collected over the years or follow along with one of Yoga Today’s online classes. (I don’t get a dime for passing you on to Yoga Today. I’ve been following them for years. They have quality stuff and constantly improve the site and the Yoga content the offer.)
So here’s my question to you. Those of you that are Catholic (fallen away or otherwise), what are you doing this Lenten season? Let’s compare notes in the comment section below. Those of you with other slants (either Jewish, Protestant, Hindu, no slant, whatever…we’ll keep it a secret), what are you wanting to do these upcoming 40 days so you become a better persona than you are today?