21 March 2013

The Journey Continues ...

Not I, nor anyone else can travel that  road for you.
You must travel it by yourself.
It is not far.  It is within reach.
Perhaps you have been on it since you were born, and did not know.
Perhaps it is everywhere - on water and land."
- Walk Whitman, Leaves of Grass

Prior to lent, I started my year off with the “One Little Word” project.  I blogged about it…my word for the year being Balance.  But then early on in my Lenten journey, I decided that Balance just wasn’t going to work for someone like me that does so much teetering.  Lent gave me that focus to really hone in on me, my life, what needed tweaking now, and what needs sorting through later.  Balance had to take a back burner to PEACE.  And so a few weeks ago, I declared my new word for the year.  PEACE.  And my Lenten journey is helping me to achieve it.
One of the things I worked on(and am still working on), is keeping a check on negativity.  I don’t think of myself as being a negative person at all.  But there are things in my life that I would like to change, and sometimes these things are not entirely in my control.  Or maybe they are but they require patience (also not one of my strong suits).  This leads to a degree of negativity that tends to cloud over my days sometimes.  So I’ve really been trying to make that a focus, an awareness, on my journey.  So here's an example of how the scenario goes: I’m at work, feeling like a square peg in a round hole, and I start getting all dark inside, and that leads to a mental funk.  A few minutes later, I’m assessing the situation and stopping myself from going there (okay, I'm there, but stopping myself from going deeper in).  And I’ve been turning it around and trying to focus on the positive:  I am alive; We are able to pay the bills, We ate today… I am warm today. You get the idea.  And it has really helped me to work on the “peace” issue.  The problems might still be there…and it’s not that they’re not going to get a serious looking at, but being negative in light of so much positive is just not productive.

And the second thing that I worked on was gossip – especially being on the receiving end.  This one was difficult and I’ll tell you why.  Like vegetarianism, when you don’t partake in it, the person that you’re not partaking with feels that you are judging them.  And that’s totally not the case.  I have had to stop friends and say, “if it’s bad, please don’t share that with me…I’m working on it for lent.”  I didn’t say what “it” was.  Or in the event that we were in a group, and there was conversation going on, I had to stop myself from commenting…which again is viewed as you being aloof or not wanting to participate.  BUT, I have to say that the feeling afterward is one of exhilaration. I remembered back a few years ago when I was much heavier than I am today.  Because I wasn’t happy with myself back then, I was hyper critical of others.  Whereas now, the focus is more on self-improvement. The no gossip has also gone hand in hand with the no negativity thing.  Gossip is negative.  No room for it.  And both of those have made me much more peaceful inside.

My lenten journey has helped me keep my focus on things.  There is a LOT of room for improvement in my life.  I do still need to re-visit balance and patience, but I have a feeling that they will eventually come.  Even though lent is almost over, the journey is really just beginning.  Now it’s time to take what I’ve learned about myself, and move it forward. Of course, none of these are possible without prayer – a dialogue between myself and God which helps me focus and feel like I’m on the right track.  

This Sunday being Palm Sunday, I’m looking forward to taking communion again.  It’s been six weeks.  There’s a lot to atone for, and a lot to be thankful for. I hope your Lenten journeys have been fulfilling as well.  May God give us the strength to grow from what we have learned over this period of introspection, and to carry it forward in our lives.
You can hear this podcast read on epostle's weekly podcast, The Next Step with Fr. Vazken.  Click here to tune in.

Are you trying to get healthy?  Lose some weight?  Join me on "The Journey of the Pudgy Pomegranate" at www.pudgypomegranate.blogspot.com  

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