A Divine Detox
It is through gratitude for the present moment that the spiritual dimension of life opens up.
Yesterday was Ash Wednesday, the day after Fat Tuesday, or Mardi Gras, and the first day of Lent, a religious observance for many liturgical church traditions. People are always surprised to learn that Mardi Gras actually started in my hometown of Mobile, AL, not in the famed, bluesy streets of New Orleans.
Growing up, I had friends who were steeped in the Old South decorum of Mardi Gras. Their dads would dress up in these ridiculous jester costumes and their kitchens overflowed with King Cakes, trash bags full of cheap beaded necklaces and plastic loot for parades— oh and cocktails, there were cocktails for days, namely screwdrivers.
I remember spending the night with one particular friend in fifth grade. We stayed up late with the babysitter until she was relieved of her duties by two staggering adults that smelled like booze and looked like tired, aging Barbies in very expensive ball attire. It was the strangest thing in the world to me.
Our family never bought in. We’d typically pile into a minivan and skip town, making a 32-hour trek to the magical Rocky Mountains of Colorado for a week of skiing. (Yes, it was a jaunt. However we were mighty in number and flying got real expensive, real fast. Where’s the fun in that, anyway?)
I always found this idea of Lent very curious. Basically, like the season of Advent, Lent shares a focus on preparation— creating space in our hearts for what’s to come. Sure, people (often of the female variety) use Lent as an excuse to “give up” chocolate or carbs or what have you in an effort to de-bloat from the excess of the season. To each his own. In my observance though, this completely misses the mark and seems a bit self-serving.
The tradition of “giving something up” for Lent is far more meaningful when the motive is connected to something greater than me or “I”. It’s not a diet, it’s not a resolution, it’s not a contest. I like to call it a Divine Detox; a spiritual cleansing of sorts. I desperately love rituals, and with each passing year, my inner dork shines a bit brighter with all the bells and whistles I incorporate into my daily routine. Lent presents this beautiful opportunity to tap into spiritually driven ritual and re-align with that which is unseen yet powerful beyond belief: Perfect Love. I call that being God, some call it Universe, some call it “fishin’” as Brené Brown wryly recounts about her father.
Whatever your spiritual beliefs, I think we can all agree that we are far more than just physical beings. I was reminded of this last week as I witnessed my niece’s grand entrance into this world. We are spiritual beings through and through, (“spiritual” not “religious”) yet we spend most of our time on the surface, concerned with the physical, structural world. I believe we do this because it’s the loudest, most overt part of life—the noise of it screams at us all day through portals of social media, consumerism, and materialistic pursuit. There is obviously nothing wrong with the physical world…I’m in love with its beauty and energy. However, if we aren’t tethered to something deeper, we dry up and lose touch with presence and purpose.
Any excuse to solidify truth through ritual is a no-brainer in my book. In light of this, I want to honor this deeper constancy of spirit in our lives this week in a tangible way. Creativity springs out of a place of stillness and nothing. I want to spend less time reacting to noise and more time grounded in presence and possibility. In celebration of our sacred spiritual selves, I invite you to join me in a bit of a detox.
Don’t worry, there’s no kale or cayenne pepper involved. (If that’s your thing though, by all means rock it.) This is a week-long observance of the soul—a cleansing away of unnecessary noise that distracts us from connecting to the awareness of a Loving Presence in all things: in people, in situations, in work, in us. It’s setting harsh judgement and criticism on the back burner for a minute to explore the life that flows out of their absence. Our ego, or fear-driven imposters, can take a much needed vacation, those little guys have earned it!
Every day this week, set an alarm on your phone or watch for three different times, perhaps breakfast, lunch, and dinner. These little breaks can be anywhere from 1-5 minutes. Make these short so you won’t blow them off. Take this time to simply connect to the present moment through gratitude. Write down what you’re grateful for and respond by saying thank you. Breathe into that gratitude; seal it in. It’s often much easier to capitalize on the negative and overlook the positive just as we tend to glaringly see our flaws instead of our strengths. This week, we are going to intentionally look for love in everything and observe what, if anything shifts inside. I firmly believe it does and will when we declutter our future fears and past grievances.
If you’re feeling ambitious and want a bonus, identify something that’s a distracting force and set it aside for a week. It can be negative self-talk, social media, Netflix, the scale, or video games—whatever creates extra noise and blocks connection. Don’t worry, you can pick it back up in a matter of days, we’re just experimenting here.
I’m stoked to hear from you on this so please please email me with some feedback.
Love & Gratitude,