|Mountains in Oaxaca, Mexico. I miss you.|
“So why are you doing this?”
I hear this question constantly. I have so many answers I struggle with what to say first. My usual quip that I’m sure people are tiring of is because I want to be like Jesus (Jesus fasted 40 days; Jen fasts 40 days), but jokes aside, Jesus has nothing to do with it.
I guess to explain fully I’ll have to go back to California in early April. There, I experienced an “aha” moment. I was travelling solo for a few days in Los Angeles and then later met up with my extended family and finally my parents. I hadn’t seen my aunts in a year and a half and you couldn’t mask their reaction to me when they saw me.
I didn’t feel well. I was coming out of somewhat of a depression that I didn’t even know I was in from the year before. No one said coming of age was going to be easy and I experienced some challenges that year. My body reflected all of this. How had it been in one year’s time I managed to gain a whopping 40 pounds?
As soon as I got back to Chicago, I started watching what I ate more closely and exercising regularly and by July I was down 20 pounds. It was subtle and not dramatic but I felt better.
Then in August, my coworker popped into my office to ask if I had heard of the Master Cleanse before because she was on her seventh day. I couldn’t believe it – I had not even noticed (and we have a tiny office). I had just watched this documentary about juice fasting and considered it a sign that it was time to get back into it.
So why fast? Most people who know me (and those of you who have followed this blog religiously) know that I’m a very adventurous young woman; from backpacking solo adventures to living with wolves. The same thing that draws me to do these things is what draws me to unconventional paths to self discovery.
I absolutely loathe stagnation. I need to constantly challenge myself and put myself in uncomfortable situations to learn and grow. I’d say abstaining from food and alcohol for a 20-something social butterfly is pretty damn uncomfortable (thank God men are not on that list).
Yes, it’s hard. Someone told me once that there’s no point in doing anything unless it’s hard because it’s the challenge that forces you to grow and furthermore no one ever achieved anything without sacrifice.
I mentioned in an earlier blog that I couldn’t escape to the mountains of Mexico and meditate in a cave for three days so instead I’m fasting. In the past 27 days the things I’ve learned from doing this are astounding. I feel like a different person and I still have 13 magical more days to go. I can say that sometimes I wake up (super energized and happy of course) and think that 40 days is too little – that I should go longer because I feel so good. Maybe I will.
You’ll have to wait for the next blogs to learn about those discoveries and changes, but I can tell you that the Jen that was 27 days ago is no longer. In the words of Fiona Apple: “Here comes a better version of me.”