Friday, March 11, 2011

Goodbye Smack Talk- Welcome Happy Thoughts

Ash Wednesday was this week- the official kickoff of the season of Lent, and for the next 40 something days, I will doing my best to not talk any smack.

I am not Catholic, I do enjoy the self imposed challenge- well, maybe "enjoy" isn't the right word... I am drawn to to the concept of introspection, and of lengthening and growing by giving up something in the 6 weeks before Easter.

I always try to pick something that I really like and will actually have to work to give up. I like it to be an actual challenge, but I also want to be able to actually do it. I don't go so far as to try for anything that I might blow it on. Chocolate was a very, very hard one for me. I've also given up wine one year and coffee another. Apparently, I was slightly unpleasant during the coffee break year, so last year, when talking to my kids about what I would choose to give, they strongly encouraged me not to pick coffee. In fact, they decided they wanted in on the challenge as well, and we all gave up meat for the season.

My Girl Child had a great idea for Lent this year. We were going to give up excess media via the computer. We would still use the internet for school and work, but random time wasting, Facebook etc, was going to go. I was totally on board as I know I waste a fair amount of time getting sidetracked on the internet.

Then, we looked at the calendar and realized that for most of Lent, we will be on our trip across the Southwest. For one thing, who knows how much internet we will even have access to from our tent in the Grand Canyon. There goes the challenge. For another, when we do have internet access, it will probably be our primary means of communicating with our friends and family. I knew we'd want to post updates on Facebook and blogs as we go, so that made our choice less logical.

Boy Child suggested giving up meat again, but I wasn't so sure. At home, we can make a big pot of beans or potato soup a little more easily than I can at a camp stove, and when eating on the road, there is a lot of meat to be had.

I decided instead to try to give up talking smack. I know it's kind of a broad thing, but for my purposes, I'm defining smack as general negative and unpleasant talk. I've noticed lately how easy it is for our whole family to just get on a negative roll with the way we speak. Somebody's driving too slowly in front of us, and off we go with the negativity. It's not nice, and it's not a very good example for my kids. So for me, I'm trying to follow the advice my Grandma gave me- "If you don't have anything nice to say, then don't say anything at all."

This is not going to be an easy one for me. In fact, my blogging may drop substantially because my rants will be off limits. It is completely possible that sometimes, I will have absolutely nothing nice to say and will be forced into silence.

I am only 2 days in to this, and I'm amazed at how often I find myself talking smack in my own head even. The very first morning, as if God thought it would be amusing to really test me, I had to drive to town at 7:30 for a meeting. I've mentioned before my tendencies towards grumpy mornings...well, I probably had to redirect my thoughts at least 5 times in the 30 minute drive.

But, I could see a huge difference in how I felt when I consciously stopped thinking about how many annoying things there were around me. Day 2 was another early morning, which turned into a 12 hour day in town that included a trip to Walmart. Now, if there was ever a place where I could talk smack without even trying, it would be on a trip to Walmart, but I resisted. Let me tell you... it was a challenge alright. I am thinking God has a very good sense of humor.

So, I hope you'll wish me luck in stopping the smack talk, and help me on my path. I personally am welcoming the happy thoughts. Has anyone else ever tried to give up negative smack talk? How did you do? I'd love any tips on making it through the challenges of the season of Lent.