I broke my seven day fast today and once my bouncing off the walls in excitement celebratory activities at the thought of being able to consume garlic and onion once again had subsided, I started to reflect once more on why fasting is so important to me on my journey of gratefulness.
People will often question me on the point of fasting and though I used to struggle on the various “religious” reasons for the abstaining of certain foods, I have come to realise that fasting is honestly a very personal struggle. I commenced this fast quite a few years ago at first to be a sympathetic communal faster with my mum, basically so she didn’t feel like she was being punished (as I saw it in my mind at the time) on her own, my own mother beginning her Navratri fasting endeavours when her mum couldn’t keep them one year as she was ill at the opportune event.
I recall inhumane pangs of scrumptious desire for seductively mouth-watering delights during my seven to eight day struggle as being a lot more severe when I started in comparison to my (almost) indifferent attitude now. Don’t get me wrong, I still rush to the fridge on Ashtami to break my fast the way a raging bull gallops towards a vibrant red cloth, my fingers clambering to get a carrot in my mouth before Bugs Bunny could possibly finish his famous rendition of “what’s up Doc?”, but I don’t feel quite as desperate any longer.
The reason for this, I believe, is my newfound enthusiasm for the concept of fasting on an individual level. This has nothing to do with any misguided Eureka cloaked Holy Grail moments or sudden knee jerking spiritual awakenings, but more with my “let’s stop and have a look around” attitude that I somehow just (fortunately) fell into.
It’s so easy for me to take what I have for granted – my latest designer-wear clothes, my 58 inch Plasma TV Set I am joined at the hip to, my gluttonous never ending need to absolutely have those pair of pumps, and all the other unquenchable satanic requirements recklessly pounding against the walls of my cranium. As simplistic as it may sound, nothing makes me comprehend the way it feels to be so close to something and not being able to have it than when I am fasting. When I can smell all the wondrously wafting, teasing aromas that weave their meticulous yet sinister paths up my nasal passages, the way tantalising shades burst their delectable splendour on my partners plates, where heavenly fragrances, tastes and textures are so close I could touch and then devour them instantly … and still so cruelly not being able to consume them.
My mother used to often recite the worn out slogan of “do you know how lucky you are to be able to eat? Do you understand that there are so many starving children out there who dream to get what you have on your plate at this very moment?” every single time I complained about what was put in front of me. Until I started fasting, I just thought it was just another one of those pesky “learn as you live, words of wisdom” moments my parents were so bent on imparting with me until I realised how true it was.
I see so many around me that are so devastatingly less fortunate and fasting twice a year reminds me of those individuals perpetually. For a few hours, I can at least sympathise (clearly not understand) but empathise with them and the turmoil they must be going through about being so close to living the way everyone’s birth right should allow for and being so cruelly locked out.
So this morning, as I broke my fast and felt my mind shamelessly flirting with the devilry vegetables encompass I once again remembered how fortunate I am to be able to put my finger on something and get it. It makes me all that more grateful for the gifts I have and to remember not to so easily dismiss those around me who eye me with what people often mistake for envious disdain but to actually see beyond our glazed looking glass of perspectives.
Wishing everyone a Happy Ashtami come Ram Naumi and may each and every one of us be blessed with all the wonders the Universe has to offer, sprinkled with just the right amount of genuine compassion and understanding 🙂