I've been meaning to post since last week when we had a program at church on Lenten disciplines in the Christian tradition. Our asst pastor (a wonderful woman minister) put us up to an interesting challenge as we thought about the meaning of Lent (in the Christian liturgical calendar, the season of 40 days before Easter, not counting Sundays). she told us a story about another church community where the confirmation class was asked to give away at least one thing for each day of Lent. If teenagers can take on this challenge, she encouraged us to consider it, too. I thought it was a great way of approaching Lent--rather than giving something up, we could practice giving things away.
I've tried it this week and find it really rewarding--I have a bag in the closet, and each day I put in something else. Each week, I plan to bring it to donate at the resale shop at church or to Goodwill. Anyway, it's great motivation to take care of these things which I've been meaning to donate for some time. The idea spiritually behind this practice is to let go of things -- as part of an attempt to become less attached to all the "stuff" in our lives -- or attend to the things we have forgotten, so that we have more room and attention to spend on matters of the soul.
If anyone else has thoughts on the spiritual dimensions of simplifying, please share. Thanks!