When I started this Lenten series 4 weeks ago, I decided on a key word for each week:
Week 4: CLEANSE
Week 5: JUSTICE
Week 6: COMMITMENT
Week 7: TRANSFORMATION
Up until this week, the focus for each week has just made sense. I’ve felt connected to it and just let my thoughts around it unfold through my experience in the cathedral. This week, however… not. so. much.
I have no idea where or why I came up with the word cleanse for my focus this week. I don’t remember at all what sparked me to think about that word. I mean, yes, I get how cleansing is connected to traditional Lenten stuff. But, I’m not doing (nor do I want to do) traditional Lenten stuff. For me, cleanse feels a bit harsh. Old school. Box-y. Like I need to purge + cleansE myself of my sins. And that kind of talk is a big turn off for me.
Yet, cleanse is the word for this week. There has to be a reason…
Still, as usual, I went to the cathedral, with my regular amount of excitement and anticipation of spending my lunch hour there, and I trusted that my focus would come into focus. It didn’t. So, I wandered. I sat. I meditated. I took photos. I explored. I had a calming, slow, fantastic experience. But, it had nothing at all to do with cleansing. At least, I didn’t see or feel any connection.
Cleaning rituals connected to death? No… that’s didn’t feel right.
And here it is now… the weekend. And as I began this post, I still didn’t really know how to think about or pull together my thoughts this week. I cannot connect anything to the cathedral, or my experience there this week. But, actually that’s not my focus is it? That’s just the space where I can be still.
My focus during Lent is actually about going into the wild… exploring + discovering + listening to the wilderness of my soul.
This morning, though, still not feeling where to go with this, I googled “cleansing ritual lent”. I just knew that some conservative christian shit would show up. And it did. But, listed with all of those hits, I also saw some pagan cleansing rituals. Possible things to explore. And then, I saw a link to a post about a spiritual cleanse during Lent. With all of these things combined, I suddenly felt the inspiration. I got the kick that I needed to get this post done.
So, spring cleaning. Spiritual spring cleaning. That’s what we’re gonna do.
And it really is perfect timing for this. Of course, this past week we had the spring equinox in the northern hemisphere. We also have a new moon coming up on Monday. The idea of cleansing our spirits + souls could not have come at a better time… right between these two powerful new beginning moments that Mother Nature gives us. (Don’t you just love how magic + inspiration just appear + flow at just the right time?!).
Going into the wild this week, we are gonna spring clean our spirit.
I actually think that this is an important thing to do. It’s got the same effect as spring cleaning our homes. We rid ourselves of the old, negative things in order to prepare for a fresh, new start. It is a transitional time of honesty, optimism, and hope. So, to help us mark that transition, I’ve got a few suggestions of ways that we can slow down + prepare our inner souls (through physical acts) to help us move into this new season of life.
Focusing on our spirit, through physical acts + rituals, we are actually sowing the seeds of change, of our natural intentions + desire.
So, taking time to cleanse ourselves this weekend is the perfect time to reconnect with our soul. Time to honestly look at where we are, how we live, what we feel, and how we want to move forward. And time to engage in some simple little rituals that give us a concrete way of acknowledging this time of the year, this moment in our lives, this turn from winter to spring, from hibernation to wakefulness, from dreams to creating our reality.
In reality, as the earth wakes from her winter slumber, we, too, are ready to wake from within. It is time for us to follow Mother Earth, to follow the example of Jesus, and to mark this moment of transition.
We have accepted, grounded, and listened to the silence in the first 3 weeks of Lent. We have focused on our inner souls. We have turned inward. But, now, we are in the belly of Lent, so to speak. The halfway mark. And this week, we pause to acknowledge this moment. Then, after this week, we begin to move outward.
But, first, here are a few things to do this week, if you want to mark this cleansing moment before we move forward. I’m suggesting that we use a few everyday rituals that we, no doubt, do often in our lives. The key to making them a bit more special, to making them a way to spiritually clean our souls, is simply our awareness. The willingness to mindfully engage our spirits as we do regular, everyday tasks.
Take a shower, my friends. Not a bath, a shower. Why? Well, showers best mimic waterfalls. Stay with me. As you clean yourself, give thanks for your body. For all of its quirks and amazing resilience. Bath yourself with the feeling of acceptance + gratitude that this body you have is the vehicle that your soul, your spirit, uses in this world to experience, love, share, and live your purpose.
Clean your body from head to toe. After cleaning your body, just stand there. Let the water fall.
If you are conscious of water usage, allow yourself a short, but dedicated time to just stand. This one time that you indulge in feeling gratitude for the water + your body will not hurt the world. The mindfulness of your water usage is noted and appreciated. Stand beneath the water and do nothing. Just let it clean you. Let it be a symbol of rebirth, of new life.
If you can (and want to), after your shower, let yourself air dry. While drying, light a candle and simply sit. Meditate. Listen to music. When you are dry, the ritual is complete.
TIP: You may want to even consider committing to buying only vegan, environmentally friendly, cruelty free products from now on as a way to cleanse your body. That’s a goal that Lina + I have. We’re slowly making the transition to using only vegan, homemade, local beauty products. Our haircare routine begins with Maria Nila shampoo + conditioner (kinda pricey, locally Swedish vegan company).
// Clean home, clean spirit
My wife is a lover of a clean home. And she is definitely a believer in the power of cleaning one’s home. Not only does it actually, literally clean a home, it also is a process of cleaning one’s mind and spirit. And there is such a sense of accomplishment in seeing something literally transform. That’s what we believe, at least.
The beginning of spring and during the phase of a new moon is a perfect time to clean out, organize, and refresh. It doesn’t matter what you do or how you do it. Simply taking part in the act of purging old stuff, getting rid of the dirt, organizing and minimizing is what is important.
Take some time to decide what it is that you want to clean. Your floors, windows, bathroom. Your desk space. Your kitchen. Your closet. Under your bed.
Don’t take on the biggest task ever. Make this more about the process and the mindfulness rather than the result.
Enjoy the cleaning + organizing for once. Do it slowly and intentionally. And then, when you are finished, sit back and admire the result. Give thanks for the ritual. And consider how this process helps to propel you forward. How you have made space for even more creativity and positivity in your life.
// Play with the dirt
There can even be cleansing in dirt. This is a very special time of the year… a time when things are just beginning to pop up from the ground, beginning to bud on the trees, and waking from their winter slumber. Be a part of the transition. Literally touch the new life that is forming around you. Don’t just observe, get involved.
If you have indoor plants or a balcony or a garden, get down + get your hands dirty. Clean out the plants that you have. Take away the dead leaves, prune, sculpt, water, re-arrange, re-plant. Prepare those living things that you already have for the coming season. You may even want to visit a local nursery or greenhouse to get some seedlings or plants or flowers to pot.
The point is… get close to nature.
Honestly, I am not that green thumb-y. I don’t enjoy gardening, but I love nature. I really love touching the buds on the trees as I walk by. Or setting my bare feet on the ground to feel the earth thawing. We do have a few plants inside… mostly succulents and cacti, so it is easy for me to go around and care for them. Water them, spritz them, clean out the dead leaves, and rearrange them so they find new homes in my home.
For me, this ritual is a chance to actively take part, in a very concrete way, of what’s happening in the world around me.
Inward: As I said before, we are now halfway through the Lenten season. Only 3 more Wednesdays to go. We have traveled inward, to the wilderness that is within ourselves during the first 3 posts. We have connected with our soul, contemplated silence, and grounded ourselves in who we are as unique, gifted individuals. Filled with a spark of the divine within.
The center: With this 4th post, we find ourselves in the middle. At the center. Poised to pause and take a moment to soak it all in. I hope that, as we have gathered, through this post, into the center of our journey into the wild, that you have found something to inspire you to pause and to take just a little bit of time to cleanse your spirit in whatever way speaks to you (of course it can be whatever you feel connected to). This moment is the moment of simply being present with the divine. And of marking that amazing presence of spirit in everyday life through ritual. This is the time of awareness + preparation…
Outward: Because soon, we will make the turn and head out. We will begin to focus on our place in the wilderness of this world. We will move out into the wild, wild place we call home. We will consider who we are, what our purpose is, and how we have our own personal legends meant to be discovered + lived. And we will walk into the wild, knowing that each one of us can make a difference because of the unique, yet connected, individuals that we are. Starting next week, it is time to build community.
Wild + free-spirited blessings to you all, as we continue our journey.