There have been times in my life where I've been in a fog. My thoughts are bouncing around my brain like ping pong balls, and I can't seem to catch up. My spirit is low. My sleeping patterns are terrible. I am not inspired, and my mind looks like a desk full of papers without a filing system. Just chaos.
As soon as these chaotic feelings arise I know I need to realign myself with my purpose and goals.
I usually fast for one day out of the year to redirect my spirit. It is a time where I strip away my social media accounts, any physical activity, and food. I don't consume anything but water for 24 hours. Although I am not Muslim, I decided to do my annual 24-hour fast around Ramadan this year. There is something powerful about joining millions of people around the world in recommitment, prayer, and overall mental wellness.
Fasting is a common practice in many religions that helps increase your gratitude for basic luxuries, increase your self-discipline, and can help you recommit your spirit to a Higher Power. This year, I focused on these three areas while trying to realign my goals and set a reminder for my self-worth and purpose.
Although you would think the people who appear to have it all are grateful for what they have, we all know that it is in our nature to want more. There is nothing wrong with striving to be the best at your craft or wanting to have the best things, but I have to say, Instagram often makes us forget what we have, how hard we've worked, and how amazing our relationships are.
For example, I have no desire to get married. I saw this girl get engaged on Instagram and all of a sudden, my insecurities skyrocketed. Why? My gratitude levels weren't allowing me to see the things in my life that I do have and suddenly, I felt like I needed something that I didn't even want.
Fasting has allowed me to be grateful for the things right in front of me. It has allowed me to experience what it is like to be without for 24 hours. That within itself is something to be grateful for. I can eat again in 24 hours. There are thousands of families that are starving who do not have that option.
Fasting has helped me cleanse my mind and soul from everyday gripe and grumble.
Gratitude should live in everything we do. When I consider the water crisis in Flint, I'm grateful for clean running water. When I become troubled by the thousands of children waiting in foster care, I'm grateful for a mother who is alive and well. When I reflect on having the option to eat or not eat, I'm simply grateful.
Throughout my 24-hour fast, I have to continuously remind myself not to eat. Eating, like other desires, is instinctual. Meaning, we do it frivolously because it's there, it's always going to be there, we assume. We eat without thinking twice.
The act of fasting whether you choose to leave food or any other desire behind involves suppressing your cravings. Suppressing your desires promotes self-control and most importantly self-discipline. If you can handle not eating for a day, you can increase your likelihood to say "no" in any other situation. You put the decision-making process back in your control. When you have to say "no" to something that you're used to doing, you will be more inclined to stop and think about everyday decisions you make.
My favorite part of the fast is recommitting myself, spiritually. I have practiced and followed Christian doctrine for most of my life, but I find that recommitment can work in any religion or faith. I usually take these 24 hours to pray. I pray for the things I want, the places I want to go, and the people I want in my circle. I also pray to control my appetite and any intense feelings of desire. I commit to mindfulness, being kind, and I commit to choosing love first, no matter what the situation may be.
One of the reasons why I delete all of my social media apps from my phone before my fast is to remove negative opinions that actively work against what I am trying to accomplish. I stay away from dark television shows, excessive profanity, and any temptation. I get the most out of my fast from my 24-hour devotion.
It is the most impactful way to realign yourself with your purpose.
There are many benefits to making spiritual sacrifices. After my fast, I found myself more focused, dedicated, and committed to my purpose. By relinquishing one or more of your everyday needs for 24 hours, you begin to view life through a different lens. Hopefully, that lens helps to see you through your purpose and change the way you interact with people on a daily basis.
Disclaimer: While I would encourage anyone to take on the challenge, I do not recommend a no food fast for people who are ill or traveling. It is important to pay attention to your body. The fast is generally going to test your limits, but it is important not to do anything that will put your health and well-being at risk.