We should live each day with a gentleness, a vigor, and a keenness of appreciation which are often lost when time stretches before us in the constant panorama of more days and months and years to come.
— Helen Keller
On our journey to Graceland, I would suggest that you dispense with any excess baggage that you may regret carrying. You can easily recognize it, for it is usually labeled with false expectations, apathy, fear, anger and guilt. If you find yourself laden with these burdens, don’t be surprised. It is very difficult to ignore the messages that engulf us from every direction. They are a calculated, wicked combination of stimulating our desires while eroding and diminishing our authenticity.
But have no fear! The New Moon is but two days away. The next lunation will move us across the numious threshold of Equinox, where all things can come into balance. This is the perfect opportunity to clear away the energies, toxins, and distractions that hurt or manipulate us.
If you’ve decided to go on any sort of fasting regimen, whether it is food or behavioral, I have found that filling in the empty space with something especially uplifting and positive gives a double benefit. Not only does it diminish any feelings of lack, it offers growth and nurturing of its own. After all, your fast is a sacred act, something to savor, to appreciate in all its fullness, rather than a chore to finish.
For example, one of the most discussed media fasts around is the one that Julia Cameron suggests.. well, really, she demands.. when you work through her classic, life-altering “The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity.” During Week Four of her twelve-step program to bring recovery to your Inner Artist, you are presented with the infamous Reading Deprivation week.
When I first worked through her program, the book was not as well-known as it now is, and I was taken completely by surprise. Holy cow! All reading? Yes. Books, magazines, emails, websites, newspapers, everything! Of course she knows perfectly well that 99.9 percent of the people that read her books are book lovers, if not all-out addicts.
There was just no way I could give up reading. How would I ever get to sleep at night? How would I survive in the dentist’s waiting room? What, dear heavens above, would I do to stave off the withdrawal? I could clearly picture myself, dishevelled, desperate, furtively cheating with the charming stories on the side of my Organic Valley milk carton.
She anticipates all our objections, of course (being herself a book junkie). But she wisely warns us not to replace reading with an overload of mindless distractions like prolonged unimportant phone calls or extra TV time. That’s because the intention of the reading deprivation is to restore our sense of integrity. How can we begin to quiet all the other “voices” in our heads, and discover which of the inner dialogues constantly chattering to us really belongs to us?
Any kind of fast is going to be challenging. And a media fast of any sort is loaded with pitfalls. So I would first urge you to carefully consider your intention. Is it, like in The Artist’s Way intended to help you recover your sense of self? Or is it just to take a breather and have some quiet? Or perhaps something else? Intention is everything, and I recommend you spend some time carefully considering what yours is.
Then, in harmony with your intention, I recommend that you decide ahead of time with what you will replace the paused behavior or habit. To help inspire you, tomorrow I’ll tell you the odd thing I chose to do during my first reading deprivation week.