It will be three years this week since I started my blog. To say that I’ve been somewhat erratic about writing posts during that time is an understatement, but some of the most interesting conversations I’ve had with readers have been during Lent and I thought it would be fun to start a new series of posts this Wednesday.
Rather than giving up things like chocolate and cake, I am a great believer in taking something up for Lent (although I’d like to point out that I haven’t had a drop of alcohol all year so far and hope to continue this at least until Easter!). In the past I have made it a spiritual discipline during Lent to take a photo every day and then reflect on it in a blog post. This year I would like to try something new and I hope that some of you might be able to join me which is why I’m giving you a few days warning so you can prepare if you want to come play…
A couple of years ago I read an idea on the internet which I decided to try (I’m sorry that I can’t give credit where credit’s due as I can’t remember where I read it). It involved writing on lots of slips of paper, or post-it notes, a whole range of ideas, situations, personal characteristics and interests which are exciting and relevant for you. They might include various hobbies, environments you enjoy being in, groups of people you like spending time with and aspects of your character that you feel are positive, distinctive, or latent and ready to be developed. After writing out the slips, you take a few out of the pile at random, looking at different possible combinations of ideas, and see what new thoughts and suggestions are sparked by them. Although the version I read focused on coming up with business ideas that would suit you, you could also do this to intuitively come up with new ideas for creative pastimes, possible new careers, or enlivening approaches to your spiritual journey.
Being a bit of an artsy soul, I did not find this exercise beautiful enough and have decided this Lent to come up with a version which is more appealing than a pile of rough-cut pieces of paper. I have found an old pack of playing cards (I think they’re from the 1930’s) and I am going to decorate a card every day of Lent using paint, collage and text, each card expressing a different aspect of what I hanker after or carry as an individual. By the end of Lent I will have created 40 cards which each represent something important to, or about, me and my spiritual journey. I will then use them to come up with creative ideas which are deeply relevant to the particular person I am and the journey I am on. My hope is that some of you might also take part and create a personal resource which feels strongly yours and reflects back to you what you need to prioritise in your spiritual life day by day.
If you want to join in and can find a pretty pack of playing cards, that’s great, but it would also work to use some blank postcards, a pile of photos you no longer feel attached to, or some pages from an old book. I intend to use old magazines and books, acrylic paint, ink pencils and gesso to obscure all those clubs and diamonds, but feel free to choose any media you feel drawn to.
I don’t intend to write long posts about each card, but will post a photo of each one and a short reflection on it (not necessarily every day – some days there might be two or three, others none). At the end of Lent, I hope to write a few posts exploring ways of using the cards you have made. If taking on a project like this feels too much for you, do have a go at the slips of paper version sometime – I think you are likely to come up with thoughts and ideas that haven’t crossed your mind before and which help you to find a positive, relevant, unique new direction.