This is not a religious post.
The reason I say that is because I would like to note that today is Ash Wednesday in the Christian calendar, the start of the Lenten season. Forty days of fasting and prayer as the faithful mark the period when Jesus wandered in the desert before turning his feet toward Jerusalem.
It is tradition that during this time you give up something indulgent as a sign of the sacrifices made. Many folks give up chocolate or sweets — and then whine about it, trying to find loopholes in the rules so they can have some.
About ten years ago, I decided that was fairly counter-productive. Yes, I eat chocolate during Lent. Cookies as well. Do I try to cut down? Well, yes, because I should. But what I started doing instead was making these forty days not a time to deprive myself of something, but to add to my life. Make this season a positive instead of “How long before I can have a Snickers again without feeling guilty?”
These are not necessarily large things, though the result is often larger than the action, but something that I’ve wanted to try or learn or do. I’ve done intensive readings of authors or subjects that were on my “someday” list and worked to speed up how fast I knit. (That one was a moderate success, but there was progress.) Some of it is spiritual, some intellectual, much of it, these last few years, devoted to my writing.
This year, I’m focusing on making the balance of getting the writing done and filling my creative well work. I love writing and greatly enjoy much of the time I spend in front of a keyboard drafting a book. But I know I need to also spend time resting and doing other things I enjoy doing. Too often in these last few months, I’ve found myself drained as I’ve promoted one book, drafted and revised another, then promoted that. In fact, I didn’t do anywhere near as much promotion on my latest book because I was simply exhausted. Remember, there were family commitments and the day job during that time as well.
So here’s challenge this year: struggle toward the balance I need between being a producing writer, the other commitments in my life, and finding time to just relax.
Even if you don’t “do” Lent, what can you do in the next forty days that will help you toward who you want to be? I’d love here your thoughts and brilliant ideas are always welcome. Let’s check back in a few days to see how it’s going.
Featured photo by SoloTravelGoals/Unsplash