“At Easter, I focus my attention on allowing that which no longer serves my spiritual, emotional, or physical well-being to die, and I release it from my life. Then my attention moves to the newness of “resurrection,” the re-birth to new life that empowers me and lifts my heart to ecstatic joy and hope for all the possibilities inherent in that empowerment.” –Linda, from Spirituality & Health eNewsletter (March 31, 2010)
Like the author of the blog post quoted above, I find myself increasingly ambivalent about the real “meaning” of Easter as I get older. I grew up in a conservative Christian family that believed that Easter was about the literal, physical resurrection of Jesus. However, despite the claim that this is the defining moment of Christianity, my family did not really have any strong traditions around the celebration of this holiday. We went to church, of course, but there was none of the focus of the more liturgical churches with Lent and Holy Week to prepare for the celebration of Easter. This lack of tradition, however, has left me without any clear way to celebrate the holiday, especially in the absence of the orthodox faith of my youth.
The quote above gives me a way to re-focus on a deeper meaning of the season and a way to develop my own useful tradition that is based on the foundation of my childhood faith but is not dependent on retaining a traditionally orthodox Christian understanding of the holiday. This year is an especially appropriate year for this approach. With so much in my life currently in the process of dying, it is a good time to take the opportunity to see what else in my life needs to be allowed to die with it. It’s an even better time to think about the things I want to manifest in my life as I resurrect my life from the ashes of what it has been.
It can be so easy when re-creating one’s life to wind up recreating the same life that was left behind—with a slight change in the scenery perhaps—but essentially the same situations and relationships that existed before. This occurs when we allow the death and the subsequent resurrection to happen to us rather than taking the responsibility of choosing the changes that are needed. If the underlying life habits are unaltered, we will return the same patterns of behavior and choices that we have always known. It takes a conscious and intentional decision to do things differently if true change is to be effected.
This time, if I am going to do through this time of stripping everything away, I want to start over with a substantially different life. And the only way that I will manage to do that is to intentionally allow the parts of my life that are no longer needed or helpful to die as part of this process and to intentionally choose the things I want to foster in my new life as I move forward. The challenge is recognizing those unconscious habits that try to come along for the ride and knowing which ones are beneficial and need to be kept alive and which ones need to be recycled into something new. I probably won’t get it 100% right, but I plan to do this intentionally rather than allowing it to happen to me. Wish me luck!