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Swaim School for Better Living: Wintering Well #7


Welcome all and Happy Wintering!

Couldn’t you use a little celebration right now? No matter where you live, February can get a little draggy. So let us celebrate. And no I’m not writing about Valentine’s Day!

How about Lent instead?

Yes, whether or not you ascribe to the Orthodox Christian faith, Lent is a great reminder of our mortality.


How do celebration and mortality go together? Good question. First let me give a little background on Lent.

Lent marks the time from Marti Gras or Fat Tuesday or Shrove Tuesday until Easter (this year April 1, no fooling); the 40ish day interval commemorates the time of Christ’s temptation in the wilderness. Historically, he fasted for 40 days. I start to feel cranky when I miss breakfast! Anyway the Christian calendar sets aside this time for renewal through a little mortification of the flesh. Many of you might have stopped reading right there. Mortification is nothing to celebrate.

Or is it?

Self-denial is healthy. Very healthy. Saying no to yourself on a regular basis during this time will produce in each of us a strange sort of celebration. Really.

So pick something to say no to for the next 40 days (Sundays are exempt). Don’t buy that latte. Stop watching television (especially Olympic figure skating). Be quiet on a regular basis. Power your phone off. Choose one thing. Once your brain gets used to this new habit, your life and health will improve. The overworked dopamine receptors in your brain need a vacation.

Whether or not you ascribe to the deeper Spiritual meaning of Lent, the discipline of fasting from something will do your mind, body and spirit some good.

Trust me. Say no. Do it every day to something. Discipline is good. After the misery wears off, you will inevitably begin to celebrate.



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