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In 2021, Lent begins on Wednesday 17th of February (Ash Wednesday) and lasts six-and-a-half weeks.

Life can feel very busy. There are demands from every direction, pressures and stresses that can roll around in our heads: things that we worry might happen, or things that we are afraid might not.

Picture for a moment all of the noise falling away, as you sit in the sand of a silent dune and experience peace.
This is a place where you can breathe, where you can have time to relax and, hopefully, have time to think without fear or judgement.

We may not be able to transport you to your own private wilderness, but over the next six weeks we are offering a menu of small and simple ways to pull you out of routines and ruts and help make space for new thoughts and new directions.

A little forward planning is needed – as with starting exercise – you need to think ahead about the practical things you might need to such as:

  • a quiet place to sit.
  • a route to walk.
  • an amount of time – ten minutes will do!.

These are things to set aside as space for these activities

Week 5 & 6 – Release Your Grip

Now we’re onto Week 5 and 6. You can choose to keep the activities from the last four weeks or swap them out for some of the ideas below.

Making and eating food in a group
Visit a Forest

Take some time out this week to visit a forest or woodland. This should be a sensory journey, thinking about the sights, sounds and smells. Touch the bark of the trees, smell the flowers. Think about the opposition between the hard and soft surfaces, and between the enclosure of the trees and the large space of the woods. There are many benefits for both emotional and physical health when you are in these spaces. For more click here.

Morning routine
Chew your food (mindful eating)

Chew your food (mindful eating)
There are a range of benefits to eating slowly. Firstly this can become a mindfulness exercise in itself. You can use a meal time as a time of intentional rest, but where you make an effort to be conscious of what you are doing. Recognise what you are doing each time you chew, reflect on the flavours and textures. Be deliberate and acknowledge what you are doing. Allow yourself a little longer than normal to finish your food. There are also many potential health benefits as your brain is more likely to register how full you are and reduce your food intake.
More Information

Daily reflection
Breathing exercise for relaxation

This calming breathing technique takes just a few minutes and can be done anywhere.
You will get the most benefit if you do it regularly, as part of your daily routine.
You can do it standing up, sitting in a chair that supports your back, or lying on a bed or on the floor.
Make yourself as comfortable as you can. If you can, loosen any clothes that restrict your breathing.
If you’re lying down, place your arms a little bit away from your sides, with the palms up. Let your legs be straight, or bend your knees so your feet are flat on the floor.
If you’re sitting, place your arms on the chair arms.
If you’re sitting or standing, place both feet flat on the ground. Whatever position you’re in, place your feet roughly hip-width apart.
Let your breath flow as deep down into your belly as is comfortable, without forcing it.
Try breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth.
Breathe in gently and regularly. Some people find it helpful to count steadily from 1 to 5. You may not be able to reach 5 at first.
Then, without pausing or holding your breath, let it flow out gently, counting from 1 to 5 again, if you find this helpful.
Keep doing this for 3 to 5 minutes.
Whilst you are doing this hold your thoughts lightly. As your mind wanders, let the flow your breath in and out bring you back into the present moment.

Switch off at night
Permission to waste time – listen to a whole album – have a nap – read a fiction book

This is a moment that is just for you. You don’t have to produce anything, to achieve anything, but time that is set aside to do something that has no point other that the joy of passing the time.
This is not always as easy as you might think. Try to have a period uninterrupted of at least half an hour.
Don’t use any screens, as time passes to fast with these.
Give yourself permission to fidget, to be distracted, but stick with the time, allow it to be wasted on a simple experience.

40 days 40 items
Centering prayer

Centering prayer
Centering Prayer is a method of prayer, which gets us ready to receive the gift of God’s presence, traditionally called contemplative prayer. It consists of quietly allowing God’s presence and action within you. It helps the development of prayer by quieting our brains to make space for God’s presence.
Centering Prayer helps the movement from more active modes of prayer — talking out loud or in your head — into a receptive prayer of resting in God. It emphasizes prayer as a personal relationship with God. At the same time, it is a discipline to foster and serve this relationship by a regular, daily practice of prayer.
Choose a sacred word as the symbol to focus on while you centre yourself
Sitting comfortably and with eyes closed, settle briefly and silently introduce the sacred word as the symbol of making space for God
When engaged with your thoughts or feelings, return ever-so gently to the sacred word.
At the end of the prayer period, remain in silence with eyes closed for a couple of minutes.

Download Resources

Download our Lent resource and poster pack here. It includes a Word document with all the activities and leaflets and posters to help share our Lent message with others.