Lenten practices: Wellness for you and the world

This post is part of a series that outline some practices as an invitation to a Holy Lent.  The other posts include ideas about how to eat more intentionally and prayer practices.  Here, I outline ideas that promote general wellness, for you and for the world.

For you:

  • Move: the cadre of activity trackers have increased our collective awareness of our total steps and how much activity we get in any given day.  Setting goals for yourself for the season can help you engage these practices more intentionally.  I find that walking, running and cycling each ground me and help me to connect with God.  Often, as I begin my walk/run/ride I offer prayers for those in need.  Next, I use the movement and time to empty my mind of the busyness and enter a more contemplative state.  Whether it is a walk, run or ride, I try to have some intentional time of movement 5-6 days a week.
  • Yoga: designed to connect our body and mind, yoga is contemplative by nature.  I have enjoyed yoga in community, being guided through motions and positions also allows an emptying.  Yoga draws our awareness to our breath, which is inherently spiritual as well.  Find a class to join, or practice yoga on your own this Lent
  • Sleep and rest: access to light with the flip of a switch, not to mention the vast array of screens, has disrupted or more natural rhythms of rest and sleep.  Give yourself permission during Lent to rest more, doing so will likely enrich your other practices as the time of rest will prepare your body and mind for the other practices here.


For the world:

  • Volunteer: perhaps you already give freely of your time, the needs are many.  Commit time and energy to the Food Pantry, a local shelter, or a neighbor in need.  Your commitment to others during Lent will enrich the world, but also be a sound reminder that we are called to a servant ministry.
  • Reduce your energy use: it’s good for the world and your budget…and will remind you of the sacrifices others have made for you.  Conserving energy requires deliberate effort, but can be quite simple too: unplugging unused appliances, installing smart thermostats (or adjusting the one you have), proper tire inflation improves mileage… (http://www.ecomall.com/greenshopping/20things.htm) there are many resources online to help you engage with this option.
  • No bag please: giving up plastic bags reduces our dependence on oil and generally improves the environment.  Utilizing reusable bags helps the world, but also serves as a regular reminder that we are in a season of fasting.  Bonus: (for the truly penitent) park at the edge of the parking lot and pick up some litter on your way into the store.

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