The Chaos I Need a Break From
With the occurrence of the earthquake in Mexico and hurricane in Puerto Rico this past week, I have spent the recent mornings glued to the news media’s horrible pictures on my phone. I Whatsapp’ed my family members to check in on them. They were fine, far from the source of the tremors in Mexico, nonetheless I was frozen with disbelief that such colossal horrible events could be happening so close together.
Side Tracked Again With The News
In my last post I shared how I was recommitting to only focus on that which I could influence for the better yet, within days, my beloved Mexico was shaken again. My frantic fingers scrolled my phone through images of rubble and more flooding as I sat on my yoga mat at 3:30 am.Intending to push the phone away so I could move my limbs into a pose, five minutes of intending to “just check in” turned into 45 minutes of sobbing.
Once again I’m a little more familiar with that fine line that is so easily blurred for me in knowing when to shut off the news I take in. After a certain point of getting the picture of what has happened, browsing any further only traumatizes me beyond usefulness.
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The Fight For Claiming My Attention
It took the whole of my mornings those days to be fully present to complete 3 things in the time I usually complete 9. It took effort to step away from the phone, let my heart feel all that terror, let myself send them as much love, comfort and strength as I could and then disengage to be fully present with the day ahead of me.
Reclaiming My Focus
In looking at my calendar in passing on Wednesday as I rushed out the door, I noticed the fall equinox was this week and a warmth of comfort and familiarity came over me in remembering my biannual self care ritual of fasting.
I’ve been doing 9 day fasts at the the fall and spring equinoxes for a few years now and I am amazed each and every time at how much I receive from it. What in the past I determinedly approached as a wrestling match with my own physical and mental urges, I now turn to as a welcomed and familiar repose from my life in the midst of my life.
Digging Deeper For Equilibrium
Feeling off with overwhelm in processing my own life storms and watching the world survive its own, I’m embracing what I see as a time of descent into myself. At a time when I feel like I have to stretch and dig deeper into my reserves for resourcefulness, wisdom and strength, fasting has undeniably provided that for me over the years with increasing intensity.
The Juggling Act
In a perfect world, I would of decluttered my home and done my best to put my finances in order in the weeks leading up to this cleanse. In my actual corner of planet earth though, I’ve been in the midst of being trained for a new job these past few weeks and studying my buns off while maintaining my old job. Between laundry loads, dinner, packing lunches and making sure to get in that cuddle time with my favorite people, the last thing on my mind has been decluttering and whipping my finances into shape.
Accept the Messiness of Life
In the midst of a life that has been anything but neat and tidy, I’m looking forward to dive into this fast with zeal. Although I don’t have a choice in lightening up my workload, there’s no waiting for a “better time” that will never come. What I will do is cut myself some slack on the home front and let it unravel so to speak, dust bunnies and all, as something has to give.
Find Your Way
There are as many ways to fast as there are people and I encourage you to find what works for you and your lifestyle. I keep it super simple by drinking around 3 liters of water a day, snacking on a mix of walnuts, figs and fruits and taking an Ayurvedic intestinal cleanser named Triphala every night before bed. If I wake up groggy wanting to slip back into bed when I really need to get going with my day, I’ll make a green or black tea with honey to get me going. The one sticking point that has people hesitate exploring a fast is navigating the uncomfortability of cravings and hunger.
It honestly took years of very slow and gentle practice to be able to experience my own hunger and not freak out. Repeatedly, fasting over the years, with each year moving very gradually towards less food, has helped me surf the strong emotions that come over me when feeling hunger. I’ve grown from experiencing it as a blaring siren that I would scramble to survive, to a silently blinking light that I now notice. When I can experience my own physical limitations as a detail in my day and not a tsunami to overcome, it makes any other challenges all the more easier to surf.
Here are 5 benefits I have experienced from fasting
1. Depth of Clarity, Reflection and Insights
There is a certain point that I reach around day 3 in which it feels as if I sink into a different mental/emotional state. Although I’m living my life as usual on the outside, on the inside it’s almost like being underwater where it’s peaceful and the noise around me is muffled. I see my day to day life from a perspective that is quieter, more compassionate and detached. A whole new world opens up within me, that I only have access to under the specific circumstances of a fast.
This autumn equinox I’m taking the extra step to harness this altered perception by journaling my insights into a journal I purchased specifically for this time. There is definitely a unique quality to the clarity and objectivity of the insights that come to me. That along with the vividness of my dreams, I plan to revisit these recorded insights at a later time.
During a fast the quality of my sleep is amplified 10 fold. My limbs feel as though they are sandbags when I wake up many mornings yet my mind for the most part is alert and refreshed. The term sleep like a log takes on new meaning during a fast.
3.Naturally Change My Cravings.
In coming off of a fast I have found that my palette changes in that I need less condiments to taste food and relish more completely simply prepared food. My body is reset making it easier to listen to what it truly wants.
4. Gained Energy And Immunity
In having rested so deeply I have more energy overall that lasts for weeks and if I preserve that sweet spot of vibrancy by not spoiling it come the holidays (a recurring sticky point for me), that vibrancy lasts for months with increased immunity into the winter..
5. Weight Loss
The weight loss I experience during a fast I have come to accept as not something I intend to sustain completely since its under exceptional circumstances that the weight was lost . Instead what I’ve intended is to take the new inclinations that have been born from the fast like wanting simpler food and do my best to nurture and sustain them
None the less it is still a way to lose weight if you need to for an important event such as a wedding day.
If you’re looking for a way to give yourself a break and rest more deeply, you might consider fasting.
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