5:50 AM. I was sweating. My hands and feet were cold. My body was trembling. I thought I was dying. I can feel the acid fill-up up my stomach. It has been 38 hours since I last ate. I need to eat. But, I can’t. I have to wait 10 more hours until I finish my 48-hour fast.
I dreamed of food last night, pizza in particular. My husband, Nicole, and I agreed to break our 48-hour fast in our favorite pizza place. When I woke up, my mind was filled with food I craved for – sweet potato chips, egg sandwich, pizza, pasta.
I was torturing myself. Food was a stone’s throw away. But, why can’t I eat it? I woke up Nicole and whined like a kid. He smiled and told me, “You are not trembling. You are fine. Do you want me to cook you breakfast?”
Will I give in and throw the 38 hours of work I did? Or will I continue to endure this? I was torn. I can’t think. My mind was telling me, no but my body. My body was telling me yes.
I drank water and prepared a cup of tea. The warmth of the tea soothed my cold body and calmed my stomach. Turns out I wasn’t dying.
I started my day the way I always do. I meditated and listened to my body. I wrote my pages and listened to myself. I let my frustrations out on my journal until I reminded myself that apart from the health benefits, I am doing a 48-hour fast to subject myself on deliberate mindfulness practice. How do I react to the physical and emotional manifestations of hunger? I thought of the consequence if I break my 48-hour fast – I’d regret it. I hated the feeling.
It has been an hour since I woke up panicking. Thinking that I’d die. I survived the next 9 hours until we broke our 48-fast at 5 PM. And, I did not die.
The same goes for life.
You set out to achieve your dream. You start a business and when things get bad, do you give up or do you persevere?
You are put in an uncomfortable situation. Your customer ridicules the proposal that you worked hard for. Do you lash out with spite? How do you handle the situation?
You commit to a goal. You’ve been working hard to stick to your daily exercise routine. One morning, you feel sluggish to hit the gym. Do you sleep in or do you get up despite off?
Often, we act based on our instinct. We give up on the business. We lash out to our customer. We skip our exercise. And a few moments later, we’d regret our choices. Why did I give in?
Instead of acting based on our instinct when we feel anger, sadness, and temptation, take a pause.
Pause and quiet down. Take 5 slow and long deep breaths. Observe your breath and slowly observe how you feel. Think of the consequence of what you’re about to do next. Remind yourself of the reason why you’re doing what you’re doing. Why are you building a business, meeting your customer, or sticking to your commitment?
Doing this will help you see the situation objectively and figure out the right thing to do.