Fasting Day 2 - Finding Peace In A Busy City

July 1, 2013 at 6:04 AM

“I need to learn how to live in a busy, fun city and practice the discipline of fasting and solitude.”

If you know me through my writing you would assume I’m an introvert—if you were a part of my circle of friends, you would know me as a funny, full on, extravert. The bigger the crowd, the more the performer emerges and I become intoxicated on attention, sometimes to the point of reckless abandon. (It’s a weakness and I’m working on it.) This last year, moving from country to the Greater Toronto Area, there is has been more socializing, laughter, folic and merriment, and far less study, quiet contemplation and writing. I must admit, the break has been nice. Living more and thinking less ain’t so bad.

I guess I’ve been like a child in a candy store. Moving from a small town to one of the largest cities in Canada, there is no end of fascinating people to meet and things to do. There are fresh markets, endless kinds of cheese and olives. There are Sushi bars everywhere. Live theatre, gorgeous parks, beautiful women, and every kind of hiking, cycling, writing, knitting clubs you can jam into a week. Not to mention an amazing Church with tons of activities. One can lose themselves in doing, and I did.

Transitioning from solitude to socializing was easy, even thrilling. I went from nights and weekends alone writing in my office, to two home groups a week,  a Saturday morning men’s group, meeting up with new friends, and throw into the mix a few dates here and there. Before I knew it, almost every night I had something scheduled to do. I even started making connections at work, meeting coworkers for drinks. This life was new to me. It’s always been my practice to avoid connections, to have a high firewall around me as a way of protecting focus and time. I guess if I was honest, I have always envied people who came back from the weekend and talked about doing fun things with friends. I never had that luxury.

 Within this last year I had more friends than I had time. But it was not long before life started to feel mechanical. These last few months I begun to feel detached and disconnected. The writer in me that is so dependent on solitude slowly went into hibernation.

 Transitioning from solitude to socializing is easy and fun, but going in the other direction—not so easy. After 48 hours of fasting alone, there are lots of emotions. For the morning and most of the afternoon, I was picking up my phone to text, stopping myself, and then this feeling of slight depression, wanting to call and talk to a friend. The desire to connect with someone. As those feelings calmed down, into the evening, I began to experience a deeper spiritual connection with God. I felt less detached, more connected. This morning I awoke with peace and desire to read my bible. I actually looked forward to reading, praying, and writing down my thoughts. It made me feel nostalgic for my old small town. To revisit those foresty areas I used to write in. But I knew that was not the answer. There is no going back. I need to learn how to live in a busy, fun city and practice the discipline of fasting and solitude. To create a life of balance. I do not want to go back to the isolated life I had, but I also need enough alone time to stay connected to the spiritual part of me that is connected to God. It’s about learning to say no sometimes.

A word to you would-be writers. There is a real temptation to expend your creative energies talking about the ideas you want to write about. Don’t! Talking is lazy; instead do the work of writing. I am a communicator. A teacher. The desire to teach and articulate my “all-important thoughts” wells up inside like bottled wine.  When I have this feeling, I used to run—not walk—but run to my laptop and write like a dervish. This last year, I have got into the bad habit of phoning or texting these ideas to friends, and guess what? They are lost forever. It’s plain laziness on my part, and I’m going to stop it here and now. Consider well before you chose a writer’s life. It can be a lonely affair. I’m not even sure it’s a choice, more like a calling. 

So here I am, fasting and alone, sitting in my favorite gravity chair by a brook in a park below my apartment. There is a large tree obscuring my view from the road above, providing some feeling of privacy. Still, I cannot help but wonder what the passing people in their cars are thinking, seeing this solitary man in a chair writing. I find the thought distracting. It’s not as quiet or secluded as the woodsy green places I used to write just outside the small town I left behind, but the Spirit of God is with me. He is the God of city and wilderness. In spite of the ever-present background noise of a bustling city, I feel a great peace and joy. The sound of city life dims and wind, the brook and bird-song comes into focus. 

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United States click here says:

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this is more than possible.  i have taken lomg dry fasts in the US's NYC many times with many effects.  to focus om the non-strenuous though, after several years of shorter then loner fasts, i did once a 13 day dry fast, dressing normally in cool weather, goimg shopping and taking nice, long yet normal walks.  i did talk to a random college student who was religious who was amazed by the idea.  it was calm, decent and interesting, lacking strain or emotional despair in all forms. ending was easy lacking any harsh symptoms.  you must also undertsnd NYC is the world's richest and most famous eating culture, with very few citizens having ever seen or heard of even a half day of hunger.

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