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WritersButt Wednesday: Tweaking Lent

Hey, at least I didn’t call this post Twerking Lent. You’re welcome!

So, today is Ash Wednesday, the official start of the season of Lent.  Lent is the 40 days prior to Easter Sunday. It is known for being a time of sacrifice and reflection for the 40 days that Jesus fasted in the desert. I’ve observed the season of Lent for as long as I can remember. It is sometimes known more as a Catholic tradition, or at least that’s what people express to me, but I grew up in the Lutheran church and we always observed the season, so there you go.

Over the years, I’ve given up all sorts of things. The idea is to choose a vice, something you will really miss, so that you are constantly aware of your sacrifice and you are reminded to focus the sacrifice that Jesus made for us.

Listen, I’m not a religious historian, nor am I remotely an expert on the subject, so these are my interpretations as I grew up as a Christian. So while I’m sure I’m getting some of the details wrong, I’m focusing on what the season means to me.

This year I’ve chosen not to give something up, which I have always done in the past, from chocolate to sugar altogether. Last year I did “Paleo-Lent” where I was 100% strict with my Paleo diet (how I primarily eat anyway) for the entire season of Lent. There was nothing wrong with these sacrifices but this year I wanted to add something into my life instead of take something away.  I want to infuse my life with something positive instead of a constant reminder of what I wasn’t allowing myself to have.

If you have been following my WritersButt’s program for any length of time, you know it’s about connecting the mind and body to be more creative and productive. To do this, I suggest everyone be well hydrated, eat a healthy, wholesome diet, get enough sleep, incorporate exercise into your daily life and to practice gratitude.

It’s safe to say I do pretty well on most of the elements of WritersButt in my own life, but I think I can do better. Even while I go through all the motions of all the key components, I have been feeling a bit displaced in my daily life. I’m distracted and avoiding things that are very important to me … namely my writing.

Why?

I’m not sure but I hope to find out. I do know one of the key things that never fails to derail me, is to allow my mind to get too busy, too insistent on doing it ‘all’ and do it all ‘perfectly’.

Self-Sabotage!

I’m looking for some balance!

In addition to my consistent CrossFit weight training, I’ve added daily yoga to my routine. (Way more about this adventure in a later post!) But, I have been saying for over a year that I want to add in daily meditation, to quiet my mind and let my soul just breathe and my body and mind just be. Maybe if I can quiet the constant, hammering noise of my thoughts, I can actually HEAR what a deeper part of me has to say?

So, that’s what I’m doing for Lent this year. A daily meditation time.

meditation quote a hoopes

A year and a half ago, my husband and I took a fabulous trip to Mexico where we stayed at an amazing place called Present Moment Retreat. I still cherish every moment of that trip. While there, we learned how to meditate from the yoga instructor. (Hi Belen – HUGS from Texas!!))

It is not easy, and she suggests you start with just a few minutes. Here’s a great article with tips for a beginner starting a meditation practice.

I just did my meditation before writing this blog. It was less than 5 minutes.  It felt like an hour at least. It’s so hard to sit, breathe, empty your mind and just exist with an open heart. My word – I need the practice.

Good thing I have 39 more days until Easter to get better at mediation so that it will become a lifelong habit. I hope it will help connect me back to doing what brings me such joy – Chasing My Dreams!

Do any of you meditate? Do you participate in Lent? If you do, what are you giving up OR adding in this Lent?

 

 

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The Surf, the Sand, the Slice of Humble-Pie

Hola mis amigos! As you can see, we are back from the paradise vacation in Troncones, Mexico. I spoke little to no Spanish when I left. And now, I speak little to no Spanish. But the lyrical music of the language is still singing in my head.  We enjoyed an amazing 4-night stay at the Present Moment Retreat in Troncones, Mexico.

While there we ate the most fabulous meals. Oh my gosh!  Even my grossest exaggeration would not do it justice. All fresh food, prepared to order, offered a plate of authentic goodness. And the seafood – pardon me while I swoon. They also offered a specialty menu of juices and smoothies. Each combination provided different benefits. Our favorite was the Energize juice, which was pineapple, spinach and ginger. In fact, I could use one right now!

This place specialized in yoga and meditation, basically all forms of relaxation to get you to be in the ‘present moment’. Well, it worked and then some. We meditated, we yoga’d our chi off, and found some serious zen. Ok, there may have been a little help from the 90-minute massages we got on our last day in a little hut on the beach with the waves crashing.

~*~Ooouummmmm~*~

Now don’t think we just sat around all day, rocking on our porch …

Or taking a siesta …

Or lounging by the pool …

Or enjoying some lovely beverages …

No, we had some adventure too, in the form of surf lessons. We signed up for 1-hour of private surf instructions. Enter Beto. I should add that I thought his name was Bento and called him that for 2 days. But I shall henceforth refer to him by Beto so he won’t go down in infamy as a Japanese lunch box.

Here is my Facebook status after our surf lessons:

1. Surfing is not easy
2. I’m pretty sure I have I plankton setting up house in areas they have no business being.
3. Laughing at yourself is very good medicine.
4. When Beto says, “Get on” — you do it and smile about it.
5. Eventually riding more waves than you miss is satisfying.

4 pm, Beto shows up. He’s your quintessential surf dude, I mean, surfer-city.  He tells us we are to walk with him down the beach to get our boards.  Once we get to the boards, Beto gives us a brief demonstration of what we are to do. We lay down on the board and prove we can indeed hop to our feet and strike ‘the pose’. Beto is foolishly satisfied we can do this and we head to the waves, leashed to our boards.

Within moments, a wave is coming, Beto taps board, “Get On.” Turns board to shore, shoves with the wave and says, “Ready, Go.”

Ok, let me cut to the chase. There was a whole lot of falling and rolling on the ocean floor. There was salt and plankton consumed in ways I’m not sure is wholly explainable. There was a valuable reminder that learning new sports is pure gold for your soul.

It wasn’t long before we wondered when our hour would be up. It felt like we’d been surfing for a long time. I think it had been about 15 minutes. We were exhausted! Every time I trudged back to Beto with my board, he slapped it and said, ‘Get on’ and I just blindly listened.  At one point, I asked Beto if it had been an hour. He shrugged. I asked if he new what time it was.

Beto: “Naw. What is time?”

Ginger has wave crash over her head: “Well, how will we know when our time is over?”

Beto slaps board, Ginger doesn’t even wait for his ‘get on’ and flings herself onto surfboard: “You having fun?”

Ginger: “Yes.”

Beto: “Then no time here. Have fun more important.”

Soon after that, my surfboard got ahead of me a bit on my way back to Beto, who was diving and flipping in the water as he waited for William and I get return after each ride with our boards. A wave came and sent the surfboard towards me. It crashed into my ribs, knocked me back and proceeded to ride over my face.

Yes, I ran over myself with my own board.

By the end, I have to say, we were riding more waves than we were missing.  Beto insists that we did very well. I would like to believe him.

Finally we called our surf fun to a close and made our way back to our bungalow and headed strait to the hot tub with jets.

Then we started laughing. I caught a huge fit of belly-giggles. A yoga class was finishing feet from us and I tried so hard to shush my laughter but that just sent me to snorting.  Every breath of air expanded inside of me and came out in laughter.

Once I got a hold of myself, and William refilled my wine glass, I got to thinking about what Beto said about time.

What is time? Really think about that. Time is a reality. But it need not dictate your being, your actions and your mindset. Sure there are times when this can’t be avoided. Appointments, schedules, obligations. But there are so many other moments that are wasted by thinking of a time that is not happening yet, right that moment, in that present moment.

Beto’s words will stay with me as a reminder to acknowledge the moment I’m in, to breathe and experience that instant. To allow myself the luxury of smiling, having fun, laughing at myself and appreciating every moment of life.

Whatever you are feeling; joy, laughter, fun, peace … allow yourself to feel time stop and settle into that moment and really live it … for right then, there is no time.

Hasta la próxima vez mis amigos …. Until next time my friends!

 

 

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