Okay, here's the deal that I outlined in my previous post. I confess I've already begun trying to interpret these to my advantage. At dinner, I asked Spence if I had to give up my nightly ice cream this week or next -- since we already have it at home and I wouldn't technically be buying it. He just smiled. Anyone care to weigh in on that one?
Fasts begin Monday and end Saturday. Sundays are feast days. Either do each fast for only that week, or let them build on each other so at the end of Lent you are doing all five at the same time.
Week One: Sweets, Treats and Self Indulgence
This week, resolve to spend nothing on yourself but what is absolutely necessary. Buy no new clothes or gadgets, books or music, don’t go to the movies or buy coffee or candy. Eat cheaply, save money (or give what you would have spent on coffee, treats, entertainment for the week someone in need). Keep journal entries of what happens when you deny yourself something you’ve become accustomed to or something you really want. How does it affect you? Why?
Week Two: Food/Meals
Pick either a type of food (like meat or carbs or even “solids”) and fast from them for the week. Or alternately, pick a meal (like breakfast or lunch) to skip on a daily basis. Keep journal entries of what it’s like to go hungry, even if it’s just for one meal. What is it like to begin to assert some mastery over your body these past two weeks? How does your body/mind respond to that? If you forgo a whole category of food, consider: What is it like to deny a craving? Is it easy or hard. How does that craving grow the more you deny it? Does it eventually become easier? Why?
Week Three: Television/Music/Media
Forgo the usual shows. In fact, turn off the TV altogether. Drive without the radio. Leave the iPod at home. What is it like to increase the silence/decrease the media inputs into your life? Do you miss it? Does it make you anxious? Relaxed? Something else? What does your reaction to this fast tell you about your connectedness to media? Keep journal entries of what silence does for you, what missing certain shows/events means.
Week Four: Social Media and Internet
Turn off Twitter, Facebook, blogs, news — check and answer work emails and nothing else. Put a Lent “Out of Office” reply on your personal email letting people know you’ll get back to them next week. Keep journal entries of what it’s like to unplug and disconnect — to not obsessively check email/ Facebook, etc. Do you feel disconnected...or free?
Week Five: Time
Go out of your way for others this week. Fast from indulging yourself time-wise. Get up a half hour or an hour earlier. Make it a goal bless someone else through your words or actions daily. Once or twice, to give someone else the gift of your listening ear — resist the urge to share your troubles and instead focus on someone else and helping to share theirs. Commit this week to doing something for someone else — help a friend move or paint, serve the poor, stop and help a stranger even if (especially if) you are in a hurry to get somewhere. Keep journal entries of what it’s like to spend your time on others.