40 Days of Spirituality encourages spiritual renewal through Instagram


Owen Stidman/The Daily Northwestern

Free spiritual activities are offered at Parkes Hall every week.

Rayna Song, Reporter

Every year, Religious and Spiritual Life puts on 40 Days of Spirituality, a program organized to celebrate spiritual renewal. This year, the 40 days last from Feb. 1 to March 11.

Since Feb. 1, Tiffany Song, a program assistant in Religious & Spiritual Life, has been posting a spiritual suggestion every day on the program’s official Instagram page. The posts range from “make a calming or nostalgic playlist” to “eat vegetarian today.”

Song said among all the activities under 40 Days, her personal favorite has been the daily Instagram posts, also referred to as the 40 Days Calendar, because the posts can be very cute and fun with the use of emojis and stickers.

The Instagram page has more than one hundred followers, and many are Northwestern students.

Bienen freshman Eugene Hwang, who follows the Instagram page, said he enjoyed the posts that allowed him to calm down or get closer to other people, such as making a prayer list or forgiving a grudge.

“It’s good to spend time on something to calm down for a bit and love life and everything that comes with it,” Hwang said. “Life is always hectic with a schedule dictating our lives, but the 40 days really gives us time to take some time to enjoy life around us.”

Victoria Linner, a Communication senior, said she remembered one of the posts suggested to “go to bed early tonight.”

“I remember thinking to myself, ‘oh yeah that’s not gonna happen,’” Linner said.

Linner said the Instagram posts have the potential to be helpful to the community, but it’s probably doing more for individual followers, because people are more likely to be involved in individual actions than community-focused ones.

In addition to the daily Instagram posts, 40 Days of Spirituality also offers other activities such as Soup and Substance, a simple meal of soup and bread held every Wednesday in which participants discuss topics related to spirituality, and Walk the Labyrinth, where participants walk through a web for relaxation in Parkes Hall. Song said all of these programs are open to students and faculty, and they are all free of charge.

Song added that 40 Days has been actively adapting to the needs of its participants. She said there was a woman who wanted to come to Soup and Substance, but had a gluten sensitivity, so the program organizers made arrangements to have gluten-free soup for everyone.

Song said the program would like to reach more Northwestern students, because a lot of the participants are NU staff members. She would want to learn what students would like to see or discuss in the program, what they would like to practice or if they know someone who practices spiritual exercises, such as tai chi.

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