I've done this the past few years, this year is no different.
I am not a religious person. Although I grew up in a Christian home, I no longer identify with that (or any, actually) organized religion. My problem, as I've stated before is with the organized part of the expression, rather than the religion itself. But like I said, I grew up in a Christian environment, and so some of the practices linger.
Lent, derived from the Old English word (lencten) or the Teutonic word (lenzen) for springtime, might be considered a spiritual spring cleaning: a time for taking personal inventory and cleaning out those things that are holding us back from achieving whatever it is we seek, spritually. For believers, that might be a closer relationship with the God of their choosing. For me? a better relationship with myself. Ritual fasting, or denying of some form of pleasure is part, but not the entirity of the Christian Lent. Prayer, penitence, almsgiving and self-denial are the four main tenets of Lent and I will follow those guidelines in my own way.
Prayer for me is meditation, the setting aside of time every day to be still and quiet within myself. I need that. Penitence and almsgiving - apologize when you mess up, and share. Really? How 'bout we make that an all-the-time kind of thing? I guess we all need to be reminded to play nice though, so let's take that lesson away from the process. And self-denial. Well there's the big one, huh?
I don't think I'll go the "giving up chocolate for Lent" route. I know plenty who do, and for some it really is a sacrifice. I want something that's a signal, though. Something that, when I *would* normally indulge, makes me stop and refocus on all the other parts of this trip. Because really, isn't that the point? Consumerism? Convenience just for the sake of convenience? Tiresome self-examination? hmmm...