I’ve been trying to decide what I will do for Lent this year. I had lots of grandiose plans & silly ones, but Ash Wednesday is tomorrow – I need to make a decision already! So, I’ve boiled it down to three things:

1.       No sweets except on Sundays (except for my birthday which comes very inconveniently during Lent every year – sheesh!). This means that the Girl Scout Cookies I’m getting tomorrow are going into the freezer!

2.       Going to bed by 10:00 and getting up at 6:00 every day (except Sunday – I can sleep in until 7:30 on Sunday). I’m not going to make myself promise to DO anything at 6:00, but I need to be out of bed by then. This is in an effort to get myself into a routine where I get more regular sleep. I’ve felt really sleep deprived lately.

3.       Praying with my Episcopal rosary every night.

I’m also going to try to limit Facebook to a certain timeframe each night, but I want that to be more of a gradual lifestyle change than a Lenten observance.

So, how do these directives help me observe Lent? I’m going to test the theory that there is freedom in structure – that in creating this routine I can let go of what I ought to do, & in the vacuum created by “ought’s” absence I can find my way to myself again. Because maybe it’s just February, or maybe it’s self-disdain, or maybe it’s a dearth of estrogen, or maybe it’s because I’m almost 48 (48!), but I find myself staring off into space a lot lately, wordless, thoughtless…

Wow, just in the process of trying to write this post I’ve caught myself several times staring out the window thinking, “floaty clouds…” I’m thinking that shaking things up by pinning things down will be a nice change for me. I’ll let you know how it’s going!


  1. When I was twelve my mother asked me what I was giving up for Lent. I told her, "Catholicism." She said, "Very funny." But I wasn't being funny. That's when I gave it up. Then I married a woman who follows Church teachings rather closely.

  2. Good for you, Dana. There's a lot to be said for staring out the window at the floaty clouds. The more I do it, the better I like it. By the way,I didn't know there was such a thing as an Episcopal rosary. It's beautiful.

  3. You are but a CHILD! The fifties are liberating, strangely enough.

    Anyway, I admire those who take Lenten practice to heart. I would say that perhaps staring off and thinking "floaty clouds" is very much you? And perhaps part of the freedom in structure in that morning hour will be conscious dreaming?

    That's where I dream my best paintings and my best writing.

    The Rosary is beautiful.

    Good luck with your plan. I hope it gives you something that makes you feel movement inside to YOUR tune.

    Which, basically, I kind of believe is the one any Power wants us to move to.

  4. All three goals are fine.

    But, dear Bug: you are a talented and creative person and should never try to find "freedom in structure." Your own freedom that delights us so is found within your floaty clouds.

  5. That is a lovely rosary. I have a glow-in-the-dark one that has just a cross and the 10 beads for a decade. I think I will take a page out of your book and say that too.

    As for giving up, for me it's chocolate, and any sort of alcohol. We're not big drinkers, but I will miss the odd glass of white wine, or half of Guinness on the weekend.

    One year we gave up coffee, but that's not going to happen this year!

    Good luck with yours, Bug! I'll say a prayer for you, if you do the same for me.


  6. Good luck with all those goals. Too many for me. I'm trying to decide on one habit to change.

  7. Hey Bug,

    I wish you much success in your endeavors. Lent is all about discovering a better sense of self awareness. I'm with Jan.... one thing at a time though. I think I will be making more visits to the vegetable patch and less to the cookie jar and I will be doing more walking. Inspiring post you've composed today. Thanks ma'am. xoxo

  8. I had a conversation with my kids about Lent last night and we decided to take up good stuff for Lent rather than give up.
    I do the 'floaty clouds' thing myself, its good for the creative side:)

  9. Hey :) I'm glad I have a Lent buddy. I'm almost TWENTY SEVEN (!!!!!!) and I find myself staring at things and generally wasting my life when my friends have houses and dogs or book deals or are doctors.

    Anyway:for Lent I'm giving up the comma (people laugh but I use it an awful lot and am finding even this comment difficult to write without it) and takeaways (which consist of our dinner every night until I lost my job and that's no exaggeration). And I'm going to walk to and from work with Sam, because I'm going mad in this house and it'll help my wellbeing and maybe I'll sleep better. :)

  10. Best of luck with that. I must now confess that I do miss those Goucha peanut butter cookies!!!

  11. Floaty clouds.......LOVE IT and I'm right there with ya!

    I've never heard of a Episcopal Rosary, sounds intriguing. One of my class member from last years Disciple brought me back a Catholic Rosary from her trip to Rome, very cool I thought. It is made by monk out of rose petals they collect from a garden, it actually smell like roses.

    I am contemplating Lent this year. I have tried to be diligent in years past usually I usually fail, the joys of being in this season of life I guess!


  12. I think giving up the sweets is appropriate. Good luck.


  13. Very best wishes with the proposed actions, Bug. I am rather in awe of the getting up at 6am one.

    Whilst munching our pancakes last night, 3 of us resolved as follows:
    T1: to reduce my volume. Some bizarre freak of nature has given him a voice of quite prodigious proportions. I can remember walking down the corridor of the mother and baby unit (being twins, they were early) and hearing an incredible wail. A midwife kindly said, "I'm afraid that's one of yours".
    T2: to be less sulky.
    Me: to be less shouty.

    Mr T is, of course, perfect, but we do intend to wean him off his usual packet of biscuits a day.

  14. You know, I have to get up by 6:30 in order to be at work on time anyway. I should have made it 5:30 so it would be more of an actual challenge. On the other hand, it's the getting to bed by 10:00 that will be the MOST difficult - & the key to actually getting enough sleep.

  15. Bug--I am a Recovering Catholic, but I often take time during traditional Lent to refocus. In today's Plain Dealer, a columnist offers some interesting ideas. Here is the link. The Catholics are awfully good at deprivation and guilt--one of the reasons I had to extricate myself; what woman needs more of all THAT?--but Lent, like New Year's, is a nice, concrete marker for a Resolve. Anyway, just a thought.

    Like you, I find structure to be at times very liberating. I appreciate order, most when it is self-imposed. I hope you find Lent 2012 to be a satisfying journey of your own making.

  16. don't be so quick to quit daydreaming. I read an article recently about a study of brain activity during daydreaming and it turns out the brain is more active during daydreaming than during focused activity with the problem solving areas lit up like a christmas tree. It also said, most solutions to problems come during those daydreaming times because the mind is free to wander around all the data stored in your brain and make connections the 'awake' brain won't make.

  17. You are a poet and beautiful writer. Isn't one of the prerequisites for this an innate ability to daydream? There is plenty of opportunity to be present in the moment so i think there should be time allotted to clear the deck, too.

  18. there is def freedom found within the right boundaries...bes of wishes on your lenten...i just realized last night so i am still noodling my sacrifices

  19. I think you're right about structure enabling a certain amount of freedom. I think good habits are beneficial precisely becuase the remove the strees of too much choice (I really think there is such a thing). So long as the structure does not become a prison... The 'floaty clouds' make lots of appearances in my head too, by the way.

  20. good advice - dont think about what you are giving up, concentrate on what you will gain as a result

  21. I think I read the same article Ellen did - or one reporting the same results. I'm going to try and find it again. I meant to save it, so it's possible it's in my files. It was in The New Yorker, I believe.

    We're on nearly the same schedule. I'm heading to bed at 11 and up at 5:45. The cat is much happier, because that's more like her schedule.

    I didn't know about the Episcopal rosary, either. One of the treasures I brought back from my last trip to Liberia was a string of Muslim prayer beads given to me by a family I ate with in Monrovia. So many customs are shared, and we don't even know it.

  22. I like your plan and purpose behind it.


Post a Comment

Thanks for stopping by - I'd love to hear what you have to say!