On Wednesday, I attended an Ash Wednesday service at our church. After the service, I attempted to lead fifteen or so 6th grade students through the symbols, meanings, and subsequent actions. It went as well as you can imagine.
If it had been more successful, they would have learned about the concept of mourning, the symbols of sackcloth and ashes, and how observing such a tradition can help them grow as humans in time. Maybe we can learn something together to assuage my efforts to teach holistic health and wellness through meaningful symbols. If you don’t mind, at least just sit still for a few minutes for me while I share. Thanks you so much.
Mourning and Grief
Mourning and grief share the same function. They succor healing. They provide a vehicle through which pain and suffering transform into meaning and purpose. Practice mourning pain of loss; lost ideals, transitions in life, the loss of loved ones, unfulfilled dreams, and the like. In doing so, find purpose, growth, strength, and meaning. For more on grief, read this past blog.
The Perfect Time
Forty days serves as the period of Lent. Forty day in scripture represents the perfect time, not necessarily literal days, years, nights, or other units of time. It represents the perfect time. The perfect amount of time to wander. The perfect amount of time to mourn. The perfect time to fast. The perfect time to prepare for something significant.
Interestingly, some research indicates it requires six weeks to develop a new habit; roughly 40 days. The perfect amount of time to change. The perfect amount of time to discover. The perfect amount of time to remove a bad habit and replace it with one that promotes growth. After 3 to 6 months of practice, thought and behavior improve. In 6 months to a year, the enzymatic changes occur in your brain in order for the habit to become conditioned.
Move Toward Holistic Healing and Strength
It is interesting to me that a meaningful act of spiritual worship can be so closely tied to emotional and mental wellness. Don’t you think? We call that holistic wellness. Give it a try. Seriously. Right now. Stop and think of something in your life that is detrimental to your holistic health and growth. It can be something you do. It can be something you think. Now think of something positive you can do that stimulates brain growth; gratitude, deep breathing, laughing, optimism, meditation, exercise, intellectual stimulation, diet, and the like.
For the next 40 days (or 6 weeks), replace the detrimental activity with the positive one. Allow it to become a habit. In 3 to 6 months, see if you feel better.
Go on. I dare you. Give it a try.
Even if you are a 6th grade who can’t sit still for more than two minutes.