Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Mardi Gras Thoughts

Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday; the start of the season of Lent.  Although I love my Catholic faith, I can't say I particularly love the institutional church - as in Rome.  I do love the church seasons though, the rhythm of it and the mindfulness of it.  During Lent I try to find something to work on in my relationship to others.   There are lots of rocks strewn around in my mind and heart with bad habits hiding underneath.  So, for Lent I pick up a few rocks and peer underneath.  Some are too difficult to tackle or I'm just not ready.  Sometimes it's reaching out to someone specific who I've hurt, sometimes it's more general. 

Lent was much easier when I just gave up food.  ...except for the year I gave up coffee...

This year, I'm going to tackle a biggish thing.  The sharp rocks of criticism.  I'm not expecting this to be easy and I'm not expecting to be wildly successful.  Measurable improvement would be good.  When a judgmental thought pops into my mind, I'm going to try and banish it.  Notice it, and then dismiss it.  This means no criticism of the other people driving up and down our mountain who don't always exercise good judgement, no criticism of Brett ("how many cokes have you had today??"), and no criticism of my co-workers (one in particular). 

I'm also going to try not to be critical of myself.  And when I mess up and let out a judgmental comment (I'm starting with spoken, maybe someday I'll train my brain), I'll reset the clock and start again.  Without beating myself up. 

I'm defining critical in the non-constructive sense.  In the "you're a ding-dong" sense.  I will continue to be critical of my riding and strive for improvement.  I won't be a doormat, but I'm not going to be judgemental or mean. 

Make sense?


  1. I think this is an excellent idea. I love the way that you word it--that there are bad habits hiding under the little rocks in our minds. It's often what we don't want to face, that we need to work on the most, isn't it?

  2. Critical is too harsh of a word for your riding. You ride very, very well, and good too. Maybe you should be more 1) demanding, 2)disapproving, 3)hairsplitting, or my favorite, 4)penetrating, in regards to your riding. If you're too "critical", Jackson will feel like he is letting you down. I'm enjoying "fat Tuesday".

  3. That sounds like an excellent idea! I'm not Catholic so I've never had to give up anything... but I've always thought about it... that's a start right... LOL

  4. The word verification for this post is "flutt." I think that's a good word to use on this post. Rather than think critical, judgmental thoughts, I'm going to think "Flutt." ;o) Of course I'd have to be careful SAYING the word (because it might sound like a bad "f" word ;o), but I've found that substituting one bad thing for something that makes no sense gives me pause (because I need to stop and think ;o) AND makes it fun to avoid the bad behavior.

    Wouldn't work if I had to give up coffee, though.

    MY goal (though I'm not Catholic, I do give up things during Lent) is to clean up my language. I used to teach in an inner city high school in the central valley of California, and not only did I hear most of the words, I became as adept at using them as most of my students. (I didn't use them when dealing with the students--I was supposed to be a positive role model--but I was quite creative with them).

    I am hoping I can develop a new habit between now and Easter that means I can find something OTHER than a swear word (or a string of them) to express my frustration when things aren't going well.

    Will I fail? Perish the flutt.

  5. Great idea. I decided a while ago to try to end negative thinking, with limited success. Maybe time to renew my commitment :)
    Good luck.


Thanks so much for commenting! I love the conversation.