So, Lent, the traditional seasonal holiday observed by Christians marking the 6 week or 40-day sacrificing of Jesus started on Ash Wednesday. Which just happens to be the day after fat Tuesday
and oh yea, fell on Valentines day this year.
Traditionally, people of Christian faith take this time to also sacrifice or 'give up' something to honor the sacrifice of Jesus. Whether you are religious, agnostic, atheist, or spiritual faith, at one time or another we can relate with sacrifice. Giving up something for the greater good is the point of it all right?
As someone who respects the benefit of sacrifice for the overall good, I always seek something specific to sacrifice during this season. I am a practicing pescatarian ( a person who does not eat land animals, beef, chicken, etc), one year I sacrificed seafood and did a purely vegan diet for 40 days. Another time, I sacrificed candy. And not just candy but my favorite candy. As a health care professional, I have had patients and friends give up a multitiude of things. Coffee, sex, chocolate, cigarettes, alcohol. But, last year, I decided after a reading by Thict Nhat Hanh, instead of giving up something, I decided to add something. But, how could adding yet another thing to my life be sacrifice. How could it add to the greater good. I have 2 kids, a career, an entrepreneur, a household to run and the typical early morning wake ups to sneak to get some work or quiet time before the kids wake up. So, how can adding yet another thing to do add to my life? That thing I added was meditation. meditation is the practice of mindfulness by quiet contemplation. Prayer is asking our higher power of something. Simply put, prayer is where you talk to God/Universe/Spirit and meditation is where you listen. Many people when starting the process of meditation are afraid and find difficulty in concentration, because they can hear the kids downstairs or the thoughts of work, laundry, relationships, and that OMG! I forgot to pay that bill starts to creep into memory. However, with focused concentration, you can push these thoughts to the side and focus on what the spirit is trying to tell you. (I use spirit to delineate your personal definition of God, Spirit, or Universe.)
The #IDGAF challenge is a way to let go by giving in. Giving in that you do not have all the answers. Giving in that you do not have to be in control or on top of every single detail. Giving in that by adding another task, you are sacrificing other tasks and gaining more. By inviting this mindset, you will invite things and time that really matter. I work professionally with people who are at the end-of-life and the things that matter then are never the things that keep us up at night. It is spending time with family, vacation memories, family reunions, and Sunday morning breakfasts. When people are nearing end of life, it is not the dishes in the sink they mention or the laundry they forgot to do, or that they wished they cursed out their co-worker. But rather, the time they left the dishes and laundry to cuddle with the kids and watch a movie. The spontaneity in everyday life moments is what makes life worthwhile and makes moments memories.
So, today, say out-loud #IDGAF! When you feel the pressures of deadlines, when the thoughts of 'have-to-dos' start to take over, remind yourself that it probably doesn't matter to the intent of your life. Which Im sure is about family, love, everyday compassion.
Peace and Grace,