My Lent Experiment: Being More Present

My Lent Experiment: Being More Present

I’m going to start off by telling you,I’m far from the most religious person around.Don’t get me wrong, I definitely believe in God and thank him for what I have in my life and the direction I’m headed in but, as my parents will most likely be quick to tell you, I can definitely be a better Catholic. I have made it a point to sacrifice something for Lent the past three years- first it became something someone who was close to me asked me to do, then it became something I did just to  see if I can do it.  This year, I was a little stuck, currently my vices are few and far between. I’ve only drank on 3 occasions this past year so alcohol was out, I eat fairly clean (although I’ve had a sweet tooth lately), and I stopped playing video games about three years ago so that was out.  Those who know me know I’ve taken great strides in personal development over the past couple years and I’m constantly trying to better myself,  Part of this process includes educating myself on personal development by reading books by great thinkers like Grant Cardone, Robert Kyosaki, Napoleon Hill, and Richard Branson.  All the books on personal growth I’ve read to date have one thing in common: the authors all agree if you want to accomplish meaningful goals, you can’t hold back.  Keeping this in mind I thought why not give up something that will aide and assist me in my endeavor to become a better person, so I gave up doubt and the changes are astonishing!

I was tentative at first, I wasn’t sure doubt was something you can give up.  Was saying I want to give up doubt like saying, I want to give up not having fun all the time? While that sounds great, having fun ALL the time sounds more like delerium. This reminded me of favorite Tom Papa joke on fitting in as an adult, “Life is a pair of skinny jeans, and you’re just a big fat ass.”  (look around 2:10 – this is what popped in my head).

I started recognizing how my behavior was changing and I was also able to identify patterns of behavior ultimately leading to self doubt and depression.  It seemed whenever I thought about something from the past or worried about my future, I became anxious. It became obvious to me, I had to think more in the present.  In order to do this, I had to make changes and replace these moments with something more uplifting.  At the first sign of doubt I decided to confront a minor issue I had.  I have been guilty of not calling a friend or family member I hadn’t talked to in awhile, thinking they were busy or just didn’t want to hear from me.  Instead of worrying why this person never reached out to me, I forced myself to pick up the phone and talk to a friend I hadn’t seen in years, just to say hello and catch up.  The result, both of us felt great simply talking and reacquainting with one another ,and have spoken a few times since.  Feeling a bit more confident I decided to offer my assistance and opinion more readily to people, not in a pushy way, but more in a helpful way.   After I started doing this I found more people coming up to me, out of the blue, asking for assistance- it was if the universe had opended up to me.  I had made myself a subject expert, without even trying!

When confronted with something I may find a little out of my comfort zone,I tend to get caught up in my own thoughts and make myself overly nervous about the task.   When I decided to say goodbye to doubt, I replaced my nervous little internal struggle with the voice of Richard Branson saying, “Screw it, let’s do it.”

So what did you give up for Lent? How do you confront your triggers?

Philip A. Maenza aka “Philtastic Phil” is an internet entrepreneur and consumer behavior professional whose interests include art, film, music, stand up comedy, fitness, and comic books. Phil is also a dedicated community volunteer and always open to connecting with like minded optimists.  

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