photo lavender flower field under pink sky

Lent & the Seven Deadly Sins

For any of you who aren’t Catholic or Christian, today is Ash Wednesday, which marks the first day of Lent. Growing up, I always looked forward to gorging myself with food & partying on Mardi Gras. lol Then come Wednesday morning, I attend mass & get my ashes on my forehead prepared to fast for Lent. Every year, from Ash Wednesday through the Saturday before Easter, I fast giving up meat on Fridays as well as something that I love dearly for 40 days. In the past couple of years, instead of giving up one thing, such as frivolous shopping, soda, or fast food, I gave up one of the Seven Deadly Sins. If you’re not familiar with the Seven Deadly Sins, they are:

  1. Lust: Extreme sexual desire and/or impulsive behavior
  2. Gluttony: Overindulging in anything to the point of obsession and/or waste
  3. Greed: Extreme neediness for money and/or material possessions
  4. Sloth: Laziness or indifference with lack of drive or focus
  5. Wrath: Extreme anger or rage
  6. Envy: Resentful longing for what another has including their material possessions, qualities, luck, etc.
  7. Pride: Selfishness

Last year, I gave up Gluttony, because I have a weakness for online shopping & overeating. lol I gave up frivolous shopping, which I define as any shopping that is not a necessity, such as groceries or personal hygiene products, & overeating is pretty self-explanatory, no eating more than necessary for survival. Even though I proactively choose to eat clean for majority of the time, I still love dessert & appetizers as well as unhealthy snacks, such as candy or chips.

This year for Lent, I’m going to try my best to refrain from committing any of the Seven Deadly Sins. Since I’m single, I’m not going to act impulsively or jump into a new relationship. I’m not going to shop carelessly, over eat, or over drink. I’m going to limit my social media screen time, be thankful for the existing abundance that I have, & not envy the money, possessions, or circumstances of anyone else. I’m going to create a routine & set daily goals for myself to stay productive, & I’m going to be altruistic, putting the needs of others before myself.

Lent this year is not going to be easy, but I think that’s the point. During Lent, you’re called to give up your vices, not to torture yourself, but to learn & improve as a person. It’s common knowledge in Psychology that it takes 21 days to break a habit, so I think 40 days can help me break a lot of my toxic behaviors. While I know that I won’t be instantly cured come Easter Sunday, I’m optimistic & hopeful for the changes I’ll be proactively working towards during my 40 days of fasting.

XO Denise

Everything Happens for a Reason

I’ve always been interested in different religions. I even took a Psychology of Religion class when I was in college as an elective. For our final paper, we were asked to write an essay about our personal religious upbringing or lack thereof. Since I’ve already covered that in a past blog, I wanted to explore the religious upbringing of one of my classmates instead. For our final paper, we also had the option to give a formal presentation for extra credit. In her family, her parents left religious beliefs up to her & each of her siblings once they turned 10 years old. Unlike my parents, who chose to baptize me as a Catholic, it was incredibly fascinating. While I enjoyed learning about all of the various religious & non-religious beliefs in that class, the one that stuck with me the most has always been Buddhism.

Here are some basics of Buddhism:

  • Buddha was not a god, a prophet, or any kind of supernatural being. He was born, lived & died, as a normal human.
  • The core of the Buddha’s teachings aka “Dharma” — are The Four Noble Truths:
    1. Suffering exists.
    2. Desire is the cause of suffering.
    3. There is freedom from suffering through the Eightfold Path.
    4. The Eightfold Path is the eight ways of living that will help a Buddhist reach nirvana: right understanding, right thought, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, & right concentration. This way of life will ensure that you “escape” a rebirth filled with karma.

It is through desire & suffering that humans change for the better or worse. When you’re trapped in chasing after your desires, the universe tends to force you to repeat your behavioral patterns & continue to suffer as many times as it takes for you to learn your lesson. With this in mind, I do believe that people can change, but only on their own terms. Once you’ve grown tired of upsetting yourself or breaking your own heart over & over again, you can either let it consume you, or you can rise from the ashes like a phoenix.

We are not the same people that we were a decade ago, physically, emotionally, or mentally. You can possibly even argue that people can change from minute to minute depending on their current mindset. If I wasn’t already Catholic, I truly would have chosen to be a Buddhist. I believe that everything happens for a reason, & it’s up to us to decide what to do with the lesson that it comes with. 

Who knows… maybe I was even a Buddhist in a past life?

XO Denise