March 05, 2014

Prickly

March 3, 2014 Photo (064/365): "Prickly"

"So it is with life. Those thorns, the prickly problems of life, cause us to strive to rise above them and then, as we do, we learn. We learn to exercise true compassion, true kindness - or the thorns, if we let them, cause us to brood, to mourn over our trials. Then we plant the seeds of bitterness, hate, and ruin - weeds. We may reach up for the rose or down to the weeds...." ~ James Michael Pratt

*
I felt prickly this morning as I glared at myself the mirror with a critical eye: I looked and felt vapid. Despite my dull appearance, my nerves were raw. I struggled to maintain my oft-lauded patience as my colleagues complained about technology,  dismissing my suggestions in favor of "old school" solutions. Perhaps it's this incessant winter: day after day of frigid temperatures, slippery roads, the same boots, skirts, scarves, and tights that make up my winter wardrobe....

And then it occurred to me that today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of forty solemn days of self-reflection and self-deprivation. Yet rather than further depriving my already dull spirit, rather than giving up sweets or television, why not give up negative behaviors?  This afternoon, I read an article suggesting 20 Things Worth Giving Up for Lent, twenty things that would ultimately improve my own life and the lives of others, not only for 40 days but forever. It makes so much sense to give up fear of failure, guilt, envy, impatience, resentment, blame, gossip, comparison, doubt, excuses, worry, self-pity -- behaviors that stand in the way of my ability to share my time and talents, to be fully present and productive. So, today, I begin a Lenten commitment to forgo negativity; to "reach up for the rose" rather than getting bogged down in the weeds; to choose faith in God, in the goodness of others, in myself.