Ashes, Ashes. (Day 61, Year 2)

Well, here it is the end of Ash Wednesday and I don't have any ashes. It just was not in the cards today. Mike offered to rub some soot on my forehead. (I am not sure where he would get this.) And Chloe suggested she take a Sharpie to my head. 

Neither of these suggestions were helpful. 

Frankly, I feel like a bit of a Lenten failure already. In fact, feeling like a failure is the theme of 2022 for me! I know I am not a failure. But this nagging sense that I messing up things won't go away. It's really annoying and distracting. As a result, I am spending a lot of mental time thinking about my failures and not actually trying to succeed. Of course, success requires focus and time; but my focus and time is spent obsessing over my failures. It is a cycle of madness and narcissism. 

Which leads me to my Lenten practice! This Lent I am going to give up one thing and add in another. It is hopefully a zero sum situation when it comes to my time; but hopefully leads to a major PROFIT in my inner spiritual life. All this self obsession and negative failure thinking really separates me from God. 

So for Lent, my daily practice will be to replace my negative, failure driven self talk with prayer. And that prayer, will include praying for my enemies. 

As you can imagine, I have loads of enemies (my inner voice is enemy #1, as is that annoying cross guard who always waves to me when I am going 26 mph instead of 25mph. She is like a human radar detector. God bless her.). 

My hope is that by removing the focus from myself and trying to focus on others, I will maybe be less of a self-obsessed, whiner and perhaps have more mental clarity, a more open heart and be less judgmental. Every time I begin to think about what a loser I am, I am going to pray for someone else. 

I've never been successful at Lent before; but I hope this year is different and feels different when it all wraps up. 

I mentioned my "praying for my enemies" plan to a Catholic friend and she said it was a good one, as long as I meant my prayers. This is a valid point because I really do not wish God blesses the crossing guard. I do hope she is not hated by everyone, as I suspect she is and I also hope she stays safe, because well she often just seems to step in the road without looking both ways, causing people to slam on the breaks and curse, so I will pray that she develops self control and isn't hit by a car. 

Baby steps, right?