It’s that time of year again. The time when the people around you get cranky because they deny themselves caffeine or sugar; those trying 40 days of breaking a habit. Lent is upon us.
Lent is traditionally observed by Christians who undertake a period of fasting and restricting luxuries, in order to repent for their sins and be closer to God. Because of my past relationship with food, restricting certain items or food groups doesn’t sit very well with me. I particularly don’t see the point in cutting something out for 40 days if you’re not planning to keep up with it long-term. I personally like to approach Lent differently and search for what I can let go of.
A few years ago, a dear friend and I decided to go without looking in a mirror for the period of Lent. It was challenging, liberating and thought-provoking. We documented our experience and shared it with our friends and the world-wide web. I found the mirror-fast to be truly transformative, and something I reflect on (ha!) up to this day. It was the first Lent challenge I had ever taken seriously and it has proved a tough one to top!
This year I feel inspired to set myself a new challenge. I have been thinking a lot about consumerism and how much stuff I own. Lately I have been focused on trying to make my purchases more eco-friendly, but an even easier way to protect the environment is to simply buy less. Recently I stumbled upon Michelle McGagh’s challenge of going the whole year without purchasing anything new. It sounds like an amazing experiment and it has inspired me to go the length of Lent trying to do the same.
I am still allowed to buy food and go out and do things. The idea is to not add any more possessions to my collection during the course of Lent. The reason I have decided to do this is because I have noticed myself buying things to cheer myself up. This maybe isn’t such a bad thing every once in a while, but I think the joy you get from material things is usually fairly fleeting. I want to focus on drawing my happiness from myself and experiences shared with other people.
My no-possession-purchase Lent (I will work on a more catchy title) also works well in conjunction with the decluttering challenge being undertaken by myself and my partner during March. To be honest I am hoping that I won’t find it terribly difficult. Usually I am pretty good at obeying rules when I have set myself a clear target, but only time will tell! For the record, my last two purchases before it kicks off were a pair of Shethinx period-proof underwear, and a nasal saline rinse bottle and sachets. Take from that what you will.
Are you using Lent as a time to do something differently? Adding a positive activity or ritual into your routine is another cool way to use the time for something potentially transforming. Let Lent be the start of something new and perhaps instead of food, sacrifice the time you spend watching TV or on Social Media. Is there something you always mean to do more of but never find the time? Maybe reading more or running or even sleeping! Whatever it is I encourage you to give it a go. It’s only 40 days after all.