A Time for Reflection

Planets and the sun

Yesterday, Ash Wednesday kicked off the forty days of Lent. For those who follow church time, Lent is traditionally a period to clear out the excess that clutters our days to make room for the new life that will come with Easter. It is true that the new will have a hard time finding a spot to settle in with us if all the available real estate is taken.

Without a doubt, our lives get cluttered. Objects, behaviours, ideas, activities – you name it – somehow, these things start to take up way more time, energy and space that we ever thought they would. In the best sense, Lent can be the broom that sweeps clear and helps us get back to the basics. Lent can be a time when we hone in on what really matters to us and how we might find our way to doing what we can to enact change.

Peace Crane Project, Lindale park Gardens, Minneapolis MN

Here is a list of ways to make change this Lent (by no means exhaustive and only meant to prime the pump of your own imagination):

  • Spend at least an hour outdoors every day for the next forty days – fresh air and glimpses of nature (even in the city these do abound!) are restorative.
  • Look into a micro-lending agency like Kiva. Giving a hand up is a great way to make change.
  • Resolve to grow something – anything will do. Start some seeds. Nurture a house plant. Pop the end of a green onion in a glass of water. Simply pay attention to the process and enjoy the miracle of growth.
  • How about this … don’t buy anything you don’t really need for the next forty days.
  • Tackle a de-cluttering task – break it down into small pieces and resolve to finish the job before Easter. Less stuff hanging around is always conducive to a better outlook on life. And you may just find a few things to give away.
  • Heal a broken relationship even if all it involves is letting go and forgiving yourself.
  • Reduce, reuse, recycle, repurpose – any of the R’s will do.

“Everything in life has its own time. There is time to celebrate and there is time to mourn. This is the time for reflection and transformation. Let us look within and change into what we ought to be.” (Aaron Saul)

An angel sitting with the Buddha in our garden - photo by Bruce Witzel

International Women’s Day–Let’s Celebrate and Act

Today is International Woman’s Day and social media is jam-packed with some great links to articles, artwork, social justice causes, quotes and so much more. Here is a small selection of what caught my eye.

Poverty is sexist logo image

Join 39,765 others (more by the time you click on) who have come together to send a powerful message: we won’t end extreme poverty without ending global gender inequality.


Kiva - invest in women

On Kiva for today only – all loans are matched – double your impact and make a difference in real women’s lives. And if you make a loan today, (as I did) you’ll be able to share this wonderful graphic all over social media.


World Food Program image

Women and the World Food Program – the most effective solution to combatting and preventing hunger is to empower women. Visit this site to find out how and see some stunning images of women from around the world.


Frida Kahlo - roots - google image

What would we be without art? Let us look to the vibrancy of female artists like Frida Kahlo and may we all paint (in our own ways) wild and big and over-the-top grand! Check out a post celebrating Frida on the Paris Review.


George at CBC FoodBank Day

Thirty You Tube interviews done on The Strombo Show with influential women that highlight the theme of International Women’s Day – Maya Angelou, June Colewood, Margaret Atwood, Jodi Foster and so many more. No one interviews like George!


S E Hinton - google image

The twenty most influential women authors of all time – a list featured over on The Classic Book Reader blog. Did you know S.E. Hinton began writing The Outsiders when she was fifteen years old! That is inspiring.


Maranda - Dancing with Butterflies in Spirit

My niece, Maranda, dances with a brave group of young women (Butterflies in Spirit) to raise awareness – at that most visceral level – of the plight of missing and murdered Aboriginal women. For more information about this issue check out the Amnesty International Report – No More Stolen Sisters.

To all the Butterflies in Spirit – may each of you continue to find the strength to raise your voices and move your bodies. May family and friends continue to give the support that is necessary so these young women can stand strong on the front lines.