“Some of the Divine’s best work happens when you: rest… Breathe. Notice Your Heart Beat. Give Thanks.”mayryanna
yet, I sink –
on a bed of nails
leading me on
To fall back
To let go
There is hope
in deepest fear
by devoted love
It started with some pickle juice; an attempt to ease a headache that was going on 30 hours… I was exhausted, I hadn’t been able to remember things for hours and was even forgetting the conversation I was having mid sentence before finally excusing myself for bed by 7:30pm.
Once I drank a sip though, I was soon eating a pickle, and then some blackberries… Before I knew it I didn’t have a headache, but I was definitely not fasting anymore either. My evening binging monster got me again the moment my willpower had run out.
Offering Myself Forgiveness and Understanding
I have felt a lot of things today about what happened last night. A part of me wanted to give up this morning, feeling amazing until the realization of why I didn’t have a headache anymore sank in, truly for the first time.
I felt like a complete failure. I felt sad and frustrated with myself. I was angry too – I had been working so hard, just to blow it?!
I let the discomfort come and go, deciding to resume my fast, noting that a mistake is only a failure if you let it stop you. So, I forgave myself and then started looking for clues to my behavior, trying to understand what happened and why so that I can be more prepared to handle the same situation in the future.
Finding Unlikely Allies Amidst the Disappointment
I began to think over the incident with curiosity instead of judgement and was surprised by what I found. Despite “disobeying,” my body and compulsion really tried to keep to my commitment in their own subtle way. Somehow, I managed to stay under 500 calories during my binge, which, given that it was all I ate yesterday, still left me in a caloric deficit sufficiently low enough to still encourage the cellular and metabolic benefits of “fasting.”
How? Why? I’ve been pondering this all day. I believe I was asking too much, too fast, and this was my body and mind’s way of letting me know that.
Yet, given the lack of conscious control I displayed last night, I can’t help but believe that they don’t want to stop the fast either. Somehow, by finding that moderation between my extreme ideals and completely giving up subconsciously last night, I now feel more encouraged to continue than ever!
Redefining Success… Again
I can see now just how much my ego wanted to be calling the shots for my fast. It created an almost impossible regimen, probably to trap me in failure and give me a reason to return to feeling sorry for myself. Well, not this time.
I’m adjusting my regimen accordingly, allowing for some watered down bone broth when I feel overwhelmed by detox symptoms. I may find other supplementation as well, but I am still beginning every day fasting and will not be exceeding the 500 calorie mark for the remainder of my water fast (the juices I will start consuming on Tuesday will bring me out of this extreme fasted state, and I will continue supplementing as needed but without calorie restrictions).
The point of this process isn’t to prove myself perfect at fasting, it’s to learn and discover things about myself. Therefore, last night’s “mistake” has been just as essential to this experience as any other one will be.
Extending My New Conceptions of Moderation
This experience actually helped me to release attachments of my ego in another respect as well. I have been trying to abstain from making purchases of “things” since October 2019 but have found myself breaking that commitment to buy presents for international friends at Christmas time and now considering purchases as I will be exploring alternative housing options in the second half of 2020.
I will be taking my cats and living as a nomad from my van for at least 3 months, traveling through many western states and even British Columbia – so I ordered pet IDs and Passports for both my cats. I also bought a bike and am looking at a trailer/stroller combo for my cats so that they can accompany me when I leave the van too. Despite these things becoming necessary as upcoming changes in my life have become apparent, I have felt incredibly guilty too (oh ego, can’t you just leave me be! I’M TRYING).
This recent experience has helped me to cement a growing suspicion I’ve had lately: it’s not about buying nothing, it’s about buying the right things. That’s why I bought a bike: I love riding but have never owned my own bike as an adult, I also believe it is one of the most efficient modes of personal transportation, and essentially it’s a purchase that will bring me enjoyment, improve my quality of life and expand my sustainable independence.
Learning, Adapting and Growing in Love
The peice of my personal New Year’s Divination in which I was told what would help me achieve my goals this year is making more and more sense: “balance and moderation.” I have always been an extremist, and it’s always fed my ego’s proclivity to self-sabotage. Well, not any more.
Sure, I’m me – I will probably never stop trying to challenge myself – but, I’m starting to realize that doesn’t always have to include extremes. I can still learn from this fast, even with a more practical regimen. I can still be a mindful consumer and make smart purchases.
What’s important is that my goals are actually benefiting me. Adhering strictly to extreme ideals might be appropriate for a professional athlete who sacrifices their body for their sport, but I’m seeking an optimal and masterful lifestyle for myself. Which I’m beginning to find also means I am seeking a more balanced and moderate lifestyle.
Accepting My Own Grace and Appreciation
I just finished sipping a cup of warm broth. I have a slight detox headache but have managed to subdue the light-headedness I had as a result of trying to do too much today. I’m feeling silly about it, but appreciative that I am committed to providing myself with what I need – even if my ego has to step aside.
I’m sure I will find new ways to make mistakes on this fasting journey, but I am determined to offer myself grace again and again in order to continue and overcome. After all, there really is no ultimate that I am trying to achieve. Optimization and mastery are never ending – they are a way of succeeding as well as a way of failing.
In these ways, I’m finally learning to trust myself at 31 years old. Yes, I have traumas to heal, bad habits to overcome and good ones to create, but I’m also an incredible soul, mind and body that have chosen to align for the betterment of this world. I can’t do everything, but I can do the work of healing and use it to encourage others by sharing what I learn. And you know what? I think I’m happy to be just that, that I am.
Blessed be darlings! May you all offer yourselves the grace to find balance in your own lives as well.
I woke up this morning at 7:30am and was calm. Much calmer than I had felt all day yesterday, and I dare say, calmer than I’ve felt in a while.
I had 30 more minutes of my dry fasting period before I could drink water and it’s Saturday, so I laid in bed with my snuggling kittens and got caught up on messages. Before I knew it, it was almost 9am and I was being startled back to my own reality when one of my best friends AND my boyfriend both messaged to ask how my first sip was… and I had to admit that I had forgotten all about it!
Even when reminded, though the feeling of thirst instantaneously reemerged in my awareness, I remained calm. I didn’t dash straight to the sink and slobber up my refreshment as desperately as I had longed to yesterday – I didn’t even immediately get up! I remained and observed, curious about this new sensation of peace I was unexpectedly experiencing.
When I did get up, it was still in calmness. I kissed each of my kittens, pulled on my White Tiger onesie and brushed my hair, found my favorite water bottle and washed it – contemplated adding lemon as I usually do but then decided to stick with pure, unadulterated H20 before I filled it up… And even then, I didn’t drink. I went and sat down.
When I would finally take my first sip of water, it was already passed 9:30am. I popped the cap on my water bottle and slowly let the cool, refreshing and life giving nectar pour over my parched lips, feeling the sensation of refreshment consuming me as it cascaded down my tongue and into the back of my throat. It felt 100% erotic.
I may never drink water the same, ever again.
Having sacrificed water, even for just a day, has indeed helped me make it sacred. By withholding this most basic necessity for life from myself, I have become more fundamentally aware of my blessings and grateful for everything.
I feel astonishingly in awe of the technology I’m blessed to live with. The fact that this cool, crisp, life-giving nectar is available to me 24/7 at the turn of a nob is exceptionally wonderful. Yes, I have always *known this, but I feel I truly understand the magnitude of this fact’s significance for the first time in my life right now at 31 years old.
Three decades is a long time to live without understanding one’s most basic blessings. Three decades is a long time to go without ever truly appreciating the sensual and nourishing qualities of water. It’s taken me my whole life so far, but I’m so glad to have finally gotten HERE.
Moving Forward into Deeper Layers
For now, I am reveling in the bliss and enchantment of simply drinking water, but I am sure to be feeling to the discomforts of abstaining from food in the next few days. There will certainly be many more challenges and discoveries.
I am feeling more confident and resolved than ever though, ready to break through the next challenge and the next. I’m excited for the lessons to come and invigorated by my short term success.
There is certainly a beauty to starting with the hardest challenge – I feel I have the strength to overcome anything now that I have faced my own biological fear of dying from thirst. If my mind can be an observer of my fear and pain in those most desperate moments, what can’t it do? If my heart can remain committed, if my soul will provide the grace – there is truly nothing that can intimidate me anymore.
Internal and External Graces
The change isn’t as simple as can be explained. It’s not just the renewed sense of confidence, or even experiencing romantic and sensual layers to the often ignored blessings of life – it’s so much more.
I feel an upwelling of grace. My ability to overcome, blossoming. Stagnation and densities breaking apart, both within myself as well as without…
It feels like magick. And why, my beloveds, would anyone ever choose to settle for less?
Blessed be my beloveds! May you all be inspired to challenge your own privileges and conditioning as well.
“YOU ARE DYING! YOU ABSOLUTELY MUST DRINK WATER, RIGHT NOW! NOW! NOW! NOW! PLEEEEASE DRINK WATER!”
I feel crazed. I’m anxious and unsettled. I don’t know what to do with myself.
I am only 10 hours into a 32-hour dry fast and everything I thought I knew is now being questioned. My fight/flight response has activated and I feel fidgety. The hair on the back of my neck is standing up and my skin feels like it’s crawling. One thing is clear: I do not like this.
Dancing with Death… Again
I’m not entirely new to these sensations, though I’ve only ever experienced this extreme bodily anxiety for the briefest moments before. The earliest examples my mind can find are memories of falling, but the most clarifying experiences with this horrifying and overwhelming body-takeover have happened more recently – in Kundalini.
Kundalini yoga involves a lot of prescriptive breath work, including holding both the inhalations as well as the exhalations at times. Most people have held a big breath in, especially if they’ve ever swam, but personally I had never even tried to hold my breath out until prompted in Kundalini. It isn’t something you soon forget.
Panic, anxiety and the desperation to survive all swell up inside you immediately and you realize that you are dying. The first few times I tried, I was helpless to withstand my body’s automatic responses, gasping dramatically after the briefest moments.
“Why?! WHY? Why are you doing this?! BREATHE! LIVE! YOU MUST SURVIVE!”
But, after breaking through fear for just a moment longer, pushing beyond that automatic response – the peace and bliss that fills your being is indescribable. Overcoming the fear of death, even for the shortest time, is remarkably invigorating and strengthening. I can only imagine how restorative a full day of consciously ignoring my fear-response will be…
Beginning with the Hardest Challenge
A dry fast is not something to be taken lightly. Abstaining from water can kill you in just days and it is commonly the opposite of what’s recommended by health professionals. So why am I dancing with death in this way?
This is all just the start of a 21 day fast. I will conclude my dry fast at 8am tomorrow, beginning a 3-day water fast until 8am Tuesday. Starting Tuesday morning, I will finish out the remaining 17 of the full 21 days with fresh juices.
I am prepared to supplement with nut milks and bone broth should the need arise, but I will be abstaining from solid foods for the entire three weeks. Though, arguably not entirely restful, fasting is restorative. Perhaps others would find feasting relaxing, and I have before myself – but right now, I want to relax on a deeper, metabolic and cellular level.
I’ve been pondering these seemingly foreign concepts for over a week now and I’m realizing that so much of the difficulties in my life are caused by not really, truly just resting and relaxing. I have had disordered evening binging tendencies my entire life, and I’m now seeing for the first time it was never about the food. These kinds of realizations came not as a result of fasting today, I haven’t had any major breakthroughs and am mostly hangry, but they are what lead me to this course of action.
I’m diving in, beyond my fear response, to find out who I am beneath all the comforts and conveniences I have been accustomed to my entire life. If it isn’t the food I am looking for while grazing in the evening or otherwise over-consuming, what is it I’m truly craving?
Enabling Prolonged Endurance
Regardless of the fact that I have been called to do a three week fast, I am also still trying to learn how to apply the Divine commission to “rest, relax, heal and meditate.” So, how does one do a difficult, uncomfortable thing in a relaxing way?
Enter the episodic fast! I begin by facing the fear response caused by my dry tongue today and by tomorrow, water will taste like nectar from the goddesses! I’ve actually already been fantasizing about drinking water in the morning…
By Tuesday? Fresh juices will not only taste Divine, they will be gratefully received by a body that has reprioritized the quality and necessity of each nutrient. I imagine the feeling of nourishment and vitality sure to rush through my veins with the first sip will be sublime.
I can already imagine the involuntary sensuality of reexperiencing the sensations and tastes of each bite in my mouth when I do finally chew food again. Mindful eating will be automatic, no longer just something else I “have to try to do.” I will have reclaimed food for myself entirely.
Committing to the Process
That’s why I’m doing this – because I LOVE food. I do not however, love, like or even enjoy feeling enslaved, crazed and controlled by it.
Eating everything I can in secret like a starved and abused animal is not what I want for myself and my relationship with food anymore. I don’t want to feel ashamed and confused about my love for food ever again. Food is a great comfort, but only if it’s being adequately appreciated – otherwise it’s just another distraction from the truth.
I don’t know what I am going to find on this journey. I have already wanted to quit a half dozen times today and almost “messed up” by force of bad habits a few times too. I have felt desperate, sad, angry, frustrated, tired, lonely and irritable off and on all day and yet, I’m grateful.
Even having the opportunity to choose to fast means I have an abundance of food I can abstain from. When I almost “messed up,” I really caught myself making excuses to break my commitment and was forced to accept the complexities of my conditioning. Feeling angry, sad and tired has given me some perspective about other times I have felt similarly and reminded me of the intensity of emotions a lack of basic necessities can lead to…
I’m already learning so much, just 18 hours in. This is why I’ve stopped myself from chewing gum or going to bed early too – the lessons are in the discomfort.
Settling in for Restorative Healing
Now, just because I’m doing the hard things doesn’t mean I am punishing myself. Quite the opposite. In ways, eating excessively without pleasure or necessity because of a fear of discomfort was much more punishing.
I heard a definition of Sacrifice this week that resonates: “to make sacred.” That’s precisely what I’m doing with water and food right now. I am sacrificing these things so that I can make these things sacred to myself.
That’s why I can salivate at the thought of a drop of water today and yet last night, no amount of snacking was satisfying at all. I am learning to truly appreciate my blessings – as they say, “absence makes the heart grow fonder.”
Still, despite not wallowing in the potential misery of my situation, I am making allowances for some appropriate considerations. I am not exerting myself; I’m abstaining from caffeine, supplements and other stimulants; I am moving slower, being gentler with myself and others – noticing, listening and observing more. It’s all quite relaxing actually.