At the beginning of a new year, there are many who decide to pay more attention to what they are eating, hoping to drop the pounds added over the holidays. It is so easy to mindlessly eat whatever catches the eye, whether we are hungry or not. Instead of savoring food we just consume more and more because of boredom, depression and inattention. At least that is my experience.
Parallel to this experience, is the consumption of junk food for the mind, heart, and spirit. We are bombarded by advertising, mindless television programs, gossipy magazines, and all manner of frivolous conversation. The intake of all of these does nothing to enlarge our hearts or educate our minds. These are giant time wasters that lead us away from doing anything substantive with our days. This can be especially problematic when we no long have full time work or many obligations that fill our time.
I want to be clear that I am not saying the entertainment is a waste. Good art, whether it be music, drama, or good comedy, enlarges our thinking and reaches us on a heart level. Sporting events can also energize and amuse us, often enhancing a sense of community. Games and puzzles keep our minds sharp.
By mindfully choosing to spend our time on such activities that we can savor and enjoy, we grow as persons. My mind is stretched by choosing to focus on worthwhile reading, fiction or non-fiction. Savoring poetry warms my heart and animates my imagination. Spending time in silence gives my spirit a chance to thrive. Listening to good music lifts my spirits.
As I prepare for Lent, my plan is to decrease my intake of junk food for my body and my mind. Fewer carbs and more vegetables. Less Facebook and more solid reading. Less TV and more meaningful conversations. By choosing that which nurtures my whole person, I find I am better able to handle the challenges life inevitably sends.