This Year I wanted to participate in Lent. The idea of 'giving something up' was tripping me and I couldn't settle on what I will fast for the 40 days*. Then I found some questions and words(and a book I've yet to have enough baby nap opportunities to finish reading) that really helped change my perspective of Lent. Rather than a denying of self, Lent was to be a time to set something aside to focus on my relationship with God. To learn to listen.


How I came up with this Lent-doodle/project/challenge/fasting thingy

When I use to go to the occasional lecture at university, I found that it was easier to listen and focus on the speaker and their words by doodling in my book. It's a blend of daydreaming while being focused only on the important points. The daydreaming helped to connect dots and the focus helped with distractions. Plus I wanted to do more drawings with what little time I could snatch from nap times, but the need for perfection always got in the way. (hands up if you know what I mean?!) This Lent practice has meant release from the pressure of creating for my shop + totes brilliant as an exercise in setting aside my time and attention to focus on my spiritual health and relationship with God. Less on 'getting it right' and more on just practicing sitting and being present with my inner reflection and with Spirit. Doodles help me to focus as well as to get out of my own head. I find it's a great balance of right brain free-flowing thought with left-brain boundaries created by the design/composition, silhouettes or typography. Having a deadline also helps to move forward instead of using imperfection as an excuse not to finish.

14 days in and it's been nice to carve out a few moments to reconnect and recover my spiritual relationships. There has been some days I've had to dig deep to find some teeny scrap of perseverance to choose to sit down with the ink pen and paper instead of crashing in bed. Some days, I have bigger doodles, others are mini only-just-mangaged-to-get-10 minutes doodles. Some will be private & personal only to be seen by me and thrown away once it's released from my mind/hands. Other days I may even miss my deadline - hopefully that will be rare and I can catch up. To be honest it has been hardest to show work that hasn't had the time to be finessed to my high standards. No photoshop to do touch ups. No ctrl-Z.  It's vulnerable and scary. BUT, to surrender to the challenge and not expecting perfection (whatever that means?!) has released the pressure I put on myself. It has also invited more fun and JOY into my work again. I'm hoping the JOY will spill over to you too? p.s See all the Lent doodle drawings here.   *Traditionally it's 40 days from Ash Wednesday until Good Friday, with Sundays being rest days.

Madison Whiteneck