7 Days of Fasting
For those of you that don’t know, at the beginning of January, I decided I was going to go 7 days, 168 hours, 10,080 minutes without eating a morsel of food, no smoothies, no nothing. Simply drinking diluted, filtered water with about 1 fluid ounce of freshly squeezed orange juice and herbal teas. That’s it. When I told people what I was doing, they thought I was nuts. They were concerned for my health, didn’t think it could be done and unsurprisingly, people asked why.
Here’s why. About 5 years ago I watched a movie called The Way of the Peaceful Warrior with Nick Nolte. The premise of the movie, which is based on a true story, is about this college gymnast, Dan Millman, who is kind of lost in life and comes across this old dude, whom he calls Socrates. Socrates turns out to be a “teacher” who volunteers to guide Dan to becoming a “Peaceful Warrior” or enlightened. Anyway, in the movie, Dan is told by Socrates, as part of his training, he is going to learn discipline by fasting for 7 days straight, drinking only herbal teas and diluted fruit juice. True warriors can go without food he explains. “The secret of happiness, you see, is not found in seeking more, but in developing the capacity to enjoy less”. I felt this was a pretty cool lesson and thought, I want to be able to have less and enjoy more. I wanted to be able to really savor and enjoy food instead of eating to eat and living instead of existing.
When the student is ready the teacher will appear
5 years later, I am looking for a new audiobook to listen to and sure enough, The Way of the Peaceful Warrior appears, and I begin to listen. Many of the lessons within the book really resonated with me, especially lessons of happiness. I began to think differently or have spiritual awakening as some would call it. Then, that chapter about discipline. How to exercise discipline and what it can do for you. I thought, screw it. I’ve wanted to do this for 5 years and I think I’m ready. I did my research and began the process mentally before physically.
Initially, I had no doubt in my mind that I could accomplish this goal. I knew I had the willpower and discipline to make it happen, but as the time to commence the fast got closer, the comments and concerns of others began to creep in. I began to mentally self-sabotage, as I thought of reasons or excuses I could use to stop myself from carrying out what I said I was going to do. I made some solid excuses, but I’m sure they only sounded good to me. I could have let these doubts get the better of me, but I consciously decided, I’ve made this commitment and there is no backing out now. I then added to this conviction by committing to raise money for a local charity to help hold me accountable when times get tough and I knew it would get tough.
I set the expectation that there were going to be times that I would want to pack it in and eat. I didn't fool myself. I expected to be fatigued, irritable, hungry, and so on. Along with setting these expectations, I also planned what I could or would do in light of these difficult times like reading, meditating, journaling and talking through how I was feeling with someone I knew cared and I knew I needed to quit if negative side effects kicked in. These disciplines would serve me well as the days went on.
When I decided to take on this challenge I was doing it for one reason. To see if I could do it. To see if I could be a “warrior”. The more I studied and researched, the more that dumbass notion faded and other reasons began to surface.
I began to understand that this journey would not succeed with willpower and discipline alone. This challenge would only succeed with proper preparation in the form of knowledge, meditation, support systems and a whole lot of love. It would not succeed by listening to cravings, but by taking the right action. It was about doing the right thing for the right reasons. It was not about pride, but humility. It was not about accomplishment, but inspiration. It was not about what I can get out of it, but what I can give. It was not about reaching the end, but what I can learn along the way. The reward was going to be the person I become on the other side of this adventure.
Keep an eye out for Part 2 tomorrow