Today was the first day of a 19 day Fast that Bahá’ís observe every March, from the 2nd to the 20th inclusive. We don’t eat or drink between sunrise and sunset (though only the able and healthy do this), and, yup, it’s a challenge…or more accurately it’s a challenge for me!
I feel like everyone else breezes though it with glowing skin and tales of spiritual awakenings. I have to say that up until this point I have always found it a struggle and in struggling have always lost the thread of the real point of it.
The real point of the Fast is that the food part is just a symbol, it’s not the main event. It is a way of showing self-restraint, of shifting focus off worldly desires. This is meant to be a time of spiritual renewal, of re-centring on what is important to us, reaffirming our faith, and reigniting our passion for it.
So I’ve decided take a different tack this year. I’ve decided to get ‘creative’ with my fasting.
Where I would normally have lunch, I have some knitting instead. When I’d usually want that pick-me-up cup of coffee I’m reaching for this cross stitch pattern I’m addicted to. I’m finally investing time in patterns that I’ve wanted to write. I’ve been finding it hard to write for here, I think that takes a lot of mental energy but I’m sure that will come in time too.
I’m Creatively Fasting. I’ve incorporated my creative pursuits into my everyday, in the same way as food is part of our everyday, and it feels great. And in making time to do something I love and find meditative, I’m making room in my head for real contemplation and reflection. Who knows where it might lead me? Maybe I’ll have a giant spiritual epiphany…if I do I promise to share it.
Yet again my love of making beautiful things has come to my aid.
» UPDATE :: Jessica Powers, yoga instructor and craft fiend, sent me her musings on this topic that I am priviledged to share with you…
First, I love that you capitolize Create. My big ideals are Truth, Beauty, and Love – as you can see, I’m a capitolizer myself.
I think that it’s our ability to co-create with the world around us which is so unique and fantastic and special. I don’t believe in a fatherly god sitting in the clouds, or a specific entity/energy that created the world as is. Much more in my mind is the idea of collective consciousness accumulating through time – an original divine light spreading (which is why I’ve always liked your concept of ‘lighting little fires’!).
So for myself, yes I believe there is a divine source (just not fussed or attached to the form of it) and I believe we each possess a divine spark from that source. And I believe that the ancient power of that source is more easily accessed and brought through us when we are working as clear, effective, mindful channels or conduits.
It’s not to hard to see how life can muddy and clog our through line of access to the Source – we’re busy, distracted, scattered, self-centered, and detached from Nature. Our Nature, and the Nature of the world. Fasting, in whatever form, is a method of clearing out and realigning our channel then, so that the creative energy can move more fully through us into the world.
I’ve been put on several protein fasts (ugh, proten powder is gross) because my doctor and I couldn’t pinpoint the exact reason of a skin sensitivity. While we never did solve the ‘what’ – the fasts always did prove effective, as if they were resetting my system.
When I moved countries for school I took the opportunity to fast Mondays after my menstrual cycle ended. This meant physically drinking many, many pots of raw, fermented pu-er tea, reputed to be detoxifying and one of my favourites, and nothing else. Usually I would lay out a soft blanket (my favourites for this now are ones I brought back from Ireland), get down on the floor and practice a very extended Yin Yoga session while reading for class or writing related to yoga or home to friends and family. It was an energetic fast more than anything. A time to enjoy my hobbit hole apartment and be with myself to explore what was there, was it all necessary, and what could I work out, work through, release, or relinquish.
~ How do you incorporate your creative endeavors into the humdrum of everyday life?
~ How have your creative pursuits kept you sane when things are challenging?
p.s. if you got a notification of a post yesterday that you couldn’t access it’s because my blog published something (really, I don’t know how it happened…a blogs cry for help?!) that was still in draft form and I removed it. When it’s ready for public consumption I’ll let you know. Sorry for the mix-up!