Thursday, February 16, 2012

The things you have the hardest time parting with

Snow fields to the horizon

Lent's coming on, and as in previous years, I'm considering a meditative praying and writing practice, to be posted here, and to refocus me spiritually. Again, in previous years, I debated whether adding something to my life--a public writing practice--was actually in the spirit of Lent. Adding something is not giving something up. So I'm debating also giving something up. Something difficult.

One year my sister gave up complaining. I've given up computer games, caffeine, on occasion, and several times all animal products, including eggs and milk, and used a vegan fast as a way to refocus my eating habits. This year the thing I really should give up is television, but I'm not sure I'm brave enough for that one. I'm thinking about sugar, or meat, both of which are traditional sacrifices, but don't seem that difficult.

Dylan said, in the conclusion to the above quote:
Funny, how the things you have the hardest time parting with
Are the things you need the least

Almost certainly true. I saw an interview of Woody Harrelson on George Stroumboulopoulos, a great Canadian talk-show host, and a very perceptive question, especially for a celebrated drug-user, was: What drug did you have the hardest time quitting? Harrelson's answer, after a long, well-considered pause, was: Sugar.

Sometimes I think about how it would feel to be one of those people who gives up sugar, or white flour, or meat, or high-fructose corn syrup--not just for Lent, but forever. Those people irk me when I encounter them in real life, as much as I respect their decision. I hate absolutists--I much prefer balance in all things. But isn't that just another attachment? What need do I have for white flour? For any of it? Wouldn't it be better for me, mentally, spiritually, to let things like that go?

Maybe that's what Lent is for. Seeing how little I need, what things I have the capacity to let go of.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You may not be maintaining this blog; I didn't check. But this post is a good one, on an important problem we all face, and it doesn't trumpet anything. It just faces facts. Thank you for that.