Stretching

It’s been a full two weeks since the start of Lent, and I find that I’ve settled into a more fluid existence, an ease that at first felt foreign, disconcerting, but is now welcomed and embraced. As many of you know, I’ve given up extraneous social media for Lent – Twitter, Facebook, blog hopping, commenting, stat tracking. And while initially this fast felt stifling, terrifying even, it’s now shifted into a period of liberation, peace and rest. A letting go. And an opening up.

Fresh space widens, allowing me choices I didn’t think I had time to make before. Shall I read a magazine? Watch Scooby Doo and snuggle with the kids on the couch? Glimpse sparrows vie for space at the feeder while the sun rises lavender? Coat a dingy, banged up basement wall clean with vibrant yellow? Bake an extra loaf of banana bread?

A couple of nights ago Brad and I even tried yoga. We’ve been talking about doing this for months; I’d even bought a beginner’s DVD at Target, which sat on top of the player collecting dust for six weeks before I even unsheathed it from its plastic casing.

Let me just say, for the record, that Brad and I could easily take first in the Most Flexibly Challenged Couple Contest. So rather than an exercise in deep breathing, stretching and chi, our yoga routine was punctuated by grunting, wavering, shaky poses, occasional tumbling, labored snorting and sidesplitting laughter. Our hands dangled knee-high as we reached for our toes, one eye on the TV as the instructor placed both hands, palms down, flat on her mat. At one point I looked over at Brad and asked, “Is that seriously a stretch, because honestly it looks like you’re just standing there.”

Yes, this is me...in the unrecognizable triangle pose. Notice how there is absolutely nothing triangular about it.

Suffice to say, it wasn’t a typical yoga experience, but that didn’t matter much. It was something different. And it was time well-spent with my husband.

So it seems yoga might be an apt metaphor after all. Perhaps these six Lenten weeks encourage just that – a stretching of sorts, a limbering and loosening. A letting go. An opening up.

How’s Lent going for you? Are you discovering anything new or unexpected? If you've given up something, is it getting any easier?

Jo@Mylestones  – (March 3, 2010 at 6:04 AM)  

"Fresh space widens, allowing me choices I didn’t think I had time to make before." Michelle, two weeks ago, a statement like that would sound almost miraculous, wouldn't it? I know it might sound dramatic, but I feel like I can tell by the tone and pace of your writing how you've moved away from the frenetic, type A, always-more-to-do pace. And have found freedom in the rest-in-this-moment, relationships-come-first pace. It's such a hard thing to do. I get that. But is (in the long term) so very rewarding.

Freddae'  – (March 3, 2010 at 6:52 AM)  

Loved this post!!! Oh and your triangle pose. ;-p

alita  – (March 3, 2010 at 7:10 AM)  

" Bake an extra loaf of banana bread?"

-- Now I want to bake a loaf. See what you did to me? Just that simple mention of banana bread and I cave. Yes, I gave up sweets and I decided to do more charitable works. The DO MORE has taken, the sweets... um no. At least I could follow through with one.

OH and by the way... YOGA ROCKS!!! It is my very favorite way to exercise. My boys love to do "yogurt" with me. So very cute! They have yoga toddler/older kid dvds out there. The one at Target (target brand) is AWESOME. Domo loves it!

Marilyn  – (March 3, 2010 at 7:16 AM)  

LENT is going well. It's a stretch for me but it feels really good.

Danielle  – (March 3, 2010 at 7:39 AM)  

Your description of doing yoga sounds a lot like me doing yoga. I've done it semi-regularly, but am not very flexible, so I

So often I get caught in things that aren't bad but don't matter, (Twitter, Facebook, etc.) when I could be investing in so much more! Thanks for sharing your journey as you "unplug"!!

David@Red Letter Believers  – (March 3, 2010 at 8:48 AM)  

I think i am contracting more than stretching. As I get older I get more narrow, more judgemental, more thin in my way of thinking.

Stretching....is....good.....but painful. Ouch you!

Jennifer  – (March 3, 2010 at 10:25 AM)  

I didn't know you gave all those things up! I guess I should be a better friend and keep up on your blogs! Good for you!

PS - Your hair looks super dark in this picture!

Deidra  – (March 3, 2010 at 10:57 AM)  

Yoga is one of my very favorite things. Especially because of the way it uses breathing to get deeper into the pose and to stretch further into open up spaces. The breath opens up and fills the spaces. And that is Lent to me. The breath of the Holy Spirit opening up spaces in me and making room for me to go deeper. And then the very breath itself filling up the space it opens. Thanks for this!

Laura  – (March 3, 2010 at 12:58 PM)  

I am a huge yoga fan, Michelle. I find it enriches my Christian faith in many ways when I apply it to the right principles. Makes me feel pretty darn good too!

I love this metaphor. This Lenten season has been a stretch for me too. This is the busy-est I have been since my boys were born. We are adjusting to a lot of changes in our family life that have evoked a sense of unbalance. What God has been whispering to me through this is that my time with HIm may sometimes be the only peace I feel in a chaotic world. This too, shall pass.

Stretching...

Katie  – (March 3, 2010 at 7:51 PM)  

NO, MINE IS NOT GETTING EASIER, can you hear the frustration there ;)

I'm so happy your finding more time during this journey!

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