Last week I reminded myself of a part of me long forgotten.
Suffering from an inflamed gum in my mouth after dental surgery, and weighing up my options, I decided to try a fruit and vegetable juice fast in order to try help heal the area. The rationale of the naturopath I work with was to give my body a chance to rest and to use the energy it would have spent on digestion on healing instead.
Now, let me make this clear. I love eating and I love food, and I am not a good faster. I dread religious fasts and feel so much relief and gratitude when they are behind me. So this suggestion was met with strong resistance.
She suggested a five day plan, which I felt was not possible, considering the amount of things I had on the go that week. Part of me insisted that if I could not do it all, it was worthless and I may as well not even do a little bit. An evident “all or nothing” approach. But, for a change I ignored that voice. In other words, I outsmarted myself and I started. I said to myself I would start with just a day or two and see how it goes.
After day one, I wanted to give up. I felt weak, depleted and exhausted. Another voice of fear piped up that perhaps this was dangerous despite the vast quantity of water and juices I was drinking! Instead of buying into that voice too much, I put myself to bed and resolved to see how I felt in the morning; whether I could do just one more day.
The next day was also grueling but after enjoying my well earned hot onion broth for dinner, after surviving my mid-afternoon low point, I said to myself why not try just one more day? I didn’t pay too much attention to the voice that piped up that this was extreme and why can’t I be more like everyone? No, instead, I kept my eyes focused firmly on my “one more day” goal, and surprisingly by the next day, I started to feel a bit better. There were a handful of rough moments within the day, but at times I even felt light, energized and exhilarated! By the next day, I felt more vibrant and clearer and since I had come so far, I thought I may as well try one more day. Until the next, when I consciously broke my fast in order to accustom my body to food before Shabbat. In other words, I did it.
Victory. I found myself on the other side, with a healing gum, thank G-d, and a sense of accomplishment. I did it. I did the seemingly impossible.
And thinking about it all now, I am reminded of a little girl who won a little 4 kilometer marathon race two years in a row when I was around 10 or 11. Reminded of the strategy and mind games I played with myself back then. Starting slow, not wearing myself out too quickly despite the temptation, slowly overtaking people in front of me, one by one, until I let myself increase in speed toward the end, keeping my head down and my eyes on a goal just ahead of me, and then moving the goal. All the way till the end.
You see, I had forgotten about this girl, this part of me. These days, the voice the runs the show, is the one that tried to get me to not even attempt the fast. Or, the scared voice that insisted this was not healthy or the name-calling critical voice.
So the victory here is twofold. One: I did it. I actually drank fruit and vegetable juice for 4/5 days! I filled my body with life-giving organic juices brimming with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. I gained a sense of my own strength, empowerment and capability: of being able to be in control of my body and not the other way round.
(Note: I am so grateful that I have access to fresh fruit and vegetables and for the juicer we bought more than a decade ago that is still doing it’s thing.)
And two, I did not give power to the voices trying to derail me. I filled my mind and heart with the voice of a true fan: “You can do it.” “Nearly there.” “Don’t look up just yet.” “I so believe in you.”
I am also so happy that this voice popped up its head at this time. I am reminded how possible and powerful it is to feed ourselves constructive, healthy, positive thoughts. When we do, anything is possible.
Disclaimer: Anyone wanted to attempt a juice fast or any fast for health reasons, should consult with their physician first.