This week also starts the Lenten period. I grew up in an Episcopal school AND I taught in an Episcopal school for my first 9 years. The Lenten Fast is nearly hardwired into me. It’s like I have an internal alarm clock going off – “what are you giving up this year?”. In thinking, it seems tied to the “Keep Listening” post. Lenten fast is often tied to sacrifice (giving up chocolate, candy, ice cream). I once had a chaplain who challenged us , though, to think differently about it. Lent could be about creating a prayer, reflection, meditation period. The result could be creating a positive instead of focusing on what was given up. There’s still the sacrifice of the time but the end result puts the emphasis on creation. In the flow of the school year reflection and positive momentum are vital.
One of my favorite ways to reflect on my life and professional practice is on the treadmill or taking a walk, my playlist loaded with songs that get me going and make me think. Here’s my annotated list.
My Top Ten Songs for Lenten Reflection
10. “Oh happy day” – some positive gospel is what I need to get moving and thinking about what I can do, not what’s holding me back
9. “Happy” by Pharrell — “clap along if you feel like a room without a roof/ clap along if you feel like happiness if the truth”, this is my goal, sometime you need to hear that it’s ok to search for happiness
8. “40” by U2 – it’s a nice break from all that happiness and gets me thinking about some of the struggles
7. “War” by Edwin Starr – we are all fighting something: placement battles, grading guerrilla attacks, collaboration combat missions
6. “Fight the Power” by the Isley Brothers – a good dose of anti-authority lyrics is good for everyone, including the leaders who are “the man”
5. “Appalachian Spring” by Aaron Copland – a single theme repeated by many voices in the orchestra, it’s powerful when you think about it
4. Songs from Riverdance – get up, get moving, it’s March; there is still lightheartedness to experience
3 “Celebration” by Kool and the Gang – see #4
2. any Jimmy Buffett song but “Attitude of Gratitude” is a good one –
1. “Respect Yourself” by The Staples Singers – almost anything by this group enlightens me about what I need to do
Remember, in these days before the bloom of spring, in the waning winter days darkness has an insatiable hunger. Lightness has a call that’s hard to hear (Indigo Girls, “Closer to Fine). Listening and reflection create the positive momentum needed for growth.
Reflection is key to my success. Life gives me little time (but 40 minutes on the treadmill may just be enough). Friday night is my deadline (score one for being early to meet it!).