40 days and 40 nights
Today is Ash Wednesday and the start of Lent.
According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, this is the meaning of the tradition of Lent:
Lent, in the Christian church, is a period of penitential preparation for Easter. In Western churches it begins on Ash Wednesday, six and a half weeks before Easter, and provides for a 40-day fast (Sundays are excluded) in imitation of Jesus Christ's fasting in the wilderness before he began his public ministry.
Let me explain why I am speaking about this as it probably seems odd if you know me.
I grew up in the Christian church. I went to a Christian school from kindergarten through 11th grade. I was indoctrinated at a young age with various beliefs that I spent the better part of my 20s running from. The judgement, the shame, the guilt, the need for repentance etc are all old patterns I no longer choose to accept in my personal belief system. It led to a <less than mentality that I have had to work through over the years in order to believe in myself again.
As I have matured and gone deeper into my spiritual journey, I have come back around to various traditions and now see the sacred in all of them, without the judgement and shame. I am so grateful now for the lessons and the scripture I learned at a very young age. I see the Bible and all religious texts from a much
more metaphysical and broader view. I see the Sacred power in prayers of all backgrounds, languages, etc. I see the blessings bestowed across all seeking to find their connection to God and a Higher Power.
I can stand in a Catholic church in Peru and shed tears at the power of the altars to Mother Mary. I can sit and sing a hymn on Sunday and chant Om mantras on Monday in yoga and feel the connection to the Great Spirit vibrating throughout my being.
I am probably at the borderline to extreme end of the “woo-woo” train...and I LOVE IT. I am so happy here in my multi-verse headspace. I read the Bible. I balance my chakras. I love science. I administer kambo frog medicine. And for the last 4 years, I have joined in the practice of Lent. Riddle me this.
I embrace it all.
We all have different languages and expressions of religion and spirituality. I embrace Lent as the practice of giving up something I hold dear & close as an offering to Spirit.
Offerings come in so many ways, from fasting to prayers to altars and more.
The giving up of certain foods can be a powerful offering to Spirit. Food is a form of life force. It is condensed Light in a physical form. It sustains us like the Sun, the ultimate energy Source on the physical plane. I usually choose a food I really enjoy to give up for 40 days. Last year I gave up ALL packaged food for 40 days and I felt so good it lasted through a couple of months.
This year I am giving up nuts. Yes, you read that correctly. Nuts. While many would say oh this is a super healthy food, it is something that somewhat has a control over me. I have created a new habit of having nut
butter (and way more than the recommended serving size) every evening as my “dessert”. I don’t think it settles quite with my body and I have been called over the last month to work on re-framing this pattern. I crave them and I think it would be beneficial for me to take a break for a while.
Everyone’s spiritual offerings and rituals look different. Mine are different from yours and that is GREAT! We are ALL universal expressions of the Great Spirit that resides within us all if we are open to it.
Happy Ash Wednesday. Happy Lent. Happy whatever expression you take today to honor Spirit and Collective Consciousness that connects us to infinity and beyond!