Friday, April 4, 2014

Fasting one day a week: reflection

I must admit, I thought this challenge would be a lot easier! March's monthly challenge was to fast for one day each week (we chose Sunday) and there was only one day we truly succeeded.

On each other occasion we decided that we needed one warm meal a day, why was this?

Years ago I tried eating raw food only for a month, and was equally unsuccessful. At the time my colleague suggested that I was addicted to hot food, because the lack of a warm meal had a direct impact on my mental health. I became depressed; first mentally, then physically as well.

After a few days of eating only raw food for breakfast and lunch I would go home to a cold house (it was winter) and eat a cold salad. And then cry (literally). Perhaps my physical needs were being met by the meal but my emotional needs were not, and it looks like not a lot has changed.

I honestly wonder whether this is something that I need to be concerned about though - is this 'addiction' something I actually need to break? So I'm a happier person if I eat one warm meal a day. OK, I can live with that. I'm lucky enough to live in a place where hot meals are readily affordable and available so I'm chalking it up to having learnt more about myself.

There is a big part of me that feels I should push myself out of my comfort zones. Somehow knowing that the lack of a warm meal makes me uncomfortable, means that a part of me wants to push in that direction, to face the discomfort. Why is that?

In the past I learnt rock climbing, went bungee jumping (twice) and jumped out of a plane because I was uncomfortable with heights. Guess what? I'm still afraid of heights (probably worse than I was originally) but I've made some amazing memories along the way.

Maybe that drive to push myself out of my comfort zone is really just another way to take control (of the fear); perhaps it is just another form of samsara. Instead of avoiding discomfort I push myself into it as a way to control it. Neither avoiding nor hurtling towards discomfort allows you to experience it and let it go.

So with that in mind, I have learnt that fasting for a whole day isn't for me (at this point in time, but could be revisited again in the future). I currently have a smoothie for breakfast and a salad for lunch most days, so a warm meal at night is a comfort I'm willing to hang on to. 

To feel a place of warmth with my partner and my dogs; knowing THAT warmth is fleeting (as all is impermanent) brings a state of awareness to the simple beauty of a warm meal with loved ones. And I thank the fast for that new awareness of what I always had.

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