At the beginning of each year we go on a fast, this involves both of our church communities and may include fasting food or, traditionally for me it includes fasting something else I love — FASHION!
Fasting is one of the great spiritual disciplines, a lost effort among many, but one that yields wonderful outcomes on several levels.
First, telling ourselves we really can live without something is a powerful message to send our minds and bodies. When I go without food I feel hunger pains but am reminded I don’t have to give into every natural urge. I can press through the pangs and eventually they subside. The first day or two are the hardest, but then the appetite lines up with the decision to abstain.
I like to use times of fasting to focus on praying more, pressing in to realign my ears and eyes toward things that matter more than feeding appetites. During the times I’m typically eating, I instead have time for scripture reading or prayer. Distractions try to interfere, but eventually my focus lines up and clarity comes, not to mention the detox effect of getting rid of junk food.
About ten years ago I decided to fast fashion for a period of time. This means not shopping and also not looking at magazines or surfing the web for fashion finds.
When we started StopChildTraffickingNow five years ago, I decided to extend my typical month-long fashion fast to 8 months. I thought, “If I can channel the time I spend on my hobby of fashion toward this new endeavor of building a non-profit and launching national walks and a Stiletto Run in NYC, I bet I’ll see significant results in exchange for the time.”
Sure enough, it was a major focus shift and I had no regrets but only satisfaction when the 8 months were finished.
Fasting says to my appetites and urges:
- I’m in charge
- I’m not bound to compulsion
- I choose what is best and in what proportion
- I can stop anything at any time if necessary
- I make healthy choices and I stick to them
So today I begin this annual tradition of saying no to one thing in order to gain another. Life is indeed tradeoffs, and every once in awhile we need to refocus, realign, and gain freedom in exchange for letting go.
Saw this lovely number yesterday, last fashion partaking for the next month!
Our take on the “last supper” (final dinner with our son and daughter-in-law Nathan and Ailsa before they return to Scotland tomorrow.)
Creamy finale, homemade mint choc-chip ice cream, no more sweets in our house for awhile (I love how mint grows in my garden even in the winter, steeped the mint in the milk mixture, divine!)