Typically, I take on a good intention of some sort, rather than giving up something. I will decide to volunteer for some project, or will increase my daily meditation time, or will adopt a particularly meaningful book to study, rather than give up the stereotypical chocolate for forty days. It’s something that I look forward to and when this time rolls around each year I am glad. Glad for the quieting. Glad for the reflection. Glad to thaw the winter’s ice of my heart and soul that inevitably builds up in the course of the other 325 days.
What is interesting, of course, is that one doesn’t know how the ground will look with the snow blown away. What unknown seed have taken root? What will begin to grow? Anything?
I began Lent this year with the good intention that I will only do things that I would be fine with everyone seeing or knowing what I was doing. That seemed fair and challenging enough. But the ground has shifted with the spring thaw. I now have in me the question of, “What do I want?”
What do I really want? Not like a trip to Japan, or a better physique, or growth in my job. But who am I exactly that I want what it is that I want? Maybe that is the deeper question, one which I doubt I can answer head-on. Nor do I particularly feel the need to have words for who am I. But I can at least be in touch with what I want.
In the monastery we called part of this a “Rule of Life.” It was sort of play book which, knowing the goal, you could draw upon for guidance in life. We each have one. They just aren’t always spelled out and bound in a book. (By the way, my good friend Charles Lafond is working on a book about having one’s own rule of life. I’ll keep you posted as to when it comes out.)
From time to time, they change, those little rules of our for life. As we change, our desires shift.
So I’m looking around right now What has shifted? What do I want? What do I really want?