Hurray! It’s officially Spring again. I do enjoy the unfolding beauty of every season, but Spring really has to be my favourite. There is an air of expectation in the lengthening of the days, and after all the severe weather most areas in the country have experienced, the bright sunshine and warmth in the air is nectar to the soul, and the daffodils have done so well to raise their heads after all the snow. Maybe as an ‘Aries’ person it also has more than a little to do with a childlike anticipation of birthday celebrations too. Many happy memories of birthdays from childhood of running through Wordsworth’s Lake District with arms filled with freshly picked daffs , now a pleasure to be shared with my own grandchildren. (The flowers may be from ‘Tesco’ but the memories are from the heart.)
I wonder how many of you will have been observing Lent? The time of forty days and nights which Jesus in ‘the wilderness’ – meditating and fasting in preparation for his great sacrifice, facing angels and demons. Many people have a ritual of ‘giving up something for Lent’ though it wasn’t ever something I understood, or was even encouraged to do as I grew up, even though I came from a fairly religious family. I was first introduced to the idea as a student nurse when most of the Irish nurses avoided the tinned ‘Quality Street’ chocolates or biscuits constantly donated by grateful patients. By Easter some of the girls would have lost a few pounds and squeal with pleasure. I often wondered – at that time – if somehow they were perhaps missing the point.
Then, as a young mum taking my children to Sunday School, I was introduced to a series of Lent Meetings. I was intrigued, and happily trotted along to explore the meaning of it all in more depth. Over the weeks we were encouraged to reflect on something meaningful that we might do – purposefully – in our everyday life that would make a difference, and bring more peace into our life. Rather than a token sacrifice it became an act of mindfulness. So that we might gain an understanding of the spiritual idea of Lent. The period leading up to Easter became a time of reflection, meditation, consideration, intention and effectiveness. I was still left with the same thought ~ giving up chocolate, sweets or alcohol will undoubtedly improve our health, but does the same amount of personal sacrifice as simply going on a short restricted diet have a profound effect on the world around us? Maybe it does.
I’m sure we could all think of lots of things that as spiritual warriors and Light Workers are worth giving up permanently, such as greed, resentment, envy, anxiety, and that old chestnut ‘fear of the unknown’ – but we are also realistic enough to understand it takes very hard work. Maybe giving up chocolate, or the daily cappuccino for a few weeks as a way of introducing mindful awareness, isn’t such a bad option after all!
Whether you believe in the Christian concept of Lent or not, I would like to share a few ideas – or reminders – for your own reflection and contemplation to bring you a little more peace on this lead up to Easter-time. None of this will be new to any of us, but in the overwhelming business of coping with ‘Life’, or because we are maybe concentrating on one particular form of spiritual practice, we may have forgotten the value of these:
Body Awareness: Very often on our spiritual journey we are led by the spirit and forget that as Human Beings we have agreed to ’embody’ the Light. I invite you to close your eyes. Get in touch with your body. Become aware of all the sensations on the surface of your body: starting at the crown and moving down to the tip of your toes. Aim to connect the sensations with an awareness of the inner – the whole you. Offer love and peace to your self. Take this renewed sense of peace into your environment. Be in touch with your body at least once every day.
Acceptance: Reflect upon your level of trust in the Divine. Say YES! to everything that you find awkward or unpleasant but cannot change. Say yes to everything that is gone in the past. Say yes to whatever awaits you in the future. Acceptance brings us firmly into the ‘Now’, into our ‘Being’.
Perspective: Think of some of the things you were attached to as a child. Think of some of the fears you may have had as a small child. Allow yourself to smile at the memories of how you once felt, and how this has changed with experience and time.
Think of some of the things you are most concerned about or are attached to, even perhaps obsessing about now. Say to yourself three times slowly, ‘This too will pass, or fade away’.
Think of some of the things you fear or dislike. Say to yourself three times: ‘This too will pass away’.
Daily Mindfulness: Take one extra minute at breakfast, driving to your destination and any other activities you can. As you do this with awareness, observe the effect it has on you. Allow yourself time to notice what you are doing. Verbalize internally what you are doing as you do it. Like a sports commentator, to yourself. Give yourself permission to have some fun with it! Create an inner smile out of every task. This will enable you to carry out one task at a time (and will assist your memory too).
Whether or not it has to do with a time of Lent and the contemplation of Christ, or if indeed in the nature of true ONE-ness, and if, as I believe, in a past life my feet (and maybe yours too) did tread where Jeshua Ben Joseph walked over 2,000 ago, then perhaps my soul (and yours) is reaching into the reflective energy of that original ‘Biblical’ forty days whether we understand it or not. This year it coincides with the magical astrological opportunity of Mercury in retrograde to become still and reflective, and a dreamy, healing Pisces Moon which encourages introspection too. All in all it seems to be perfect timing for change. So let’s stop, reflect, take stock, then leap ahead with the clocks this weekend and spring forward with a renewed sense of growth. I’m going to take my lead from the daffodils, after all if they can raise their heads and shine with such an abundance of glorious, natural beauty after being buried in the snow for weeks then I’m sure I can too! Well maybe not with such a yellow face!
(The above exercises have been taken from Module 7 of my Educating Heart & Soul course)