Sunday, August 21, 2011

The end result

Well, it's Sunday, the day after the end of my fast.  I lasted 38 hours.  I might have been able to go longer, but convenience won out because I was swamped with schoolwork for the day.

I had less than 1/4 of a honeydew melon, and had to stop.  I felt a little off still yesterday, and a little weak.  I had a lot of trouble going to sleep both Friday and Saturday, so I'm hoping that won't last too much longer.

But the good news is, today my digestive tract feels better than it has in forever.  My stomach seems to have shrunk, I'm full rather easily (great news for my waistline).  But best of all, my attitude has improved ten fold.  I feel rejuvenated in a really core way.

For those that are interested, I dropped 4.5 lbs between the start and end of the fast.  Keep in mind that it will most likely all return (water weight and such) but it's a fun way to keep at it, watching the number keep going down.  I've already gained back half, but maybe I can slow down the rest with some smart choices.

Bottom line is this, I am SO glad I chose to do this fast.  I learned a lot about myself (boredom eater!) and helped my body fix itself rather than try to medicate my way to health.  My mental health has benefited as well, it really got me out of the funk I've been in and gave me some important perspective.

So yes, Whit, it's been a fruitful experience!!

I am in no way suggesting that others partake in fasting, please consult your physician and yada yada, just don't blame me if bad things happen to you, it's not my fault.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

24 hours in

So here I am, 24 hours in to a 36 hour fast.  It has been an interesting day to say the least.

First of all, I spent all but the last 4 hours (7-11) of the day all alone.  This allowed for a few good rounds of meditation, but also tested my will power A LOT.  I was sitting here at home, with a fridge full of food, not to mention the yummy fruits I have already prepared for breaking the fast tomorrow.  Watermelon has never smelled so good!!

The thing I learned the most about myself today is that I eat out of boredom.  When occupied, this fast was a piece of cake.  Such as now as I am writing, if I feel an uncomfortable feeling in my stomach, I drink a few ounces of water and it passes.  When bored, however, my thoughts immediately went to food.

I also noticed an upswing around the times when I would normally eat.  My literature told me to expect this, as the body is used to its "feeding times".  But I think it has done me good to feel "real" hunger.  So often, I get bent out of shape if asked to wait an hour or two past my normal eating time.  That seems so silly to me now, having gone 24 hours without food and not in extreme amounts of pain.

One unexpected symptom: A horrible coating on my tongue that brought with it a nasty acidic metallic taste.  Again, I've looked it up and it's not abnormal.  But water certainly does not cut the taste, so a tongue scraper was my best friend today.

Perhaps the most important revelation today came during one of my mediations (they did seem easier today).  I have been struggling to deal with infertility, feeling like it is a never ending roller coaster that I must be crazy to stay on.  In a moment of clarity, a Star Wars reference came to me and lifted me from the funk.  "Do or do not, there is no try."  While some may question the validity of the source, The Force is quite Taoist and seems a natural fit for me.  I realized in that moment, that I had been "trying" to have a baby.  We were "trying" to fix Capt.'s health issue.  We were "trying" to deal with it emotionally as well.  Well, thanks to Yoda, I'm through trying.

We are fixing the problem, we will be successful, and we will deal with whatever comes our way.

I couldn't ask for a better outcome for today.  I will say that I am looking forward to my fruit tomorrow VERY much.  I am on the fence about the possibility of future fast.  I'm thinking I may try a brown rice fast next, but we'll see how I feel about it all tomorrow when it's done.

Thanks for sharing my journey with me.  :D

Friday, August 19, 2011

Let the Fasting Begin

As promised, I have begun a new spiritual adventure.  I am currently 12 hours in to my very first fast.

For those that don't know, a fast is simple a length of time where a person chooses not to eat.  There are many reasons that people choose to fast, but generally they fall into two categories: Health & Spiritual.

Health- There are many health benefits to fasting, in fact our bodies are made to periodically fast.  Many cultures consider short fasts to be a part of a healthy lifestyle.  The general idea is that you give your body a break from digestion (where most of your daily calories are burnt), allowing it to focus on other ailing areas.  People have experienced wonderful benefits including release from depression, cured digestive ailments, and many chronic diseases.  Allowing your body to heal itself is as natural as it gets.

Spiritual- Everyone from Christians to Buddhists participate in fasts.  Jesus himself was known to fast.  Perhaps his most famous was the 40-day fast prior to his three year mission.  This is where the 40 days and 40 nights of sacrifice for God comes from.  Buddhist monks routinely practice fasting as well as Islamic people, Native Americans, and of course, Taoist and Zen practitioners as well.  Fasting provides a time of mental clarity where meditations are deeper (some feel closer to God) and self-discovery.

For me, the reasons are all of the above.  I am hoping to become a regular faster (once a month or year depending on length), but I know I must start small.  My goal for this fast is 36 hours.  I am following proper fasting procedure, eating only fresh fruit before and after the fast to aid the transition.  They say that the first 12 hours is the hardest, so I purposely put those hours during sleep, and so far so good.  I'm having some hunger pains, but nothing unmanageable. 

I will not be posting anything about my fast anywhere but here, as advised by my books, because people do not understand fasting, and it's easier for me to not have to defend against misunderstanding during the fast.  But please know that fasting is COMPLETELY different from starvation.  I am in a controlled and unstressful environment.  I will not develop Anorexia which is noted by a distorted body image (I'm perfectly aware of the actual shape of my body).  But most importantly, if done right, fasting is not dangerous.  My body will be better off, not damaged by this practice.

I will try to report again either late tonight or tomorrow with any revelations that may come my way during my fast. I hope to try different kinds of fasts and different kinds of meditations while fasting and report back here.

Wish me luck :)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Power of the River

Be still as the mountain and flow like the great river.

This is a Taoist mantra I find myself always repeating to myself (even considering tattoo representation). Well, does the US have a river greater than the mighty Mississippi?

This weekend we camped at Buffalo Shores, a campsite with free access to the beach of the Mississippi River. It was awe inspiring! Don't get me wrong, I love camping on lakes, especially ones that you can swim in. But there is just something different about a river. I'm a firm believer that everything in nature has an energy to it, and the energy from this river was amazing. We would sit on the shore, running our fingers through the sand and watching the water slowly come back and forth on our feet. A full moon made this a mystical experience to beat all!

The large paddleboats were fun to watch, and the never ending barges going by was great. Always something to watch. The campsite itself was a little crowded, every site being full. But the accommodations were nice, and we ended up next to some really nice people. Great food and catching up with a friend we never see were the top off of a great weekend. I really had no desire to leave, it was such an inspiring experience making the real world seem so mundane.

I feel closer to the Tao after this weekend, and have been inspired to try something new spiritually. More details on that later, but amazing how one weekend getaway can recharge a soul!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

An interesting question about parenting

I was recently asked an interesting question. I was giving a reference for a friend concerning a foreign exchange program and was asked the question, "Would you let your child stay with these people for a year?" I answered without hesitation, easy question (even though I don't have have a child, lol).

We had houseguests this weekend when I got that call, and it occurred to me. If you want to know about parenting, would it not be a better question to ask, "Would you willingly watch their child for a year." It happens that I would also do that in a heartbeat for the people I was referencing for. Our houseguests at the time, on the other hand, would be a different story.

Now to be fair, our visitor was in his terrible two's, much more difficult than the older children referenced earlier, but I think I would have taken them at two as well (even though I didn't know them then so I can be 100%).

I just wonder if it is a better tell of parenting style by looking at the children and their behavior. Of course I realize that all kids are different and I don't mean to pick on our little visitor because he also adorable and very loved. But compatibility can be an issue when dealing with caring for other people's kids.

Interesting food for thought.