Wednesday, March 5, 2014

40 Bags for Lent

I often find that things come to me when I need them most, even when I don't know I need them.  If I just have the presence to keep my eyes open and my mind objective, really interesting things come my way.

On my Facebook newsfeed last night, a friend posted something called 40 Bags in 40 Days from a blog called White House Black Shutters.  It is a challenge to use the 40 days of Lent to "decrapify" your home.  The goal is to work on decluttering by getting rid of just one bag of junk a day.  It can be any bag, from a grocery bag to a 50 gallon yard bag.

The point is to remove the clutter, but to do it slowly.  I view it as similar to losing weight: one pound barely shows, but 40 pounds can be life-changing.  I have my stickers all ready, I'm going to use my calendar as a sticker-chart.  Every day I get another smiley face for each bag I remove.  This will be a great visual tool for me, and will likely make me smile when I see the cumulative rows of smiles, showing me how proud I am of the baby steps I'm taking.

I'm pretty excited by this.  How many different methods and tips have I tried to clean my home, only to be buried in the shame of it within a week?  There is a 40 Bags group page on Facebook where folks post pictures of their clutter-y messes, before and after pictures, and ask for support.  Even though it is not a kind of a round-about way I'm somewhat encouraged that the messiness of my home is not any more horrific than thousands of others.

My goal for today is my fridge.  Day 1:  Fridge.  For the past couple of weeks, it has been impossible to get anything in or out of that contraption with any kind of grace.  And yesterday when I opened it, a new smell emerged.  I guess this is well-timed for me, so I will tackle the fridge!  I think my one bag of junk will be an easy feat with that one.

I have been working on developing my Spiritual practice, and I have learned that mine flows best through movement.  When I go for a jog, I feel closer to the Holy Spirit and to nature.  When I am volunteering in my daughter's classroom, I find myself prayerful for each of her little classmates.  Adding this one-bag practice for Lent will be very symbolic for me.

I was not planning to incorporate a Lenten Practice this year, since very often it becomes about what I am giving up, rather than prayerful (albeit symbolic) fasting and preparation.

Lent is about preparing for Easter, in fasting and prayer, preparing to mourn deeply and celebrate joyfully in the same weekend.  I will work hard, each day, to remove one bag of the clutter that is binding me.  At the end of 40 days, there will be a sense of accomplishment, lightness and great cause for personal celebration. It will mirror perfectly the deeper meaning of Easter with the sense of freedom and removal of the garbage that is only preventing me from being my best self through the Holy Spirit.

I mourn that my home is so cluttered and messy (again!!), and I am nervous about this journey.  It will be a lot of work, and I think some days all I will manage is a grocery bag of junkmail.  But, I guess that is one pile of junk no longer in my home, distracting me from the greater joys of my life.

I DESERVE a decluttered home
I DO NOT deserve a stinky fridge

I DESERVE to celebrate joyfully
I DO NOT deserve to wallow in shame

I DESERVE a Spiritual practice and connectedness through activity
I DO NOT deserve to sit still and simply wish I was connected

I deserve BEAUTY in my life!

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