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Dessert Friday!

Dessert Friday!

March 7, 2014
I certainly deserved something yummy today.

It was a long and satisfying day — All Saints’ hosted the World Day of Prayer, a service written by women in Egypt, and then we had a lovely reception with cookies, cookies, brownies and cookies. I brought cheese and crackers, and had plenty of cheese and crackers . . . er, cheese with cheese on top. Good day, but long and complicated, and I definitely deserved a treat. (If you’re at all familiar with the Enneagram, that’s completely true to type for me! The problem is that I always deserve a treat!)

After dinner I had a lovely banana split . . . wait . . . I meant lovely creamy Greek yogurt from Trader Joe’s with a not-quite ripe banana and almonds. It tasted as good as a banana split to me. For this three-week segment using the 21-Day Sugar Detox program, I’m eating full-fat dairy. I don’t think I ever had full-fat Greek yogurt before. It’s amazingly delicious!

I also realized (again) how much I think about food. I save my one daily piece of fruit for after dinner because I’m convinced that if I eat it earlier in the day I’ll suffer after dinner. And suffering is bad, right? Well, as my sister Ellen commented, all the main religions encourage some sort of fasting; I don’t believe the point is to cause suffering, but to periodically step away from whatever we’re attached to, whatever pulls us away from the Real, from God, from our deepest desires. And letting go of attachment usually entails some suffering.

Let me remind myself why I’m doing this: I’m doing this because in the past I have tended to eat treats when (1) I’m hungry, (2) I’m bored, (3) I’m cranky, (4) I’m uncomfortable in any way, (5) I’m thirsty, (6) I’ve had a good day, (7) I’ve had a bad day, (8) I have too much work to do and can’t figure out what to do next, (9) I just did a lot of work and deserve a break before I figure out what to do next, (10) something with sugar crosses my line of vision . . . .

I’m grateful for abundance, but abundance run amok is disordered, and so this Lent perhaps I will, with God’s help, restore a little more order in my life. Although if the Holy Spirit wants to shake things up with some holy disorder, that’s OK with me. But don’t quote me on that; the Holy Spirit might be listening!

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“Is this a Lent thing, or is this a diet thing?”

March 4, 2014
My good friend Liz asked me this question the other day: “OK, is this a Lent thing, or is it a diet thing?” Her question inspired this blog.

A few months ago I decided to quit sugar during Lent. Which begins on Ash Wednesday. Tomorrow.

“Giving something up” was my childhood Lent. And, like New Year’s resolutions, the shelf-life was pretty short. Adult Lent is about stripping away that which is unnecessary, clearing out a little space in my head, heart and body; adult Lent usually means some sort of additional spiritual discipline rather than getting rid of something.

But this year’s decision to spend a sugar-free Lent (free of a bunch of other things, too, as it turns out, at least for the first three weeks) is motivated more by spiritual impulse than an impulse to improve my health, look great, lose weight, etc. Sure, I’d like to be healthy, look good, maintain a healthy weight; but that’s not why I’m engaging in my sugar fast.

I’m addicted to sugar. I’ve been addicted to more harmful substances, so I understand addiction. And my working definition of addiction, at least this Lent, is “anything that diverts my attention from God,” or “anything that distracts me from what’s real.” Sugar has become a major distraction in my life.

For the first three weeks, I’m using a plan, The 21-Day Sugar Detox program; there’s a book, and a Facebook page, and it seems like a wholesome, sensible way to do this. Plus, it gives me a to-do list every day, which is good. This is scary for me; I’m afraid I’ll feel terrible and be cranky and find out that I don’t trust God. The antidote, as I see it, is to jump in and do it. Lots of planning, prayer, and as much presence as I can muster. (My husband Magi reminds me that failing to plan means I’m planning to fail; so cliche . . . so true! So I’m doing a lot of planning.) Mainly, though, I want to pay attention to my body; pay attention to my heart; pay attention to my thoughts.