Today was Ash Wednesday, or the start of the Lenten Season for Christians around the world. During Lent, Christians go through a purification process for 40’ish days or so as they prepare for the upcoming Easter Season. Let me not digress too much (I’m not exactly a theologian) – during the Lenten Season, Christians go through a self-reflection phase with the intent of becoming renewed in mind, body and soul. If you ask me…that sounds like a lifetime process…40’ish days or so seems to be cutting it close.
Growing up as a young Catholic, Lent meant giving up meats on Fridays, and really looking for something to give up for those forty days…TV, video games, soda, whatever. It was a sacrificial penance of sorts. I’ll be honest, as I’ve grown older, I’ve practically forgotten about Lent altogether. Today was different…today I actually had the opportunity to attend Ash Wednesday mass at work (during my all too short lunch break), and it felt good to engage once again in a ritual that had been part of my life for so many years and that because of life, I had let fall to the wayside.
Disclaimer: I am far from being a model Catholic or Christian for that matter…so this is not going to be that kind of Lenten post. Sorry.
The fact that I did partake in an Ash Wednesday celebration did spark some reflection of how I can try to live or incorporate Lent into my current lifestyle. As for me personally, I’m going to abstain from eating meat on Fridays during this season. Baby steps…because it’s been a while.
Afterward I began to think about ways that we could incorporate the spirit of Lent – that spirit of self-reflection, sacrifice, and renewal into our workplaces – at least the next forty days or so. Here are four suggestions for bringing the Lenten spirit to work:
1) Let’s sacrifice those useless and time-wasting conference calls and let people focus on actual work.
2) How about we curtail some of our self-indulgence of the spotlight at work and look for ways to help our team members shine for a change.
3) Operating out of comfort zones always can definitely feel like a penance to anyone. Let’s look for constructive avenues that lie outside of our comfort zones and engage in them more often (i.e. open communication with others) throughout this season.
4) Fasting doesn’t always have to mean giving up some type of food. We should all make a commitment to fast from some of the recurring negative behaviors (i.e. bullying, harassment, etc.) that may abound in our workplaces.
So, how are you celebrating Lent this year?