We live with our portable electronics on a daily bases. We depend on them almost as much as we depend on the air we breathe. And yet no one ever gives a second thought to the fact that they need to be recharged when they get run down.
So why would we forget that we too need to take some time off to recharge ourselves…
Well, in the Orthodox church, Lent is not all about giving up something but more about what we can gain by practicing conscious abstinence from the extras in our lives.The difference between the two is subtle, but substantial. One makes us feel deprived, the other empowers us by putting us in control of our lives.
I am doing this by going vegan for 40 days, which is the traditional method of practicing Lent. But Lent means so much more to me. It means cleaning our environments from the clutter that so often accumulates without our knowledge. It means letting go of stale relationships so that new ones can bloom. It means being selective about what we let into our minds. It means reconnecting with ourselves and with the power higher than ourselves. It means taking time and being kind and gentle towards ourselves.
This tradition of “spring cleansing” actually predates Christianity. People in Babylon, Egypt and Greece used to avoid animal based products for six weeks during spring, go to the temples and clean their homes. It had practical implications as well because people would not kill animals during this time and instead would let them procreate and subsequently have more food towards the fall.
We can learn much from our ancestors. When we eat a lot of fresh greens, vegetables, and legumes, we nourish our bodies after the long winters and cleanse our systems of extra toxins that are stored in the fat cells accumulated during the winter time from all the fattening food.
Lent or detoxing is about taking time for ourselves and restoring our body’s natural balance. Our body system and our internal organs do a good job of processing food, fueling our bodies and eliminating waste. But when we put extra strain on our bodies, we upset the balance and things can start going wrong. There might be signs that all might not be well –tiredness, fatigue, sleepiness, bad mood, poor skin, weak nails, headaches, even mild depression. In short, anything that makes you feel or look “run down” is a sign that you probably are and that your body is out of balance.
Because so many of you have expressed interest in this topic, I will try to break it down into easy doable steps and share it with you, since the whole process of detoxing is an overwhelmingly empowering experience and can be easily accomplished by just making a few small changes.
It is time to take control of ourselves: our minds, bodies, and spirits and make a “clean sweep”!