Playing with Lent
Today is the first day of Lent. It’s a long time since I acknowledged it. Like Valentines Day I can love and show love anytime. I can commit to giving up a habit or focusing on developing one anytime. 40 days of lent might be a good time to focus on a challenge, as many others sync up with their commitment. It's good to have a support buddy or ten.
Ash Wednesday signifies this start in the Catholic practice, where there is a special mass to acknowledge the start where ash is crossed on your forehead. I was noticing as I crossed the road a girl with this black mark on her lovely face. It takes the eyes up. The brain noticing something unusual takes the eyes up to investigate.
I noticed many eyes look down as I passed them. Today I happened to be having a very free day and chose some pink and blue striped socks to bridge the gap between my calf length pants and Converse. I must admit it was not my best fashion ensemble but it did make me smile when others would take in the socks and giggle or change their expression. One woman stopped talking to her colleague as I passed, and nearly fell over herself as her eyes followed my feet. This was all very amusing to me, and reminded me of something.
A while ago I went through a phase of dying my hair not natural colours, pink and purple and blue. I thought it was fun but many would just ask, why Fiona? Maybe it was some sort of madness I needed to get out of my system. I’m looking professionally respectable at the moment, which doesn’t turn as many heads as a flash of pink or a rainbow of purples did.
Similarly I noticed where people’s eyes would go when they passed me. Usually their eyes went up to investigate what was different about my head. In the beginning I would have forgotten what colour my own hair was and just became aware of the looks. Then I remembered, and enjoyed the observations. My observation of theirs.
Something really interesting happened. As people looked with their eyes at the top of my head, they would go up. Their whole body followed the eyes up by their internal curiosity, often drawn there before they were even conscious of staring. But get this. As they went up, I went up. I was getting, mini Alexander lessons all over the place as I sported a bright blue fringe. Clearly mirroring was happening. Isn't it nice to think I gave someone an UP direction and they in turn gave me an UP direction.
Now it wasn’t my intention to draw attention. It was simply a wish I had for a long time to experiment with colour, but probably never had the bravery to do it. So colouring my hair was a little leap into the unknown. Isn’t every trip to the hairdresser, or home attempt with a bottle of colour or bleach in the bathroom? But playing with my hair was something I was doing for me, regardless of what the world or my mother thought. An act of boredom more than anything. But it taught me so much.
I think I will focus on doing something fresh and different for Lent. Maybe not every day, because that would be predictable, but a general commitment to exploring creative ways to dress, or draw attention somehow to help others in gentle ways interrupt their days for a moment. Put a smile or bewildered expression on someone’s face. Or let them bask in a moment of judgement if that is all they want to do.
For Lent I am going to play.
What are you not going to do?
Love Fiona X
PS If you don't know what "giving an UP direction " means try an Alexander lesson or workshop with me or a teacher near you. Or play with it your self. Imagine your head is a big balloon floating UP towards the sky and let your body follow it. Notice the difference in allowing your head to lead Up with this thought rather than trying to sit up straight. The movement should be head led and not tightening your back. If you find difficulty a teacher can put you in the right direction.
I am Fiona and I am exploring themes of meeting resistances and allowing ways through. The constant weeding, recognising the stuff that's in the way to live easier.