Friday, January 29, 2016

Week 5: Renounce

Renouncement. It sounds like such an archaic concept, doesn't it? Sure, these days we may “give up” things these days, but it doesn't quite have the same impact as renouncing something.

Renouncement is somewhat different than giving something up, though, yes, it does mean letting things go. It also means to reject something, to disown something. Disown. That's a harsh term, isn't it? Parents disown their kids and that's pretty much the only time we use that word.

I touched a bit on this in the last post about endurance. I talked about how I gave up my gaming system and had to deal with the subsequent feelings. I wouldn't call this renouncement, though, because I didn't give it up for my own good, but rather because we, uh, we bought a cavy. We needed the money.

However, if I disowned the system, I would have gotten rid of it because it was eating up my life. Even though I enjoy playing games and still do, I would have gotten rid of it for myself personally.

Of course, there's bigger things we can renounce in our lives, too. Perhaps we stop a certain way of living because, even though it may feel good, it ends up destroying your world and maybe even others. Maybe you renounce a job because of stress, even if it pays very well.

Okay, but how is this really all that different from giving something up?

To answer that, let me tell you a few things.

I just finished reading Level Up Your Life by Steve Kamb, of Nerd Fitness fame. He speaks of calling his goals in life “quests” because there's a more heroic quality to them by saying that. It motivated him to live his life out like a video game.

Gretchen Ruben, author of The Happiness Project, calls some of her activities meditations. She isn't just standing in life, it's her “line standing meditation.” She isn't just writing, but her “writing meditation.” It helps her focus more and gives her an almost Buddhist-like patience, even if for only a little while.

The same could be said of renouncement. There's an almost mystical quality, something a monk does. There's something to be said about adding more profundity to life, even if you're the only person that knows you're doing it.

The Challenge

Like last week, this one's hard to make people do. Some people don't have much to renounce to begin with. Others don't even know where to begin. So this is going to be part challenge, part journal.

If you can think of something to renounce, try it. If you have given something up, write about it.

Yeah, that's all I got for this week. These past two weeks haven't been so much of a challenge as it was a spiritual exercise.

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