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Lenten Devotion - day 18

I realize I didn’t write yesterday. It was my day off, and sometimes I try to do nothing, just to be, when it is my day off. I remember Rumi once writing about how if we ever find ourselves alone it is a gift from God, because now we get to spend time with God. I also realize that these little letters are a simple thing, but have made a big difference in my Lenten journey.

This got me thinking about the importance of self-care and how it too, can come in small and seemingly insignificant gestures.

In many spiritual traditions, there is a deep understanding of the need for self-care. In Christianity we are currently in the season of Lent (and why I am writing these letters), a time when we are called to reflect on our lives and take steps to nurture our relationship with God. This often involves practices like prayer, fasting, and acts of service (which we’ve certainly discussed). However, it can also involve smaller acts of self-care, like taking time to rest, engaging in hobbies or activities that bring us joy, or simply allowing ourselves to feel our emotions.

In Buddhism, there is a similar emphasis on self-care, with practices like meditation and mindfulness helping to cultivate self-awareness and compassion for oneself. In Hinduism, the concept of "ahimsa," or non-violence, extends not only to others but also to oneself. This means avoiding self-criticism, self-judgment, and other negative self-talk.

It's easy to think of self-care as a luxury or a selfish indulgence. However, as these spiritual traditions show us, it is actually a fundamental aspect of our well-being and our ability to show up fully in the world. When we neglect our own needs, we become depleted and unable to give to others in the way that we desire.

As we continue through Lent and reflect on our own lives, I invite you to consider the small acts of self-care that you can incorporate into your daily routine. Maybe it's taking a few minutes each day to meditate or pray, or taking a walk outside to connect with nature. Perhaps it's setting aside time for a creative pursuit or simply taking a nap when you need it.

Remember, self-care is not selfish. It is an act of kindness and compassion towards ourselves that allows us to better serve others and live more fully in the world. And just like the simplicity of these letters, these small acts can make a big difference.

Wishing you a peaceful and rejuvenating Lenten season,