Day two of my fast and the crux of the problem makes itself known.
Over the past three years, I've gotten more and more tense, more in my mind, further away from the rhythms of my body, the earth. I was in The Land of The Mind after all, so it wasn't my fault per se, but rather an adjunct cost to the tuition. Tension, stress, and thinky thoughts served me well there. I suppose it's possible to make it through undergrad and grad school quiet-minded and tension-free while also working and living alone, but I couldn't come up with one. I did my best, and now I'm left with the aftereffects.
The thing is, stress and tension and thinky thoughts are efficient ways to push shit through on the conveyor belt of living. But, really, I am just sick of Higher Productivity. Even as I face the facts of needing to come up with ways to make cash, and soon. But I'm more sick of shoving myself towards Excellence, which really isn't excellent, just another whip-cracking action word in the lexicon of capitalism.
And so my fast consists of herbal tea, vegetable broth or puree, fresh fruit or vegetable juice, and at 6pm one half cup of brown rice with gomasio. I'm also doing herbs and supplements like psyillium, cascara sagrada and senna, thistle cleanse, and an herbal blend at night for relaxation that contains valerian, hops, chamomile, etc. I feel pretty toxic right about now: achy, stuffed up, interesting things happening in my digestive tract as it cleans itself out. And tired.
But light. I also feel light. And relaxed. Because that's part of what a fast does: it starves the beast, and so the beast takes a nap.
Which reveals the crux of the problem. I want the beast to leave me alone, to give me a break from his incessant roaring and sniping, his great yawing mouth of consumption, his spontaneous glutinous lethargy, his baleful eye. But he also serves me well with his tremendous crackling energy, his nose to the grindstone of widget making, his endless creativity in the generation of ideas and the resulting projects, his fiery perseverance in the face of things Sisyphusian.
And so, here I sit, incredibly relaxed, at ease, breathing deeply, fear on low, yet knowing that the beast sleeps with one eye open, waiting for the slightest nudge to unfurl his mighty To Do list, to get me out Doing and Doing and Doing.
And it's true. In this game of living, things must get done. I may be taking time off as Head Chef for the beast, but ultimately what I must find is a different way to be with him. Not tame him. I'd never want to domesticate his wild hairs or sedate his typhoonish qi or ask him to be even a little bit nice, even though he takes a chunk out of my hide each morning as tribute. What I want is to turn his flame down a few notches, and feeding him less will help with that. I know it means I won't get as much done, but maybe, just maybe, the things I won't be getting done are those things that I don't really need done.
But really, it's too soon to tell. All I do know in this moment is that I'm lighter, freer, something dark and heavy having unmoored itself from me, allowing deep breaths and a softer heart. I don't need to give up the fight, because the war, it is not yet won. But I do need to pick my battles more wisely.
Yes, battle picking and beast soothing. Not a bad way to spend a day . . .