Practice & Voice

Lent Meditation For All Souls




Lent is a 40 day Christian ritual which begins on Ash Wednesday, March 1, and goes until Easter Sunday, April 16. It has been historically understood to be a time of preparing the heart. This is done by letting go of something that cuts us off or distracts us from a relationship with our deepest values.

This Lent Meditation for All Souls is not in the Christian tradition but rather, is an inclusive approach to Lent. Our Lent Meditation is open to all who are interested in experiencing their lives in depth and who yearn to feel more grounded and connected.  

In a daily meditation we’ll explore these simple, human questions through words from various artists, writers, and thinkers:  

“What do we need to let go of right now?
“What is worth intentionally opening ourselves up to?” 

Each morning (except Sundays) we’ll share a new message and reflections from our ministers. 






DAY FORTY

Only after disaster can we be resurrected.
Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club

I once heard of a hospital chaplain saying: “We are all trying to make sense of the disaster which is our life.” Disaster is normal, resurrection seems rarer, sometimes out of reach. Can we appreciate this day as a day of resurrection in the midst of disaster? A new sun, a new day, a new chance to live into resurrection.    —Joseph Boyd

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DAY THIRTY-NINE

The pain of parting is nothing to the joy of meeting again.
—Charles Dickens

Meeting and parting are commonplace. We fail to realize how special meeting is until we are forced to part. When you meet someone today, appreciate it by saying quietly to yourself “thank you.”    —Joseph Boyd

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DAY THIRTY-EIGHT

Breathe. Let go. And remind yourself that this very moment is the only one you know you have for sure.
—Oprah Winfrey

One moment at a time…one moment at a time. We can feel overwhelmed by deadlines, worry about an unknown future, but what we have is both small and endless…a moment. Breathe deeply at least once today. Savor it.    —Joseph Boyd

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DAY THIRTY-SEVEN

This is love: to fly toward a secret sky, to cause a hundred veils to fall each moment. First to let go of life. Finally, to take a step without feet.
Rumi

How do we take a step without feet? That is the mystery of flight. We are supported by the air, the water, by mystery…all of life is supporting us to have the courage to risk flying, We can do it.    —Joseph Boyd

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DAY THIRTY-SIX

When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be. When I let go of what I have, I receive what I need.
Lao Tsu

Who might we be, if we let go of who we think we are? Perhaps we would just be ourselves, but know it for the first time. We may be missing something by holding on too tightly to an idea of who we are and who we are not.    —Joseph Boyd

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DAY THIRTY-FIVE

To let go is to release the images and emotions, the grudges and fears, the clingings and disappointments of the past that bind our spirit.
Jack Kornfield

When we are bound up, we have a hard time imagining freedom. All we see is our pain, our fears, our regrets. Kindness is the key. Meeting our pain, fear and regret with a warm kindness sets us free.    —Joseph Boyd

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DAY THIRTY-FOUR

The only journey is the one within.
Rainer Maria Rilke

What does it matter where we are, if our spirit is not at rest? Through our experience of travel and exploration, we are always in process of uncovering our truth. When things get tough, go deep within…don’t run away (unless there’s a tiger chasing you).    —Joseph Boyd

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DAY THIRTY-THREE

And know that I am with you always; yes, to the end of time.
Matthew 28:20

Memory is our connection to the past. We feel this connection through ritual, and through the ways we live our lives. All those loved ones we’ve lost…they are here….right where we are. They stay in our hearts, and can guide our lives. How do we honor this?    —Joseph Boyd

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DAY THIRTY-TWO

Every day is a journey, and the journey itself is home.
Matsuo Basho

In American culture we place a premium on product, accomplishment, end result. Marginal figures in culture like Basho offer a different vision of living. It opens us up to the possibility of arriving fully in our lives, right here, right now, no matter what the result is.    —Joseph Boyd

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DAY THIRTY-ONE

Drive gently over the stones.
Jonathan Swift

We all experience rough patches, rough terrain, bumpy travels. When this is the case, Swift has great advice – be gentle. Don’t force yourself to speed through. Be gentle with yourself.    —Joseph Boyd

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DAY THIRTY

We are not saints, but we have kept our appointment. How many people can boast as much?
Samuel Beckett, Waiting for Godot

Many times we may feel we are waiting in vain…waiting for relief, pleasure or fulfillment of some kind. Our hearts tells us when we have appointments to keep, for reasons we may vaguely understand. Can we boast today that we have kept our appointment, that we were true to our heart?    —Joseph Boyd

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DAY TWENTY-NINE

A weed is a plant we’ve found no use for yet.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

In the Zen tradition, it is very special for something to be useless, without utility. It is special because it has no choice but to be itself. It cannot be fashioned to be made useful or appealing…it is what it is. See if you can value the useless today perhaps you’ll see something you’ve never seen before.    —Joseph Boyd

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DAY TWENTY-EIGHT

When mistrust comes in, loves goes out.
Irish proverb

Love is built on trust. Trust opens us up, and mistrust causes us to close up. We don’t want to be hurt like we’ve been hurt in the past never again. Developing trust in our resilience can allow love back in.  —Joseph Boyd

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DAY TWENTY-SEVEN

We are called to be fruitful – not successful, not productive, not accomplished. Success comes from strength, stress, and human effort. Fruitfulness comes from vulnerability and the admission of our own weakness.
Henri Nouwen

Being fruitful is an undervalued trait. Someone who plants seeds today knows they may not see the fruit of their plantingThey plant it anyway. This an act of fait faith that fruit will appear even though they may never see it.    —Joseph Boyd

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DAY TWENTY-SIX

So I say to you, Ask and it will be given to you; search, and you will find; knock and the door will be opened for you.
Matthew 7:7

A cynical mind questions the point of even trying it assumes failure. What if we assume success? We may not get exactly what we envision, but we may find what we are searching for.    —Joseph Boyd

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DAY TWENTY-FIVE

Those who are willing to be vulnerable move among mysteries.
Theodore Roethke

Roethe in a conversation with Sigmund Freud questioned whether something is more or less meaningful, because it is fleeting, impermanent, transient. Vulnerability answers the question completely in the affirmative: Be open to life, though it is fleeting, mysterious. Let us participate in it fully while we can.    —Joseph Boyd

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DAY TWENTY-FOUR

When the heart weeps for what it has lost, the soul laughs for what it has found
Sufi aphorism

Weeping and laughing are intimately connected physiologically and spiritually. They come from the same place…deep feeling and response to our experience. When the heart weeps, the soul laughs to remind us that there is more life available to us. Tears can open us to this truth.    —Joseph Boyd

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DAY TWENTY-THREE

Forgiveness is not an occasional act, it is a constant attitude.
Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr

It can feel easier to be vindictive, justified in our anger toward real wrongdoing. It takes real courage to let pain go, in order to allow healing to take place. Forgiveness is not a question of right or wrong, but rather of choosing pain or healing.    —Joseph Boyd

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DAY TWENTY-TWO

Joy cannot be held at heel: it must be let go. Joy is a pilgrim virtue. It is a gift that walks, walks on the path of life…
—Desmond Tutu

Are you holding joy at the heel, not letting yourself get carried away for fear of disappointment? Let go. Let it walk you in your living today.  

—Joseph Boyd

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DAY TWENTY-ONE

We get most upset with those we love because they are close tous and we know that they are aware of our weaknesses. . . If only we could learn to live with our inadequacies, our frailties, our vulnerabilities, we would not need to try so hard to push away those who really know us
—Desmond Tutu

Suffering without openness to others is a painful disease. We are all infected, and yet there is healing medicine. Openness to others in joy and sorrow, in our inadequacies and frailties, is the medicine.    —Joseph Boyd

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DAY TWENTY

The strongest love is the love that can demonstrate its fragility.
Paulo Coehl

Love’s strength lies in its great vulnerability. It is willing to endure loss, endure failure, endure confusion, and keep on going. Vulnerability embraced and embodied is love incarnate.    —Joseph Boyd

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DAY NINETEEN

For what shall it profit a man, if he gain the whole world, and suffer the loss of his soul?
Mark 8:36

There is much to be gained and accomplished on this day. What is the most important gain for your soul? This clarity will give you peace.    —Joseph Boyd

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DAY EIGHTEEN

If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you.
Gospel of Thomas

There is a life hidden in you waiting to see the light of day. It has been waiting all your life, since you were held in the womb of your mother. Will today be the the first day it feels sunshine?    —Joseph Boyd

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DAY SEVENTEEN

When life seems hopeless, rearrange things for a dose of dopeness.
Kid Cudi

Hope and hopelessness are two sides of the same coin. Our lives can be seen through either hope or hopelessness given our mood in the moment. The trick is learning to see both sides, without getting trapped in one way of seeing, one way of being.    —Joseph Boyd

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DAY SIXTEEN

People have a hard time letting go of their suffering. Out of a fear of the unknown, they prefer suffering that is familiar.
Thich Nhat Hanh

Sometimes familiar circumstances can feel comforting and sometimes they can cut us off from hidden potentials of being. It is a deep practice to look for newness in the familiar. If we are intentional about looking, we will see it.    —Joseph Boyd

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DAY FIFTEEN

Laughter gives us distance. It allows us to step back from an event, deal with it and then move on.
Bob Newhart

Laughter gives us the gift of release and perspective. It frees us up to look at our problems in a different light, highlighting the comedy of our bumbling along. If laughter feels too hard sometimes, try smiling…you might grow to like it.    —Joseph Boyd

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DAY FOURTEEN

Creativity requires the courage to let go of certainties.
Eric Fromm

Creativity  is open to possibility as well as danger. When we are uncertain, we feel afraid…but this is creativity bringing us closer to the heartbeat of life. Embrace uncertainty as part of the creative process.    —Joseph Boyd

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DAY THIRTEEN

When you’re passionate about something, you want it to be all it can be. But in the endgame of life, I fundamentally believe the key to happiness is letting go of that idea of perfection.
Debra Messing

When we see Perfection, not so much as flawlessness or being without blemish, but rather as maturity and completion, we won’t need to give up its idea. See it as the natural organic process and progress of human existence and evolution to its fullest, and as the most accurate expression and experience.    —Bishop Carlton Pearson

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DAY TWELVE

Dust to dust, ashes to ashes. Is that all?
Dejan Stojanov

As we look closer at our lives, we see that we seem to be more than the sum of our stories, more than our circumstances, more than what we can quantify or define. If we are more than the sum of our experiences, who are we? Allow yourself to remain curious about this.    —Joseph Boyd

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DAY ELEVEN

A person’s world is only as big as their heart.
—Tonya A. Moore

I once speculated that gurus, saints, and all other spiritual leaders who seemed at peace, content, or even happy (especially with mundane or uncomfortable lives) must be living in a self-imposed ignorant illusion.. Both the saint and I set the tone for our perception and experience of the world, our world. Attention isn’t an illusion but a filter or rule we all create and live within. I have the power to mindfully create my personal hell or heaven to live in.    —Yadenee Hail

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DAY TEN

I think anybody who has had a long relationship and has had a really hard time letting go, wants to feel like it’s not all for naught, and it’s meaningful, because it makes you who you are.
—Rashida Jones

One thing I’ve learned, for sure, in my nearly 64 years living on this planet, is that everything somehow works in concert with and for a higher purpose of and for human beings, being human, including the good, the bad and the ugly! Everything has its season and everything ultimately has its reason. It is never just what we’re going through, but what and where we are growing to. We don’t just go with the flow, we grow with the flow, even when the flow becomes a flood, as it often does; and that’s how we remain current as well as in the current of the tides within the time continuum..   —Bishop Carlton Pearson

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DAY NINE

Joy in looking and comprehending is nature’s most beautiful gift.
—Albert Einstein

Some circumstances are out of our control and can’t he helped or prevented. No matter our circumstances, the question remains: Am I willing to show up with all my heart today, no matter what happens? This is the path of joy.   —Joseph Boyd

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DAY EIGHT

If you hear a voice within you say, ‘You are not a painter, ‘ then by all means paint…and that voice will be silenced.
—Vincent van Gogh

Voices cloaked in the disguise of reason whisper from corners of our hearts dark claims on who and what we aren’t, “I’m not good, worthy, smart, enough, whole, lovable etc.” They even shout from the cultural podium of assumed authority, claims on the nature of humanity, “We aren’t loving beings, we are innately selfish and evil, we are doomed etc.” Conscious creators, rebel by being: being love, being compassionate, being vulnerable.   —Yadenee Hailu

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DAY SEVEN

It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all, in which case you have failed by default.
—J.K. Rowling

In the Harry Potter books, even Harry and Hermione make mistakes! Lots of them. And of course, that is how they discover their true powers and potential. Fear of failure is paralyzing.  It chokes the joy, creativity, magic and love out of our daily lives. So why not live today – and tomorrow – assuming you will make mistakes.  Then set your intention to have a great day anyway! It’s possible. I promise.    —Rev. Barbara Prose

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DAY SIX

“Open your arms to change, but don’t let go of your values.”
—Dalai Lama

Being open is not the same thing as passivity. Openness demands commitment, and it is only valuable when shaped by our values. What do I value this day? Be open to that.    —Joseph Boyd

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DAY FIVE

Wherever you go, go with all your heart.”
—Confucius

Destination is not as important as your will to get there. We focus so much on what we think will be our outcomes. But truthfully it is the journey that gives us depth. “Shoulda, coulda, woulda” refrains are best known as regrets. Regrets keep you from moving on … unless you write a hit song about it.    —Rev. Gerald Davis

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DAY FOUR

“What’s the greater risk? Letting go of what people think – or letting go of how I feel, what I believe, and who I am?”
—Brene Brown

You are the loneliest when you are away from, unaware of, or missing part of yourself. You are most lonely and depressed when you have lost your essence or forgotten who you are. We spend most of our lives trying to impersonate who we think people want us to be and in the process, often lose or forfeit who we really are in our authentic selves and souls. Awakening to this reality is an honest “born again” experience.    —Bishop Carlton Pearson

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DAY THREE

“There’s an important difference between giving up and letting go.”
—Jessica Hatchigan

Letting go is not the same as giving up. When we let go, we allow ourselves to see which struggles are worthwhile and which ones are a waste of time and energy. It gives us the choice of how we want to persevere.

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DAY TWO

“Behind all this, some great happiness is hiding.”
—Yehuda Amichai

Disappointments to tragedies can fill our vantage point, burying light-hearted play and happiness in disillusionment. Happiness hides, like a child innocently playing hide-and-seek, among the muck of life. To join the game, force is futile. I am the hidden happiness, the child, longing to be in flow, to play with the universe.    —Yadenee Hailu

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DAY ONE

“We must be willing to let go of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.”
—Joseph Campbell

I invite you to take some time today to tune into your own voice. As you turn down the volume of the other voices inside your head, and find your own, ask yourself, “Are my current plans for my life in sync with my own knowing?” If not, perhaps it’s time to set the old plans aside, and go back to the drawing board.    —Rev. Barbara Prose

2 Comments

  1. Claudia Arthrell

    Can you sign me up for these as a daily e-mail?

    1. Hi Claudia,
      If you sign up for our weekly email list, the Lent link is included.
      Unfortunately, our link to subscribe is not working at the moment. Please email communications@allsoulschurch.org and we’ll get you set up.

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