More than enough space
One of the invitations of Lent is to let go of things, attitudes, and practices that no longer serve us in order to release that which binds us and make space, more than enough space, for healthy growth. Any decision to change will immediately be confronted by voices of judgement, cynicism, and fear. Judgement tries to seal off and protect the status quo. Cynicism is born of mistrust and seeks to isolate the heart from vulnerability. Fear speaks out of scarcity demanding we protect what (little) we have. Together, these three create powerful obstacles to change.
Rituals, activities involving gestures, words, actions, or objects performed in a set sequence, help create space for growth. As contrary as it might seem, we can make more room in our lives by engaging in rituals, religious or secular. The very act of engaging in ritual creates sacred space for subtle mental transformations. Though sometimes difficult to commit to, rituals intentionally disrupt demands of daily living.
One person explains how daily rituals have created room in her life. “I’ve struggled with anxiety my entire life. While there is a lot in this world that can make any one anxious, there are certain thought patterns that I experience simply because they are addictive, familiar, ways of thinking even though I know they are destructive. To make space for my whole self, anxious thoughts, and all, I commit to small, attainable rituals. I dedicate a little time every day to tidying my room while listening to one of my playlists. Earl Grey tea and jasmine incense are calming for me, so I include both in my day. I have a prayer journal to confront my racing thoughts on paper and offer all my concerns to God. Rather than repressing and trying to make my anxiety smaller, I make intentional, tangible, places for it to go.”
Rituals that are gathered together become a rule of life, the things that we do daily, weekly, monthly, annually that tend our souls and bodies. Making your bed, reading the Bible, praying, journaling, exercising, are all examples of daily practice that can become ritualized overtime. Weekly intentional contact with family or friends, engagements with nature, planning and worship, along with monthly or quarterly filing, sorting, and deep cleaning. Annually, many people plan for a retreat. Gardening invites ritual, an annual cycle of activities engaged intentionally.
Lent is a time to recenter, reevaluate, and recommit ourselves so that we may live more fully into who God has created us to be. It takes intentionality and discipline to commit to letting go and making space. Rituals, simultaneously anchor us in time and place and disrupt unconscious thought patterns and reframe perspectives ultimately transforming the ways we relate to ourselves, God, and others. Even when it feels like there is no room, rituals make the room to confront, process, and heal, more than enough room!
What are the ways that Lent makes a spiritual space that affirms more than enough-ness after healthy letting go?
What might you need to let go of in order to make space for your fullness – whether it be for your spirituality to blossom or space to simply exist in?