lent has begun, and as ash wednesday was approaching i began to give some thought to what lenten discipline i would engage in. coincidental to this, i have realized over the last couple of weeks that i've been going pretty much non-stop for many weeks now with not one day that i could step off the merry-go-round for any significant time. alongside that realization, was the acknowledgment that hurt feelings and petty irritations were roaming around inside my mind.
i'm a person who needs some solitary time. when i don't find that time for awhile, i don't function nearly as well. i become irritable, and little annoyances that normally have little effect become magnified. as i reflected on my mental state and stepped away to look objectively at what's going on, it became obvious that what was needed was the creation of some blocs of time to just "be." at the same time i concluded that i needed to exorcise those little demons in my head that were telling me that i should lash out at those who were saying thoughtless things; those mind-gremlins were convincing me that the pettiness of others was the cause of my vague feelings of dis-ease and unhappiness.
some mindful attention to these stories in my head helped me to see that it's my responsibility to create the "alone time" i need, and that the problem was not the thoughtlessness and quirks of others. rather, it was my reaction to the speech and actions of others that was the problem. from this thinking my lenten discipline emerged: first, i'm going to set aside more time each day that is reserved for me--no tasks, no matter how essential, will be allowed to interfere with that time. second, each time i catch myself giving into those mind-demons telling me blame-someone-else stories, i'm going to wish that those who are getting under my skin might be well, happy, and at peace, showing compassion rather than becoming hurt or irritated with them.
since lent is only starting, i'll have to see how successful i am with my lenten intentions as the days roll by. may each of us find ways to grow and to develop during these forty days of lent (even those who may not observe lent for whatever reasons--it's good for all of us to grow and develop!). may we all take time to stop, reflect, and find ways to turn those negative stories in our heads into positive ways of being. shalom.