make space

LENT 2019

Life can feel very busy. There are demands from every direction, pressures and stresses that can roll around in our heads. Things that we worry might happen, or things that we are afraid might not.

Picture for a moment all of the noise falling away, as you sit in the sand of a silent dune, and experience a moments peace.... This is a place where you can breath, where you can have time to relax, and hopefully have time to think without fear or judgement. We may not be able to transport you to your own private wilderness, but over the next six weeks we are offering a menu of small and simple ways to pull you out of routines and ruts and help make space for new thoughts and new directions. A little forward planning is needed - like a diet or exercise - you need to think ahead about the practical things you might need to, like a quiet place to sit, a route to walk, an amount of time - ten minutes will do. This are things to set aside as space for these activities.

There is a menu of nine activities for each two week period, divided into 3 categories: changing, cleansing and reducing.

Simply choose one of these activities and try it, daily or occasionally, for this two week period.

Then check back to pick a new activity for the next two weeks, either to replace, or to add to the one you are already practicing.

kitchen window

Not by bread alone

weeks 1&2

changing
 
 

1 - Making and eating food in a group

Eating is about so much more than just food. It’s possible to get so caught up in the business of life that eating can lose its sense of joy and beauty. ...Food can be something we savour and something we share. This week take time to make and eat food with someone, either as a family, with children, or just inviting someone round. Set time aside not just to eat, but to actually prepare the food together. Let the flavours, textures and the smells be something you pause to take in. If you have any good sharing recipe ideas please share them with us on Facebook. If you are stuck for ideas, you could try SOME OF THESE

2 - Morning routine

Make a small change to your morning routine. Maybe set an alarm for 15 minutes earlier than you need. ...Try to spend this time thinking about the day ahead, but also connecting with mind and body. Sit on the floor in a position with good posture, breath deeply, reach your arms above your head and then out to the sides. Stand up straight and reach high towards the ceiling, then flop down towards your toes, breathing out as you do.

3 - Eat outside

1) This can be as simple or as fancy as you like. You could simply take your normal plate of food outside and sit with it on your knee. ... Or you can pack a picnic and head out to a quiet spot to enjoy your food. Take time as you eat to listen to the sounds around you, birdsong and leaves. Let your senses take in the colours, smells and feelings around you. Here are some recipe ideas if you want to get fancy: BBC GOOD FOOD

cleansing 2
 
 

1 - Daily reflection

Take 10 minutes, before you get up, or as you eat breakfast, or even in the shower, to think about three areas of your life. For things that are difficult - Bless those you struggle with.... For everything little, food, shelter, health - Be thankful for what you have that is good. For things that you have done that were wrong. - Turn away from things that have been wrong and step towards something better. Try to think about these things lightly. Know that you don’t need to think of solutions or answers, just take the time to process each area.

2 - Watching your mind work (body scan - reflect without judging)

1) Lie down on your back. Let your legs and your arms relax and fall to the sides....

2) Start by taking two or three gentle, large breaths.

3) Now we’re going to pay attention to your feet. Relax your feet and continue to breathe deeply When your mind gets busy, gently bring your attention back to your feet again.

4) Now move your attention to your lower legs, then knees, then upper legs noticing whatever is there. Let go of frustration and trying to do anything. Just do your best and give yourself a few moments of rest.

5) Now move your attention to your belly. It always moves when you breathe, rising and falling, like waves on the sea.

6)If you feel that it’s hard to focus, that’s normal. Gently practice coming back again and again to how your chest feels when you breathe.

7) Next, bring your attention to your chest. Notice it rising and falling as you breathe.

8) Now turn your attention to your hands, then your arms. Relax them if you can, and if not, simply paying attention to your hands for another moment.

9) Next, move your attention around to your back. How does it feel against the bed or the floor? Notice how it rocks with each breath.

10) Now move attention to your neck and shoulders, letting go and relaxing them.

11) And now feel your face and head. What expression do you have right now? What would it feel like to smile? What else do you notice in your face, your head, and in your mind?

12) Finally, spend a few moments, paying attention to your whole body. If it is easier, continue to pay attention to your breath. Finally, open your eyes and sit for a few moments before deciding when to move again.

LINK TO FULL ACTIVITY

3 - Breathing (focus)

Most people take short, shallow breaths into their chest. It can make you feel anxious and zap your energy.

... Get comfortable. Breathe in through your nose. Let your belly fill with air. Breathe out through your nose.

As you breathe in, feel your belly rise. As you breathe out, feel your belly lower. Breathe fully into your belly as it rises and falls with your breath.

Close your eyes if they're open. Take a few big, deep breaths.

Breathe in. As you do that, imagine that the air is filled with a sense of peace and calm. Try to feel it throughout your body.

Breathe out. While you're doing it, imagine that the air leaves with your stress and tension.

As you breathe in, say in your mind, "I breathe in peace and calm." As you breathe out, say in your mind, "I let go of stress and fear." Continue for 10 minutes.

reducing 2
 
 

1 - Switch off at night

Set a sensible deadline for your whole house, such as 8pm or 9pm, or whenever you feel is appropriate. At this time switch off all electrical entertainment and communication devices. ... Phones, TV’s, music players, tablets. This is to give your mind time to approach sleep without too much stimulation. Time can feel slower without something to keep you occupied.

2 - 40 days 40 items

1) The season of Lent coincides with Spring Cleaning time. As we prepare for Easter in our hearts, we focus on ways to be more prayerful and charitable. ... One great way to combine the urge to purge and to help others is to do a 40-Day Closet Challenge. Each day during Lent, remove one item of clothing from your wardrobe and put it into a bag, box, old suitcase, etc. At the end of Lent, donate those clothes to a place that can use them. More info here: ORGANISE MY HOUSE

3 - Living well in God’s world

This Lent Bishop Peter and Bishop Ruth are inviting us to focus on caring for the world around us. ... Living Well in God’s World will help us think about what our Christian faith says about how we live and how we care for creation. Living Well in God’s World will highlight a different theme each week: appreciation, concern, responsibility, incarnation, love and new creation. To sign up to the Bishops lent challenge visit: LINK TO SIGN UP

Please choose an activity and check back on 24/03/2019 for a new menu of options.