My Fasting Challenge, Then Full Circle to Eat, Pray, and Love.
Day #1 - Thinking About This Journey
I asked myself; how will this day play out? This was my question as I started the day. Obviously, I knew exactly why I was going to do this fasting thing, and what I wanted to achieve, but could I succeed? Could my drive to cleanse my soul of suffering and all the stresses of life be able to come to pass with my own plan of action?
The night before, as I was up and down all through the night with stomach issues; I believe from a virus that had been going around, I come to realize how miserable not only I was in that moment, but I had been miserable in life in recent days as well. What was I going to do about this? Pray, of course, but my usual prayer routine would only relieve my pain and worry for a little while, and as I stepped back into the routine of life, I would still be tense. Not that I didn’t believe God spoke to me through my prayers and guided me along, but because, I lost him somehow through my days. How would I keep him with me, and hear him when he spoke reverent guidance to help me keep moving forward through my journey?
I prayed. I prayed a lot during the morning. I felt a different vitality in doing so this morning since I had made a plan and a purpose for myself through these three days. I slept. I slept a lot dozing off through my vision of what I wanted to happen through these next few days.
Later, when I awoke, I started digging deeper into my plan. What, if anything, was aloud for me to eat? How would I refrain from food, as I really knew I didn’t want to eat, but was concerned if I didn’t eat a little of something, that I would be sicker than I already was? Again, what was my purpose for fasting and would it do what I needed it to do for my body and soul?
So, I knew I wanted to fast for spiritual guidance, and for hopes it would show me a better vision of myself in order to move forward with encouragement, without the other stresses that, as of lately, have really brought me down. If I was honest with myself, I knew the worry and stress could be the problem to my stomach issues. This is how I thought to get rid of them; a desperation for connection with my God, but mostly connecting with myself with God’s help.
At the end of this day, and as I’m writing this now, I have not eaten a thing and have consumed about 140 calories of soda, and empty calories of some water. I feel like maybe soda is not the best consumption of calories, but I do believe we can make up our particular rules of calorie consumption as to how we will make it through to the end of our own challenge.
I still have to go over a few questions in my mind on what type of fasting I am really after, as I also decided to delve a little deeper into Buddha’s views. Today, I refreshed on Buddha’s way of how he found spiritual release was appropriate. I found his mindset was similar to mine when he started his transcendent journey of wanting to cleanse himself from the suffering and sorrows of this world. He actually tried the route of no consumption, but found that you could cleanse and be free even if you ingested some decent calorie intake. However, on this first day, I wasn’t sure I wanted to go that way. As commendable as I feel the ways of Buddha, and Buddhism is, my focus is on my own way to travel through my release of suffering. I can’t say that I might not eat some berries in the next couple days though. It really depends on how my body is reacting to the shock of nothing.
On this day one, it rained on and off through my regular routine day, and I heard God clearly telling me as I took my son to school, to do what I do every morning and notice the beauty of the sky, notice the beauty of the trees and the little rodents and things like squirrels that scurry around. He told me to erase the other things when I look around like; cars, houses, softball fields, anything that veered me away from a beautiful vision, the truth of my challenge. I did that. As I always do, I noticed these things, but the other things he mentioned were always somehow in my view as well. I realized it was blinding my true picture of life. It was keeping me hostage to my light of life.
I’m ending this day with a feeling of success in what I wanted to pursue. I had plenty of conversations with my savior. I listened closely to every word I heard him speak in my heart. I found a courage within myself to pursue this challenge and make it through somehow, but most of all; I found a crucial piece of me, a piece of my puzzle of putting the real me together.
I’m not sure what day two will bring, but I’m excited for tomorrow. I feel better. I think about my friend Manatita at this point, and how he always tells me I’m a part of a purpose to bring light. I finally totally get that today, as I do believe that myself. Thank you, Manatita. Day #1 is dedicated to you.
Today, I thought of the rain, and how I found God sent it on this particular day as a sign of my cleansing, so I wrote a few words about that.
The Cleansing Rain
Crystal drops that fall
off green leaves, soaking
into the ground to cleanse
The Earth. This is the beauty of
The Tale of Buddha
Day #2 - My Determination
When I woke up this Saturday morning, the sky seemed still gloomy from the rains that came the day before, but it also had a peace about it, as the leaves from the trees slightly wiggled in the breeze. I went straight into prayer. I felt a bit of a weight today. I woke a little hungry, and my desire to keep going on my fast was then burdened in my mind. So, pray, I prayed hard for God to keep me focused. Several hours later, I’m happy to say prayer works.
As I always do, I checked Facebook and my Facebook messages. I have been on the fence about whether or not to keep doing this these three days. I wondered if maybe I would get discouraged with the challenge I placed on myself if I continued to feed into what you usually see there, which is; gossip, rants, depressing thoughts, some encouragement, but for the most part, I find discouragement there. However, I think my choice to check in was a good one for me today. I found a way to retaliate from a friend who was toxic for me; in a positive way, I promise. And then, I also received a message from a young man I recently met that as of lately has been struggling and going through similar realms of sadness and sorrows as I have been. Today, I felt I could help him, show him that he was not alone, relate to him the similarities in the two of us, and make sure he understood that we all have these times in life where we question everything about ourselves and our lives in general.
This brought me to think about true friendship and encouragement. When I think about it, I can’t say I have made too many friends throughout my life that were really genuine in the sense of; willing to listen when I needed them to, ready to give their shoulder when I needed one to cry on, some friends who totally get me without judgement I have not found. Well, until now. I can very pleasingly say that I finally feel I have found some friends here that do all those things for me. I’m very grateful, and so I prayed and related this to God today.
Around two today, I started feeling a bit impatient. I only drank some water and a Glucerna drink that is filled with healthy nutrients, being careful to stick to my regiment of no solid food. So, I found myself at this time in a struggle as my body was now telling me it’s not receiving enough.
Time to pray, but is prayer enough? I thought about meditation, but let me just be honest; I have two children and to find that much time in a day to be by myself in total quietness, well, it’s not going to happen too often, and definitely not this day. Meditation, I ruled out for the remainder of this fast challenge.
Instead, I chose to listen to music. Some classical music to be exact, as it has always helped me relax and brought a serene time to pray. I am a fan of Chopin, but today I thought of Schubert’s rendition of Ave Maria. It is one of the most beautiful pieces in classical music in my opinion and I knew it would help me relax.
The day is winding down, and I feel it was harder today. Even so, I believe I made some progress with my challenge. After having the chance to encourage a friend early in the day, I’m going to end with an appreciation for a certain friendship, the kind that encourages and relates to another in a complete way. I thought about you today Paula. I feel really blessed to have met you, and this Day #2 is dedicated to you my dear friend.
Bow your head,
hands to face, let
go and welcome in
Day #3 - Maybe I Like Buddha's Way Today
The morning was a little confused for me today. My stomach was making the most horrendous noises ever, and I couldn’t seem to focus on my talk with God like I usually did when I open my eyes every day. However, I did find a way to take deep breaths and do so. Not the type of talk I like, because like I said, my mind felt confused. I almost lapsed back into a state of feeling totally depressed, but I didn’t.
If anything could go wrong on this third day of fasting, it went wrong. Our hot-water pump had a short in it, and therefore, our water wasn’t heating, thereby, no hot, relaxing, bath this morning. And wouldn't you know it, the night I decide I will get up and take one in the morning instead of taking one the night before. Ugh! As you can tell a very challenging day.
I got back in bed after that upsetting discovery of no hot bath, and I tried to clear my mind and think a little. How would I pull off this day? At this point, does it mean a lot to me to make it through without eating a thing, or do I feel that I have obtained the things I needed to gain, and I should just, not rush, but maybe eat a little Sunday dinner with my children and parents like I normally do? I haven’t told any of them what I was doing, and thankfully they have not really noticed. Most of the time we make our own plates and scurry off to eat in our private corners. There is no more table eating for meals, as life as we know it has gotten too complicated, and sometimes, well, a lot of times; we aren’t even home at the same time to sit down and eat a meal together. However, Sunday is the day we are all together usually, and we do sit with each other. So, do I want to miss out on the only day to sit with my family as a family united and talk over a meal?
I thought about one of my favorite movies, and actually one of the inspirations behind this challenge I put on myself; Eat, Pray, Love. The movie was so inspiring to me, because the main character was a writer who was struggling through life, and even though, seemingly, she had everything she wanted, she was lacking something within herself; a spiritual guidance; the meaning of Life. Though, I can’t travel across the world to find mine, it was an uplifting story.
This character, which was based on the true story of writer, Liz Gilbert, was very mystifying to watch, and I thought about viewing it again during this challenge, because I hadn’t watched it in quite a while. I didn’t get to watch it but when I get more time maybe I will, but I remember certain parts of the movie; the way it displayed the joy of eating, the joy of finding true friendships, the joy of love, and peace through a spiritual guide, and transcendent exercises with other people.
I thought about Buddha’s way of discovery at this point, and the fact he started off trying to fast away the sorrows he felt about the world, then realizing it could be found without starvation. I believe I made my decision to just; Eat, Pray, and Love the rest of this journey. The last day would not exactly be eating too much, but I would eat and take time to enjoy eating, take time to enjoy family, and conversation. I would pray on and off through my day as I have been doing and truly be thankful on this last day of my challenge continuing into the days ahead. I believe I have gained more wisdom through this, and more reality of beauty in the world and shutting out negative circumstances, especially ones that were not mine to view.
All in all, I believe my three-day journey has been a success. I have learned to relax more, pray more, notice the beauty in the world more without seeing the other unnecessary objects that tend to taint a view. I learned that I could be happy in any circumstance, as I was miserable when the challenge started. I was unhappy, and although I still have that sad part of me, I have learned my own way to deal with the torture of that emotion. When I think what I have learned, I think of a friend that has desperately tried, I believe, to teach me this very thing. Val Karas this Day #3 is dedicated to you.
Although, this is the end of my three day journey, I feel I will continue this exercise on and off now through my life. It has helped and I feel better. Thanks for reading! :)
Sadness reigns in
my heart, but darkness
apart. Peace and Love
reside in me.