There’s a good chance I’ll be on a plane as you’re reading this. My husband and I are on our way to enjoy a vacation, a real vacation with hotels, nice restaurants, and fun things to do, outdoors and in.
The beginning of Lent is the perfect time for me to embark on a trip, the perfect time for me to release the limitation and smallness of the last two years.
I’ll admit to some ambivalence about traveling as we were planning our trip. I wondered if we should even go. Where would we be with the pandemic? Was it even worth the risk?
This apprehension took me back to the earliest days of the pandemic. I remember how I stayed home day after day and felt cramped and restless. Suddenly, my house felt so small. All I could think about was how much I missed all of the things I used to do. I was preoccupied with thoughts of restriction, longing to go out, see people, and do things.
Now, after two years, restriction has become the life I know. My husband and I rarely go out, and when we do it’s only after carefully considering whether the venture is worth the risk of Covid exposure. I’ve grown accustomed to a small, limited life.
But life isn’t meant to be small, and we are not meant to live limited lives.
Limitation Creeps in
I suspect my reaction to the pandemic is a good example of what happens to most of us at one time or another.
Limiting beliefs often begin as reasonable reactions to life’s more unpleasant developments. The justifiable resentment, the snap judgment, the fearful reaction all might have made perfect sense in the moment.
Lent is an opportunity, an invitation to find the small, the closed, the limiting, and release them mindfully and with intention.
But over time, even as the specifics of the memory fade, the feeling settles, sinks its roots into our minds, and slowly grows. It becomes easier to identify more and more with our problems and less and less with our potential.
I invite you to apply this awareness to your life. Even if you’re not consciously aware of your beliefs, you’ll find evidence of them in what your life is showing you. Do you feel joyful and optimistic? Do you greet the day with positive expectancy or with boredom or dread? Do you feel grateful for the blessings in your life and eagerly await more blessings to come or do you lament what you’re lacking and worry about running out or not having enough?
In my case, my reaction to a global pandemic sent me to my house and limited my travels. But gradually, I let it limit me as the months passed and I started to shrink from life, from connection, from adventure.
An Opportunity to Grow
Lent is an opportunity, an invitation to find the small, the closed, the limiting, and release them mindfully and with intention, creating space for renewal as the expansive, the unlimited, the divine begin to flourish and lead us back to ourselves.
That’s why Lent is such a powerful time. A Lenten practice can be a way to discover and transform limiting belief, to live from spiritual freedom instead of human limitation.
Without realizing it, I lulled myself into the idea that life is meant to be dull and repetitive. The timing of my vacation with the beginning of Lent is coincidental; nonetheless, I am going to be mindful of what I’m releasing as I find my renewal having fun, doing new things in a place I’ve never been.
The time has come to leave limitation behind. I’m ready for exploration, fun, and an unlimited, expansive view—outside and in.