Is not this the fast I choose...

In a recent letter from Abbey of the Arts ( prioress Christine Valters Painter wrote about fasting from the obsessions of 21st century living. She also posted a stunning photograph that speaks to my heart:
Christine writes: "The kind of fast drawing me this season isn't leaving behind treats like chocolate or other pleasures. This season I am being invited to fast from things like 'ego-grasping' and noticing when I so desperately  want to be in control, and then yielding myself to a greater wisdom than my own." This so resonates with my heart at this season in my life and at this stage of Lent.  Then Painter gets specific - and let me share her insights with you: hoping that they speak to you as profoundly as they did to me:

I am called to fast from being strong and always trying to hold it all together, and instead embrace the profound grace that comes through my vulnerability and tenderness, to allow a great softening this season.

I am called to fast from anxiety and the endless torrent of thoughts which rise up in my mind to paralyze me with fear of the future, and enter into the radical trust in the abundance at the heart of things, rather than scarcity.

I am called to fast from speed and rushing through my life, causing me to miss the grace shimmering right here in this holy pause.

I am called to fast from multitasking and the destructive energy of inattentiveness to any one thing, so that I get many things done, but none of them well, and none of them nourishing to me. Instead my practice will become a beholding of each thing, each person, each moment.

I am called to fast from endless list-making and too many deadlines, and enter into the quiet and listen for what is ripening and unfolding, what is ready to be born.

I am called to fast from certainty and trust in the great mystery of things. And then perhaps, I will arrive at Easter and realize those things from which I have fasted I no longer need to take back on again. I will experience a different kind of rising.

This week as I walk towards the Third Sunday of Lent I realize I need both encouragement and clarity in my fasting. And Painter's words were just what the Great Physician ordered. She has given me a vessel in which I can carry and utilize the promise of Isaiah 55: 

Ho, everyone who thirsts,
   come to the waters;

and you that have no money,
   come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
   without money and without price. 
Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread,
   and your labour for that which does not satisfy?
Listen carefully to me, and eat what is good,
   and delight yourselves in rich food. 
IIncline your ear, and come to me;
   listen, so that you may live.


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