(Posted through my newsletter on Sep 27th)
Have you ever done a fast? Last weekend I did three days fasting – only drinking water.
There’s something quite powerful in it. After a day or two, it drops you into the space before craving. This is a resonant spot. It rings out like a tuning fork and brings the rest of your life to its pitch.
First, though, comes the yearning. When the fast begins, it feels like a gasp from within. That feeling of wanting.
I want food! I want comfort! Give me something to shove into this ache!
My body ached with this wanting all day for the first day of the fast I did with my friend Christyn in the wilderness of the Northeast Kingdom in Vermont. (Obviously, there was no phone use or digital “entertainment” either.)
I kept thinking about crumbly scones and salty soft butter on warm bread.
The accommodations were beyond “rustic.” We slept in a lean-to made of boulders with a wooden sloping roof at the edge of a field.
And you know who loves rocks? Spiders. Above my head in the beams of the ceiling was a pregnant spider with a wide, delicate web. Meanwhile, daddy-long-legs pranced up and down the stone walls all day.
The occasional cricket also strode in to examine our cups and saucers. One buried itself in the ash of the fireplace and waddled out coated in pale gray one morning.
But back to fasting… You have to drink a lot of water when you fast and that first night I drank too much too close to bedtime. Every time I was almost ready to fall asleep I’d have to get up and step out into the grass to relieve myself again.
Meanwhile, although Christyn and I were in silence, it was as though our bellies were having full-on conversations–sloshing and gurgling back and forth.
But the sky was seasoned with so many stars that first night… they really stole the show. And when I awoke for pee #5 the moon had risen and our faces were bathing in it.
By morning on the second day, my body was at peace with the fast. The wanting subsided. The ache transformed into empty wonder.
The second day of a fast is like a holiday weekend in New York City. It’s strangely quiet and peaceful.
This is the nature of fasting. The insides quiet down and that quiet spreads to the outsides.
The rest of the time unfolded with sunshine and swaying trees and nuzzling alpacas. Small snakes slipped around the grass as I visited the spigot by the pond to refill bottles of water.
The second night the spider mama had her babies and I awoke under a canopy of webs with tiny black spiders suspended in the air above.
On the final evening, we broke the fast with apples plucked from a tree. They were very tart! (But don’t worry I had pizza later.)
Then, this next part is really the best: The return. The return to regular life.
After silence and a fast, it’s all just so simple and clear. You just know…
THIS is what I’m moving toward. THAT is what I’m moving away from.
You can see clearly what deserves your attention and what must die.
It’s not a pro and con list. It’s not even a conversation. It’s just clarity.
And what do you do out of that clarity? You stroll up to your rocket, swing your leg over it, wrap your arms around it, and launch.
This has been the feeling all week… intense clarity and a powerful engine to do my thing. I leave tomorrow for my trip west.
All systems are go.
And you? Do you crave a departure from the consumption of daily life? Are your engines (priorities) running strong and clean?
Even just giving yourself a couple hours to step into nature without your phone could make a significant difference in your clarity and motivation.
There’s no time but the present… but you knew that already
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