I never give anything up for Lent. Never did. Raised in the protestant church, I didn't have a sense of the liturgical calendar. I grew up with Madeleine L'engle, whose journals introduced me to the Episcopal practices and though I wanted to embrace the mystery of the universe that she wrote about with so much wonder, I never wanted it badly enough to give up chocolate.
But the universe is nudging me tonight. One person posted on facebook that he and his wife are giving up bad attitudes for Lent. I picked up a copy of Vision Magazine (a freebie I picked up outside The Bodhi Tree bookstore) and read Marlene Buffa's words about thinning out: "From people who no longer empower us to bad habits and needless possessions, we consciously make decisions for our new year by thinning out the herd of our lives.
"Forgiving, removing and releasing the old worn out patterns speaks loudly as a resolution for change. No matter what you choose to discard in your life, it all points to your spiritual center, what you allow — or don't allow — to affect you in your world. ... While we cannot control what life puts in our path, we hold the power to determine our reactions. By thinning out that which negates our highest life experience, we declare our focus and intention to live fully within what matters."
In the same moment I opened Etsy's finds celebrating Carnival with an array of masks. Which is exactly what I want to practice giving up, each moment of each day, the masks I wear who are not me. Though this masked woman actually inspires me to play with how I express who I am — to let my freak flag fly.
"To be nobody-but-yourself — in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else — means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting." ~e.e. cummings