Preparing for Lent

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“A prayer for humility which is the beginning of true repentance. For repentance, above everything else, is a return to the genuine order of things, the restoration of the right vision.”

Oftentimes on my break, I head out for a walk in the enchanted forest (technically, it’s a ravine) around the corner from my office. There’s a trail that runs alongside a stream in a beautiful surrounding of thick trees and wildlife.

It was here I had a playful encounter with a clever squirrel the other day. I was eating lunch when I noticed I had an admirer standing nearby, tantalized by my food. He started to shuffle forward when — in the blink of an eye — he dashed for some fallen bits of bread and veggies running to the closest tree for cover.

He then began a playful game of peekaboo to distract me from his true intention: snatching more snacks.

Squirrels are determined, resourceful animals that never take no for an answer, always trying different ways to solve puzzles and overcome obstacles. Autumn is when these busybodies work the hardest, gathering seeds and nuts for the winter.

Prudent and efficient, they take only what they need. They teach us to let go of the internalized voices and self-doubt that weigh heavy on us. These are phantoms of the past that limit our openness to change, love, and forgiveness.

We must see our negative feelings, attachments, and beliefs for what they really are: nutty.

These playful everyday animals do not take life too seriously. They always find time for fun in-between work gatherings. Squirrels are multitaskers, so prepared they can become erratic over-thinkers that create their own chaos and confusion.

Get out of your own way. Be patient and objective. Quiet the chitchat and focus yourself. Find balance in the cycle of gathering and giving out. Know when to stand inwards and step outwards. Trust that what’s meant for you finds a way.

Lighten up, for new life awaits: Great Lent is coming.*

The Lenten season begins then by a quest, a prayer for humility which is the beginning of true repentance. For repentance, above everything else, is a return to the genuine order of things, the restoration of the right vision. It is, therefore, rooted in humility, and humility – the divine and beautiful humility – is its fruit and end. “Let us avoid the high-flown speech of the Pharisee,” says the Kontakion of this day, “and learn the majesty of the Publican’s humble words.”

– Humility (Sunday of the Publican and the Pharisee)

*March 142016.

“Use the winter to go back into the great womb of life in order to be able to bring forth new energy and expressions.”

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