I am not Catholic or even remotely religious, but occasionally I decide that I should give up something for Lent. I’ve gone without sodas and candy and swearing. Soda and candy were really not that difficult for me to go with out for 40 days, but swearing, damn, that one was tough. This year I spent a lot of time thinking of things to give up for Lent. I wanted it to be something meaningful and important. I thought about wearing the Complaint Free bracelet for 40 days or giving up self sabotage (Beastie Boys now rapping in my head). Wednesday I was still undecided and figured I’d just skip it again this year. But then I thought “why give up something?” What if I added something to my life every day for 40 days? I came up with two things.

The first one was inspired by my friend Jeff. The other day he was standing at my desk and we were talking and he said something to me just as my squirrel brain started thinking about these yoga pants I wanted to buy. I didn’t hear a word of what he said and he knew it because he looked at me and said “you didn’t hear a word of what I just said, did you?”. And I felt bad. Like really bad. This is not the first time for this to happen. In fact, I’m pretty sure I do it A LOT. That’s just yucky. So for the next 40 days, I’m adding being an active listener to my list of things that I do. I’ve already messed up on this once at lunch yesterday. I heard “Kim Kardashian” before I was totally distracted by a plane flying by and went all Tatoo on everyone. Active listening is hard.

The second thing for Lent is to set aside at least 30 minutes every day for some creative journaling. Way back when, I was a creative person. I could draw and blend colors. I could form complete sentences for that matter. These days, not so much. I’ve lost my creative mojo, but I recognize that creativity is a practice just like playing the piano or yoga. I have a fresh notebook and a brand new carton of colored pencils and I need to use them. There may be days when all I do is draw crazy random doodles all over a page but that’s still better than just staring a blank white page (or screen…been doing quite a bit of that lately).

So, this Friday, I am thankful for Lent. I am thankful for the time of reflection and awareness that has kind of been missing in my daily life these days. I am thankful for a lunch date that I had with a new friend this week. I am thankful for friends who will eat seafood jambalaya and make King Cakes. I am thankful for a full week and the full weekend to come. And of course, I am thankful for you.

Here’s to a lovely weekend and a very Thankful Friday!