Thursday, February 11, 2016

One Day Challenge

Lent started yesterday with Ash Wednesday. I challenged myself to have an 'immaculate' and 'sin-free' day. LOL That meant being patient, being kind, being slow to anger (or not getting angry at all). That meant no lustful thoughts, no judgements of others. I wanted to try to be love personified. I'm trying to imagine how the Virgin Mary was, being holy and blameless all her life.

Well, I realized how totally difficult that was.

Upon waking up, I opened my gadgets to tune in to social media. I see posts from my sister, the one I have frequent disagreements with, that made my eyes roll. Oh my! I just judged her! I realized that it was so easy for me to dismiss her because of what I felt towards her. I suddenly replaced those thoughts with more loving vibes towards her.

The Viber group of my high school friends was filled with messages. I looked at them and see shared photos of almost-naked hunks! Oh no! I am tempted to open one and zoom in. I stopped myself and scrolled down, just to get rid of the notifications.

I was rushing to attend the morning mass. But I was trying to feel calm even as I was hurrying. Leaving the house, the household help was rushing to give me my lunch. She almost forgot. I was instantly annoyed. Stop! I quickly changed how I felt and just smiled at her.

All that in the first two hours of the day.

And it got more challenging at work at a meeting. I was becoming irritated at the way things were moving so glacially. I noticed I was starting to raise my voice. I caught myself and calmed down. I smiled and made a joke instead.

At the gym, I was trying to stay focused on surviving my workout. Cute, hunky kid, a crushie, I admit, walks in. Oh my! Lustful thoughts! I turned my attention to the Spotify playlist and tuned him out.

You can imagine now how my entire day went. At the end of the day, I noticed how almost automatic it is for me to be irritable, or lustful, or annoyed, or judgmental. The thoughts, and emotions, seem like reflexes to the stimuli. I had to consciously stop myself every time, if only to keep me on track.

I may not have been successful at this challenge. But I am happy that I was able to exercise some mindfulness and some control in my thoughts and feelings.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


Simon said...

May the force be with you in having a sin free day :) I find that hard to do myself haha :)

Oliver said...


I'm from San Francisco, CA, a pinoy who's gay and happily married to the same sex. Both me and my husband are catholics and attend Sunday mass at the gayest Catholic Church in the US. Although we're both cradle catholics, we're also liberal and progressive and we have decided with clear discernment and prayer that we are not bounded by what the Vatican says---in turn we branded ourselves as cafeteria catholics--- we pick and choose what dogmas/church teachings are helpful to us to be more closer to the divine (God, the Ultimate Mystery).

I'm following your blogposts from time and time and I was intrigued by your recent post about Ash Wednesday and your mention about Mindfulness. Well, I will invite you to try Centering Prayer ( a form of Christian Contemplative prayer) that invites you to a deeper relationship with God. Vocal and loud worship are just one form of prayer---there is a deeper kind---contemplation! If you're familiar with Teresa de Avila and John of the Cross and the book---the Cloud of Unknowing. Teresa de Avila just perfected it in a sense that when she prays silently, she's resting in God. No words, no apparitions, etc. Just pure resting in God! Centering Prayer is not that well explained (maybe) or not disseminated immensely in the Philippines. There's a big group (I think) in Makati.

Think about it and maybe God is calling you to a deeper kind of relationship.

God bless.

closet case said...

Hello Oliver!

Thanks for sharing this. I have heard of this though this is the first time I'm hearing the term "Centering Prayer". I love it.