Do you choose fast or feast, past or peace...?
The UPS truck pulled up in front of my house the other day, and I watched as the delivery man gently placed a box on the front porch. My stomach tightened a bit with anticipation of the contents. In an overwhelming moment of either inspiration or insanity, I had ordered a five day fasting cleanse online, and it had just come...earlier than expected. The UPS driver hopped back into his vehicle, completely unaware that his delivery was set to detonate the familiar—albeit nutritionally reckless and emotionally unconscious—patterns of lifestyle and behavior that I had adopted under quarantine.
There was a fine line between giving myself a break—allowing myself the time and space to just be as I am, where I am—or souring that into a platitude behind which I have sat crouched, hiding under the patterns of distraction that have enabled a prolonged period of paralysis stemming from mental, emotional and physical denial. I had clearly slipped off the razor’s edge of repose and into the robust desire to break my pattern of restlessness, disconnection, distraction. And there, on the front stoop, sat the tools that would disrupt the habits in which I had allowed myself to indulge.
It felt like I had very little time to mentally prepare for the week-long fast for which I had paid a substantial sum. In fact, had this personal challenge not been so expensive—and had I not gotten the impulse to order it while coming out of meditation one morning—than I most likely would’ve talked myself out of doing it completely. As it stood, the first day of only consuming tea and reconstituted soup sent my mind and body into a whirlwind litany of rageful justifications as to why I should’ve STOPPED the cleanse, immediately, and gone back to the comfort of my usual daily routine.
Once again, I found myself teetering on the razor’s edge of consciousness. The more I wobbled back and forth, the deeper the incision of my indecision became, and the more pain I began to feel. There had been something inside of me calling for this disruption. There had been something on a soul or cellular level longing to upset the apple cart trodding along my recent and well-worn path of junk food, absentminded television, and emotional passivity. There had come a tipping point in the delicate balance/imbalance of connection to my higher self. And it was time that I heeded it.
We have all felt boredom in response to the dullness of our daily grind. We have all felt that impulse to travel or change our surroundings; we have all felt the inclination to diet, exercise, or change our bodies; we have all felt the impetus to hide from our families, break up with our mate, or change our relationships. We have all felt that inflamed and irritating desire to break the doldrums of our daily routines...and yet we tend to wake up every morning and knowingly succumb to the comfort of familiarity—no matter how absurdly repetitive or ridiculously predictable our patterns have become.
We have all felt the desire to kick dirt into the ruts we have carved for ourselves with the hope of changing our foreseeable, calculable, unremarkably predictable destination. As I underwent the mental, emotional, physical peaks and valleys of fasting, I realized that in searching for some external disruption, what I really wanted was an overpowering excuse to STOP TRYING TO NUMB OR ESCAPE FEELING THE EMOTIONS THAT BUBBLED UP INSIDE OF ME. What I really wanted was an overwhelming reason to GET PRESENT. What I really wanted was an overarching opportunity to SYNC MY BODY, MY MIND, MY SOUL IN THE AWARENESS OF MY DELIBERATE CONSCIOUSNESS. I wanted to be stimulated, positively challenged, and excited by being able to live, fully, inside each moment of my life.
Regardless of how often we are wooed by the lullaby of monotonous, predictable patterns of thought and behavior, what we really want is to experience the thrill and invigoration of connection to our higher selves. The connection, trust, and agility of spirit that allows us to thoroughly IN-joy each generous present moment of life’s ever-evolving, magically unfolding, unpredictable ride.
While doing the cleanse, five days seemed like an eternally long time to reach the present moment, but the instant that I arrived in the now, the entire concept of time evaporated. No matter how you get there, or by what means you make your excuse to BE NOW, it could not come soon enough. You deserve to feast on the wholeness of all of who you truly are.