What I learned during my lenten fast

As you might recall, I chose to bite off a fairly big chunk of things for my lenten fast. And I'm bringing that fast to a close this week (sort of slowly easing into things rather than all at once on Easter.)

I learned a ton during this time, and I think much of it will take time to filter through me. I was unsurprised by some things, and surprised by others. I was a bit surprised by how much I missed hearing about people's lives on Facebook, but I was also surprised by how much it had become simply habit and entertainment. I wasn't surprised by how much extra free time I suddenly had, but I was surprised by how often I searched for entertainment, and looked for more visual stimulation.

I think that, above all, was the thing that struck me the most. I'm not someone who lacks for things to do. In fact, one of my long-standing habits is to take on more things, make more projects and have more ideas than I can possibly see through. I do see a lot through, of course, but still, there is always something I have on my list to write, or do, or create. I have no lack of things to keep myself busy and interested.

But it took a good long time for me to get out of the habits of being entertained, and back into the habits of doing things, or even just reading and listening to music, which are entertaining enough, really.

I realized the extent to which my brain was trained to seek out stimulation, and how it wasn't so happy when it didn't get enough. I think it will take me a good long time to re-train it, because I certainly don't want to continue to feel like I need the amount of stimulation that I had been taking in.

And I know that from now on, I'll be delving much more into why I want to watch something, or play something, or spend time on social networks. Is it just because I feel the need to be entertained and stimulated, or is there real, concrete meaning to it?

This is not to say that I'm not wanting to, or expecting to have fun watching things, or being entertained. It's just that I want to be clear about what the energy is I have as I'm watching. Is it just boredom and lack of impetus to do anything else? Is it that need for visual stimulation? Is it avoidance of how I'm feeling about something? Am I simply in a space to have fun?

It's that investigation, and being open and non-judgmental about what I find that is my task for ordinary time.