Mardi Gras 2023 or...

 Fat Tuesday.  And boy am I feeling fat on this Tuesday.  So fat, that I'm NOT getting on a scale today. (I am more than a number as I have said before:  Perhaps today, more than January 1st should be the day that marks the end of indulgence and the beginning of reflection as we head into Lent.

To be completely honest, I've been VERY indulgent for a while now. (Probably longer than I'd care of admit.) Life has been stressful.  (When is it not?)  And I've been "treating" myself for getting over and through hurdle after hurdle.  Although, as we know, these "treats" (such as a couple of glasses of wine or giant sized strawberry chocolate Kit Kat, to name but two) aren't for the best in the long run.  It's simply overindulgence and me fooling myself.  (Although I'm not really am I?)

I know I need to cut myself some slack.  I've got a job that has gotten more stressful in the New Year instead of less.  (Usually the end of the year is when the crazy kicks in, but it ends a week or so into the New Year.  Not so in 2023.)  My father has had some health setbacks that require weekly trips to take care of things.  (I should be and AM grateful that he has a live in caregiver that takes much of the burden off of me, but there still is burden.)  There are my own (minor) health issues.  (It's time to try to find an ENT who can help me with my right ear which still isn't "right" and I seem to have tinnitus.)  Having a teenager who is getting ready to make the leap to college can be challenging.  It's only natural that I'd like to give myself a special something as a "reward" for getting through it all.  (Or at least getting through the day.)  But it is a really a reward or just a temporary fix that isn't a fix at all?  (Or worst of all, am I tricking myself into feeling good for a short time only to face a penalty later?)

I'd pledged to be more mindful in the beginning of the year.  And I AM more mindful...but not of the things that might really matter to my physical, mental and spiritual health.  As we enter into the Lenten season, maybe it's time to be mindful of me.  That is the WHOLE me and not just the "me" that screams out (like an obnoxious toddler) to gimme, gimme.

This year, more so than any other year, Fat Tuesday needs to be the end of indulgence for me.  Reward for work well done or getting through yet another challenge is fine, but it can't be just something that is "fluff" (like cotton candy.")  Meaningful rewards are good; overindulgence to get a good feeling for just a brief amount of time is not.

This Lent, like many that have come before it, I WILL give up two of my major indulgences:  chocolate and alcohol. (I don't want to just say wine because I know that I would "trick" myself by saying I wasn't "cheating" if I had a margarita or a martini because they aren't wine.)  I also will GIVE, as I have in years past.  Give kindness and compassion.  However, this year the kindness and compassion cannot just be given to others, I need to give it to myself as well.  Treating myself means doing so with thoughtfulness, so that I am treating the WHOLE me and not just the impulsive part.  (The one that is so easy to do.)

I need to go into this Lent with true intention.  To focus on giving to others and to myself, but giving with thought and care.  I am going to try to follow this path and NOT beat myself up if I stray.  If I wander, I need have the wisdom to know that I am a fallible human and that I have the ability to find my way again.  We all do.

I want to make this a caring and careful Lent.  One that I learn and grow from.  It's time for me to plant the seed, nurture it and see what blooms this Easter.


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