The Lentening. Forgiveness. Release. Letting Go.
I’m not Catholic, but I’ve heard of Lent all my life, or at least as long as I can remember anyway. On Ash Wednesday you start seeing people with those black “smudges” on their foreheads. It makes you want to reach up and wipe it off, if you know the person, or point it out if you don’t. Then you realize it’s Ash Wednesday. Ash Wednesday is the beginning of Lent. I always thought it was when Catholics gave up something they loved for forty days. I always heard people talk of giving up chocolate or alcohol, then they eat fish on Fridays. Yup, turns out that’s not exactly it. This is not a religious post, so I’ll let you look up the real rules of Lent.
I didn’t need to give up something for forty days, that’s what January 1 is for, plus there’s that part where I’m not Catholic, and the cult of me doesn’t participate in Lent.
There was a post online where the challenge was to give away one thing a day for forty days, #40in40. It sounded like a great opportunity to let go of some things, declutter a bit, so I took up the challenge and I’ve really been enjoying myself.
My search began. I started to look around the house for things I no longer used, things I no longer needed, and planned to give them away. It was like a treasure hunt. I was a detective. I’m part of a group on FB called, Buy Nothing, so I put the items up for gifting and waited as my neighbors reached out to request the items.
I always try to have a theme for each month of the year, something to focus on, and for the month of March 2020 my themes are forgiveness and release. The 40 in 40 was a great way to do a release, if not a forgiving of myself for accumulating a bunch of things I didn’t truly need, and allowing myself to move them forward to places where they could possibly be used more. I called it, The Lentening and I decided to give away forty items, not necessarily in forty days. I put the items up for gifting as soon as I gathered them. I also didn’t exactly start on Ash Wednesday anyway.
It felt like an adventure to look through the house and discover what I didn’t need, knowing I had an opportunity to give it away, a myriad of items from a variety of categories gone. I gave away the extra stock pot and the green cutting board I no longer used. My shelves already looked more spacious with the removal of those two items. I gave away the garlic press sitting at the back of the kitchen drawer. I’m the garlic queen. I put it in almost everything I cook, but I chop. I squish with a knife, but I don’t press. Garlic press gone, space freed. I breathe easier.
There were a few things I threw away as well. This is a freeing experience remember? A pair of black boots that were beyond repair. I just loved the style. Was I keeping them so I wouldn’t forget the style? I don’t know. I mean I loved them. They were my black go-go boots. Every time I opened the closet, reached up to grab the other black boots, I stared at my go-go boots longingly. I could walk for miles in those things and be comfortable. It’s probably what accounted for their bad condition. Did I mention I loved those things? I will buy some more just like them, actually that was my second pair. There will be a third. The style is timeless, but trends come and go, and that’s not where fashion is right now. They’ll be back and I’ll wait.
Many of the items had stories to them, a reminder of a past that I might have wanted to forget. I had had the blowdryer since high school. I was always terrible at blowdrying my hair. Straw anybody? I found ways around it. I stopped blowdrying a very long time ago. The shower curtain was an impulse purchase of excess. I wanted something bright and colorful to change the look of my bathroom and I had had the previous shower curtain for more than ten years. It was one of those moments where my old shower curtain had to go NOW. It wasn’t even what I really wanted, but it was different, so I bought it. It made my bathroom feel like a spa, but not in a good way. It was in that, this is a generic spa environment kind of way. Blah, just blah. Several months later when I found something really cute to spruce up the bathroom, I bought that one and stored the spa shower curtain. Perhaps it would go in my second bathroom I reasoned, the one that I’m going to have eventually I told myself. The shower curtain had to go.
The flow-y and flowery golden skirt was part of one of the outfits I bought for the fourth of July last year. I chose not to wear it. It looked more like an autumn skirt anyway. I eventually wore it and HATED it. Did I mention that I never tried it on in the store? The size was fine, but it just felt so heavy. I prefer clothing that caresses and feels lighter on the skin, like a teeshirt material or a light knit. What was I thinking? I got caught up, whatever that means.
I let go of the jean jacket for the same reason. It was super cute but just too darn heavy. It was an old school mens Levi jacket that had been tapered in the sleeves and waist for a woman’s body. Generally, I don’t care where the items go, but this one went to someone I knew and I was pleased. She looked really cute in it too!
Kitchen items, books, kids toys, mini electronics, appliances, art and art making materials, stationery, and clothing. The list and the the variety was great and boy did I have fun doing it. I met lots of new people who were very kind, and I was able to make some physical space in my home and probably in my spirit. I felt lighter as I looked around my home and saw all the empty spaces. I even felt like I could breathe easier, especially after I dusted.
My Lentening has come to a close, and well before Easter. Once I started I didn’t want to stop, so I gave away several items at a time. It was a very freeing experience to let go of things and share them with others. It gave me an opportunity to pare down what I have, while taking a look at who I’ve become, and releasing the things that represented the old identity, while it created new space to invite new roles, new ways of being. I’m making it a point to let go of something should I decide to bring anything new into my home. Care to join me in my Lentening? What do you need to let go of? I could probably do a whole Lentening with my email accounts..