I used to think that I wasn’t able to fast because of my migraines. To avoid triggering an attack, I need to maintain a relatively constant blood sugar level, which requires me to eat protein every three hours. If I skip a meal, it’s a guaranteed migraine. So, I knew that fasting wasn’t for me.
In the spiritual world, fasting is seen as a good thing to do now and then. It helps focus the mind to better connect with our deeper self, and to tap in to our spiritual needs. There is much written on this topic, from every likely spiritual angle including established religions, Catholicism in particular, and ancient Indian guru sects, as well as new age practitioners. Oh, it’s more than eating fish on Fridays (What a sacrifice there, right!) or going without coffee for the 40 days of lent.
The fasting light went on for me when I realized that it does not have to be about food or drink necessarilyt; fasting can actually be applied to any area of our lives for which we hope to gain a better handle. Or simply to exercise our self-discipline muscle.
For example, someone might avoid using their car for a set time period if they are feeling overly dependant on it, and so their fasting outcome might be to get exercise through walking more.
Fasting can help us achieve a specific goal, like doing without a certain thing, that we are perhaps taking for granted.
I decided to do a 30-day fast from spending money on non-essential things. I made a ‘declaration’ to my Heart To Freedom group in order to make it official, and to make myself accountable. I felt it was important to put it ‘out there’.
It slowly dawned on me that since I retired five years ago, and especially since closing my wee AppleTowne Designs business last year, I have been spending money on myself quite freely – mostly on books, and Bibles in the last year in particular, but also on art supplies. Lots of art supplies.
When you get turned on to mixed media like I have, you start collecting quite a variety of art supplies. I can easily use six or eight different art products in one piece. And I love doing that. So yeah, I’ve been spending a fair amount of money there. And if I see someone online using a particular product that they are just raving about, well, I want to try it too! So I buy it. And with shopping at our fingertips these days, it’s just too easy to buy without much thought.
It would have been the natural thing to delay my spending fast until after our four-week holiday next month, but no. That’s too slippery a slope.
So I started fasting on August 26 for 30 days, at which time I will reassess. Surprisingly, it’s already had a positive effect after only 3 days. Not only has it forced me to question every expenditure, it has forced me to take a closer look at what I already have in my possession – especially art supplies – making me want to explore some of these things further. For example, I have 6-7 Gelato crayons that I wasn’t using, and have had them for about 2 years. I even considered giving them away recently, because they just sat there. Instead, I looked into a few techniques on You Tube and have started to use them more. It ends up that they are fabulous to work with! Naturally I want more colours, now, but no, not this month. So yeah, it takes a certain discipline, and the payoff is that it makes me pay closer attention.
It’s not that I don’t spend money, but it’s with a clearer intent. Just today, I’ve renewed an annual subscription to online mixed-media art classes, because if I waited until next month, the price would not only be significantly higher but registration would likely be closed by then due to the program’s popularity (Wanderlust 2022). So, it’s not like I’m not spending but I am judicious in my choices.
Another example of my fast’s early impact is regarding books. I have bought several books since last fall relating to my renewed interest in Christianity, and the Bible in particular. Most of these volumes remain unfinished, some untouched. Not because of lack of interest, but more like a lack of focus. (I am interested in a lot!) My fast is helping me to focus on what I already have. So, I plan to read these books before buying any new ones — which will take me well beyond my 30 days, maybe 8 – 10 months or more. It doesn’t matter. I just won’t be adding to the pile right now.
So far, fasting has been a very good thing for me, even though it was a bit scary to start.
Some people are fasting from social media, for their own personal and varied reasons. I have considered it, myself, but rather than a full-on fast, I’ve pared down my exposure to the beast. I would sorely miss my groups of warm-hearted, Christian women. I am not about to dump the baby out with the bath water!
What has been your experience with fasting? I would love to read any comments.
God Bless you, dear reader.