This year has been…full. I intended to use Lent to create more space. I am failing quite miserably. Last week I was suffocating in the onslaught of tasks I crammed into our schedule, trying to force our way out of the jungle of applications and trainings and general adulthood minutia that has engulfed 2015 thus far. A futile attempt at an impossible goal.
Then there was a moment last Friday morning, on the way to the fifth doctor’s visit of the week, when I realized I wasn’t filled with dread. I was relaxed. I was in a clearing. There was still a dense forest of stuff waiting on the other end of the weekend, but for the better part of a couple days all I had to do was spend an uninterrupted afternoon playing with Leila, enjoy a happy hour with my husband, take in a rare evening with my brothers, savor some sushi, eat birthday cake, delight in a family walk and watch a little HBO. Not to mention the sunshine.
I’d already passed the clearing by the time I woke up this morning. The sky was gray. The schedule was full. I was not looking forward to it. We got through it, and I made it to yoga, I started setting up our haft-seen, we watched some John Oliver and I got a little mini-clearing to bask in, just enough to recoup a bit before tomorrow’s trek.
Three weeks ago I was driving to yoga, and I realized what I wanted to fast from during Lent. Inspired by a friend (and past Lenten seasons), I already knew I wanted to at least consider giving up spending. And I was in a place where logging into Facebook was increasingly drawing me more towards comparison and less towards community. But something about giving it up felt incomplete.
Then somewhere before I turned left on Fannin I found peace with a fast that seemed like an authentic expression of the season – 40 days free of all but the most essential Internet (email) and shopping (food and gas). Before the commute was over, I realized why these resonated with me. I wanted to create space – for God, for myself, for Ben, for Leila. I want to create space in my schedule and my closet. Just identifying my Lenten fast helped me find space to breathe better.
The fact that the season overlaps with my yoga teacher training makes it feel that much more appropriate. I feel there is always a call from my yoga teachers to use my breath to create more space within my body.
This year has begun so crowded. Errands and paperwork and cooking and laundry and all of the rest of life continue to be there, but I am taking a season to not wait out the to-do-list but rather to create space within it.
The Advent before last I came to the epiphany that I need to create space without expectation. Over a year later, I am taking a season to actively practice that. If nothing grander than a deeper breath results, I think it will still be the most sacred Lenten experience of my life thus far.
To find the places where my breath catches, exhale and then breathe into that space more deeply.