Has it ever been said to you, “oh, you won’t know yourself!’?
Particularly in the context of finally accomplishing something that you’ve been anticipating for a very long time.
About 6 months ago, this was said to me, by multiple people. You see, after a long time gyspying about and toying with homelessness, my mob and I finally moved into our own home. I had been anticipating this momentous event for about 4.5 years. I had envisioned what it would be like. What stuff we had in storage that I had forgotten about. Oh and all my books, how I longed for my books. I’d laughed off this ‘not knowing myself’ like the throw away line that it was. Funnily enough, it is actually a truism.
I spent the first two weeks after we moved in in a state of shock. I felt numb. Empty. I quite literally didn’t know who I was or where I was. I was lost. At one point I stood in front of my new pantry and gave myself permission out loud to put my herbs and spices in the actual pantry instead of keeping them in the ‘kitchen stuff’ storage container that I had carted around forever. After awhile, and after processing with friends, I realised that this was something akin to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. There had been a lot going on over last four years (well, 39 really). I needed to decompress. I no longer needed to be in survival mode. I was finally free. Free to be me. What did normal look like again? Had I ever actually done ‘normal’?
I took solace in the valley that runs behind our house. There’s a river running through it. Don’t get the wrong impression here, we’re in suburbia not a secluded woodland. Nevertheless my Abba is good to me, and He has filled it with familiar faces, and in turn I have filled my Instagram feed with pictures of them- shepherd’s purse, cleavers, dandelions, nettles, borage, periwinkles, speedwell, chickweed……I also took joy with the discovery that we have an almond, a pomegranate, a loquat, an apple, a persimmon, roses, lilies, plantain, dandelion, wild lettuce, and fumitory growing in our yard. These are the little things that give me comfort, that ground me and give me assurance. This is the wild medicine that soothes my soul.
I’ve managed to come back to Earth a bit now. We have a good rhythm going with the kid’s life-learning, and I’m settling into domestic queendom. Still, this idea of ‘knowing oneself’ has given me much to reflect on. We recently came back from observing the Feast of Tabernacles (aka the Festival of Booths, aka Sukkot). This 7 day Festival (and it’s concluding 8th day Festival) speaks of the significance of temporary dwellings, and looking toward the ultimate Homecoming. I came back from that with a very strong desire in my heart to fast. I needed to do some deep work. I needed to hang out with my Creator for a bit, and I needed to learn how to ‘know myself’. Perhaps this message to fast had been given to me long before, because I had unintentionally been preparing for it by intermittent fasting for several months beforehand.
I’ve written a bit about fasting before, but probably more to do with juice feasting/fasting. This time I was doing a water fast, ie; water only. I did a short 4 days during this particular fast.
Fasting on water is a profound tool for healing on all levels of our being. Approached mindfully and with careful preparation it can allow the body the rest it needs to fully activate it’s innate self-healing intelligence and heal many conditions. I recommend coaching and/or supervision if you are new to fasting or if you intend to fast longer than 7 days. And I thoroughly recommend Stephen Harrod Buhner’s book, The Transformational Power of Fasting as a good primer on the why, how, when, and what to expect across the spiritual, emotional, and physical spheres. He has also written a great article summarising the benefits here.
The old authors say that the most important part of the fast comes afterward, in the re-feeding stage and beyond. This is when much of what our bodymind was sorting and processing during the fast comes to our conscious awareness for analysis and/or release. I found that even two weeks after my fast ended, it was still deeply impacting my consciousness. The following notes are those that I wrote at two weeks post-fast.
- Deep fasting invites the participant to examine themselves on levels that they may not have had access to before. Without distraction, we are invited to observe our motivations, our agenda, to distinguish and clear the stories that were told to us about us, that we believed and allowed ourselves to be defined by.
- Without distraction, it invites us to come into communion with our Creator (take note – what is the focus of our affliction on Atonement); to hear His wisdom and feed on His Word. To take comfort in His glory, His kindness.
- It invites us to step outside of time, to slow down. To just be. Deep in the fasted state is where we find – where I have found – this place called ‘Home’.
- Profound revelations happen in the fasted state. We raise our vibration, our body changes it’s fuel source – both physiologically and metaphorically. This is palpable, tangible; an incredible lightness of being.
- When you leave the fast and the deep space of lived experience, you are not the same person you were when you went in. The most profound changes occur, is noticeable, in the days and weeks after the fast. You can’t expect to step back into the same lifestyle, the same habits, the same patterns of behaviour that you lived before the fast. The agenda, the story, the motivation behind that way of living was exposed during the fast, and left behind in the void. You are, essentially, a new being. You are someone who has just journeyed outside the Cosmos, beyond the event horizon. Beyond your fear.
- You can try and return to your previous life, but your integrated body won’t allow it. It has experienced freedom, and it won’t allow you to come back to carry, what is essentially now, empty baggage. Your body holds you accountable. Your Creator holds you accountable. This may sometimes account for an ‘unfinished’ feeling.
- Notice your dreams during the fast. Their meanings will become crystal clear. As your integrated body processes the experience, and the stories that it let’s go, and reveals to you your true purpose.
- Notice the clarity with which you see the Cosmos after your fast. You stepped out of the matrix (perhaps without realising you were even in it to begin with); and now you see it clearly for what it is. Notice how you no longer suffer, tolerate, distraction or attachment, in your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual bodies. Notice how you long to be away from the man-made, and more in touch with the natural creation.
- In the physical body, profound changes occur. You can breathe for the first time since that first breath you took when you were born. Perhaps it is the first time you have ever experienced true inspiration.
- As much as there is a letting go of toxins, parasites, disease conditions, excess fat, trauma and so forth; there is an acceptance and a kindness that one feels toward oneself. You become to ‘know thyself’.
If you fast for physical reasons, be prepared to be challenged and changed in your mental, emotional, and spiritual outlook. We are integrated beings searching for our true home. Fasting will give you a glimpse of what that looks like.