Happy Fat Tuesday! Today I will celebrate and enjoy this tradition in my own little way before Lent begins tomorrow. I have been asked, as I'm sure you have as well, what I am doing or giving up for Lent. Well, I have decided to go somewhere.
Last October, I was inspired by someone to set an intention for that month to encourage mindful living. I enjoyed it so much that I made a decision to continue this practice, and have since set different monthly intentions which have helped me live with more awareness to support my entire being in wellness. After all, I have a mind to feed, a soul to nourish, a heart to yield to, a spirit to minister to, and a body that craves to operate wholly and completely. With Lent falling in February and March, it makes perfect sense to combine my monthly and Lenten intentions into one. This Lent, I am going to my thin places. I like to read spiritual works from saints, theologians, scholars, lay ministries from different Christian faiths and scripture. Spiritual reading is one way to enhance my relationship with God, a relationship that is important to me and one that feeds me the wisdom to live more authentically. This is one of my thin places.
So what is a thin place? From a spirituality retreat I attended a few years ago, a thin place comes from Celtic Spirituality and is a special place where God seems very real and present to us; a place where the distance between Heaven and Earth grow nearer. A thin place for me is when I am somewhere or with someone and there is no separation of the tangible world I live in and the spiritual world I cannot see. Rather than these worlds being divided by some sort of barrier, they spill over a dividing line and mesh into one. They are unique spaces or experiences where I feel a great sense of peace, joy, love, acceptance, mystery, awe, beauty and authenticity. I see now, a thin space was Divinely created as my monthly and Lenten intentions merged together.
In the book, The Woman Who Named God: Abrahams' Dilemma and the Birth of Three Faiths by Charlotte Gordon, she writes, The literal translation of God's first words, lekh lekha, is "go yourself," and one ancient interpretation suggests that this means "go forth to find your authentic self to learn who you are meant to be." I love this interpretation because for one, I have experienced that I find my authentic self, piece by piece, in my thin places. Also, what fitting words to read as Lent is a time for a personal journey to move away from the material world. Spiritual reading strengthens my faith, encourages me to keep learning, and never fails to gently push me toward prayer, the spirit of giving, and practice to restrain from participating in nonsense. It invites me into Lent with an ease that gets me from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday without giving up. It creates a space where two worlds speak as one; a space that reminds me His presence is living through the lives and beauty around me.
Lekh lekha, "go yourself." What simple and soft words to hear as the journey of Lent is about to begin. Whether you too go to your thin places or practice something else, I hope you find a piece of your authentic self and come an inch closer to knowing who you were created to be.