For many Christians, Feb 14 begins the observing of Lent in preparation for Easter. Lent speaks to the three vows of obedience, chastity, and poverty where we are asked to give something up for 40 days (40 has the meaning of overcoming of difficulties). The three vows are practices found in all spiritual paths that help us detach from an over emphasis on the material and mental striving and turn to the spiritual and communal.

No matter what our spiritual or religious orientation, we can each prepare for the advent of spring – a time of new beginnings and transformations by engaging in a “deep clean” in mind, heart, or hand. Below is an excerpt about the three vows from We’re Not Meant to Die:

Obedience strengthens our relationship to the Divine, forging and reinforcing our commitment to the Alliance. To “give ear,” “listen,” and “obey” are all synonymous with “obedience.” To do so denotes a movement or action toward being in relationship to another. With regard to the world of Spirit, it refers to turning our ear(s) toward spiritual reality to hear its messages and pay attention to our place in that spiritual order.

Chastity represents faithfulness to the One. It is sobriety, the absence of intoxication, be it to sex, drugs, alcohol, money, emotional outbursts, obsessive thoughts, etc., or any addictive behavior. Chastity implies being measured, balanced in its fourfold dimensionality: proportion, measure, rhythm, and pace, and especially the first two. To be unchaste is to worship something in the place of God.

Poverty means detachment from material and mental acquisition. The commandment correlated here is the Tenth, coveting―avarice, greed, possessing, and claiming what doesn’t belong to you. We have to make room for the sacred to enter. We can’t clutter the space we inhabit externally with excess goods and internally with excess thoughts and feelings, stories, and fantasies. By poverty, we are asked to detach mentally from constructing conclusionary thoughts, future-based thoughts and ideas, and many other extraneous and actually untrue beliefs and conceptions to which we become attached.