Along with my shunning of Mardi Gras the past few years (gf king cake aside, of course), I have also ignored the entire season of lent for quite some time. As a teenager, I remember struggling with the concept as I watched everyone around me "fast" with crawfish boils and seafood platters every Friday. But dang it, they gave up cake for lent, cut them some slack, right? It didn't make sense to me then, and it doesn't make sense to me now; however, I have enough distance and clarity now to make this time what I want it to be. Lent is a time of reflection and renewal, leading up to some sort of rebirth at Easter. I think no matter what your spiritual leanings might be, this can be a lovely tradition to observe.
This year, I have issued a decree. A 40 Days of Nice decree. As a family, we are all going to work on being nicer (to ourselves, one another, the earth . . . the whole shebang). Anyone caught doing something decidedly not nice will have to draw a slip of paper from the Nice Bucket. In the Nice Bucket are orders for random acts of niceties: hug someone, write a thank-you note, sing a song to someone, hide a love note for someone in the house, clean something, put away something someone else forgot to put away, etc. No argument. You just have to do what the paper says. A nice alternative to punishment, I think.
So far we've already had to dig into the bucket a couple of times, and the results are . . . nice. But seriously, if someone says something awful to someone else, then they have to sing a song to them (especially if it is a silly, cute, made-up Harper song), it completely diffuses the situation. We all smile and move on.
I'm also going to be spending some time being nice to myself. Reading (nothing new there). Reflecting. Writing my morning pages (maybe not in the morning, but writing them nevertheless). GF veganish goodness in, exercise to get the toxins out. For the next forty days, I'll be pretty much bathing in Nice.