Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Thoughts on Ash Wednesday

Ever since I've been a kid, I've always fasted to some degree on Ash Wednesday and this year was no different. I have been giving a lot of thought about why I do this or why people fast in general (for religious or spiritual reasons anyway) because I've had increasingly mixed thoughts about why I do this. Am I just doing this to feel like I'm a bigger person? Is this just making ego feel self-important by making myself suffer for a day and feel really good that I could get through it? I don't think so... I've come to the conclusion that it can also serve a much greater purpose than merely feeding your ego (haha, feeding your ego, by not feeding your body...).

What was bothering me was that I do recognize that I'm extremely privileged (as many if not most of us who have time to spend reading or writing blogs are) and that not eating for 24 hours is not going to make me understand what it's like to be starving or disenfranchised or needy. However, I think the purpose of a fast like this is to put your life into perspective, to make you realize how much you do have at the end of the day, that you have the choice to fast at all while others don't even get such an option and have to despite their will. By fasting for one day, I realize that unlike so many, I can eat tomorrow, that if I feel hungry during some part of my day, it's not a big deal compared to what others have to suffer. It helps me realize, 'what am I complaining about, really?', when there are so many bigger problems out there... Whenever you feel like something is going wrong, whether it's being stuck in traffic for longer than you wanted or finding out that the ingredient you needed at the grocery store is sold out, a day like today makes you realize you've got it pretty good and that your problems are so not real problems.

Being today, I've also been giving final thoughts on what I want to do this year for Lent and I do believe that choosing to grow or become a better person during the next 40 days is much more important to me than denying myself a particular food or food group. I've come to realize that while not eating sweets or fasting during the day was okay for me to do as a kid, I want to do something that actually matters. I realize now that Lent is not suppose to be about suffering, or self-pity, or denying yourself something. Like I mentioned yesterday, it's suppose to be about growth and introspection. It's ultimately suppose to be a time to reflect on oneself and become a better person. So that's what I'm choosing to do.

Though I try to live this way every day anyway, I'm going to focus even more on having 40 days of only positive speaking and thoughts about anyone or anything, if not positive, at least having no negative talk at all. I also want to try to promote my personal growth a little bit every day, whether it's by reading a chapter from books that have been recommended to me about manifestation, personal growth, etc. Though all these exercises do seem to be all about me, the goal is ultimately to turn myself inside out and be about everything but me. It's to help me release my issues and negativity and self-doubt to only leave room for gratitude, openness, and positivity towards myself and others.

Obviously no recipe for today, since it was a fasting day. I did have a green juice after my workout though, because in the spirit of 'this isn't about depravation', I understand the importance of recovering and maintaining optimal health after a heavy workout!

Workout of the Day
I switched things up today by doing lower weight and higher reps. The beauty about making slight amendments to your routine is that smallest thing can make the biggest different! Just making this slight change left me exhausted (or maybe it's because I'm fasting?):
5 minute warmup on stair climber
4x12 ab ciruit on stability ball
1x30 dumbbell chest press
1x30 tricep cable pulldowns
1x30 shoulder shrugs
1x30 dumbbell lying chest flyes
1x30 dumbbell frontal raises
1x30 kickbacks
1x30 ab stability ball roll outs
5 minutes of stretching


  1. C'est un très beau message que tu as posté et je te souhaite de trouver ce que tu cherches durant ces 40 prochains jours particulièrement :)
    Je ne m'étais pas apercue qu'on pouvait poster à nouveau des commentaires ... désolée je ne me risque pas à les faire en anglais il est devenu tout moche même si on ne peut pas entendre l'accent via l'ordi !!!
    J'espère que tu nous diras comment tu te sens "grandie" par cette expérience... je travaille dessus aussi depuis un certain temps, me débarrasser de mes 18kgs en trop m'a bizarrement aidé à prendre aussi un recul différent sur l'alimentation, puis la vie... :)
    Ah d'ailleurs j'ai fêté mes 1 an de végétariennne avec un succulent veggie burger avec une galette pois/mais pour remplacer le steack :)

    Faut choisir un profil ... moi toujours aussi douée je ne sais pas ce que doit mettre alors j'ai mis anonymous mais où cas où tu n'ai pas reconnu c'est Clem's ;)

  2. I think what you said about Lent really hit the nail on the head. Yes, it can be good for you to "give something up for lent", it's pointless if you don't find some personal growth in it.

    Lent commemorates Jesus's travail in the dessert that let him come into his divine power and his final realization of who he truly was. Now, the rest of us may not be the direct Son of God, but that doesn't mean that we can't chose to make Lent about the same thing: to come into our own personal power and know ourselves more truly.

    Too many Catholics deny themselves something for 40 days, feeling very noble about themselves, but may ultimately come to it with a sense of obligation or inconvenience. Better I think to do as your suggesting and concentrate on finding a way to grow as person. Whether it's finding a way to better serve the world, coming into a deeper relationship with God or choosing to address a harmful or destructive habit.