One of my (admittedly few) New Year’s Resolutions was to practice finding rhythms. My chosen way of practicing this was to follow the rhythm of the Church calendar. I come from a tradition that does not really practice the Church calendar, but I’ve been studying it a lot recently and I decided that it would be a good start.
Some background, real quick, if you are also from a tradition that does not follow the Church calendar. The Church calendar is something that has been practiced for centuries. The Church calendar has celebration days that most Christians observe (ex. Easter, Christmas) along with a few other celebration days (ex. Epiphany, various days for the Saints). The Church calendar also has periods of preparation for these Holy days, like Advent and Lent. Advent is the four weeks leading up to Christmas (this is a gross oversimplification of the timing of Advent, a lot more determines it). Lent is the 40 days (technically 47–again, this is an oversimplified explanation) leading up to Easter. During these periods of preparation, the Church is called to practice different things in order to prepare their hearts for the upcoming Holy day.
This year I’m practicing Lent, although I’ve modified some more traditional practices. The idea of Lent is to abstain from some of the decadence of the world to be more fully immersed in the richness of God. This is traditionally practiced by fasting certain foods like meat and dairy. I’m not fasting on food, but I did make the decision to fast on constant noise (goodbye youtube and beloved podcast app). I’m also fasting on eating out for lunch and dinner, unless I’m eating out with a friend because we intentionally made plans. My big goal with that is to slow down and prepare for my week more.
The beauty of fasting for Lent is that it’s paired with feasting. Wherever I’m fasting, I replace it with a feast of some sort. I’m fasting on constant noise, so I’m feasting on silence. That kind of sounds weird, but here’s my actual plan: whenever I would be filling my mind with a podcast or a youtube video, I sit and enjoy the quiet and the time to think. I grab my journal and write, a good habit that I’ve let slip recently. Instead of constant information, I’m allowing myself to think more. I’m fasting on eating out, but I’m feasting in two ways. I’m enjoying trying new recipes and prepping meals for myself. I’m also putting the money I would spend on meals out aside to donate to causes that mean a lot to me, like local charities.
So far I’m really liking following the rhythm of the Church calendar! I enjoy times set apart for different practices, like fasting and feasting. I enjoy the schedule of it, and the idea that practicing this year after year would make these practices a routine. Knowing that these practices only last for certain amounts of time also helps with my follow-through. However, I’m interested in learning about/practicing other rhythms as well! The goal is not to just practice the rhythms of the Church calendar, but to find sustaining rhythms overall to help me balance the chaos of school and work and fun. If you have any ideas for other rhythms to practice, let me know!
P.S. This is a quick return after a long hiatus. I’m practicing carving out time to write things I’m passionate about, but I have to write and read a lot for school so I’m not great at this. Luckily, the papers I write for school are on things I’m passionate about as well. Either way, expect to see more of me popping up (maybe?).