a fast.

I've never tried a fast before, but I've been re-reading Shauna Niequist's Bittersweet, and it seems like the right thing to do right now. I love what she writes because it speaks to me exactly where I am at this moment:
"And then all at once, Aaron said he wanted - or rather needed - to fast, the spiritual discipline of going without food for a specific amount of time as a way of trusting God's provision and creating silence and space for prayer. He said he needed to do something to honor God's role in all this and to prepare himself as best he could for a new future...

Some people are connected enough with God on a day-to-day basis to go without fasting. Some people weather major life changes with aplomb and Pilates and vegetables, just like how they live the rest of their orderly, lovely lives. I, however, was feeling totally untethered to God or anything else and wanted to find a way to connect once again to the things that matter to me. 
Fasting was a move of desperation."

Lately, I've been carrying my anger around like a shield. I've been waking up at 4 am, overwhelmed with anxiety and dread. Every other phrase out of my mouth has been a complaint about one thing or the other. And my thoughts? I've killed people with my thoughts, hating them for things like clipping their fingernails on the subway and letting their baby go poop in the street. I've rewarded myself with Starbucks, strawberry margaritas, and glasses of both red and white for "making it through the day" when actually I haven't deserved a reward at all.  Enough hasn't been enough, and I don't want to carry my currently bitter, resentful, selfish and fearful self into the next season of visits from family and friends, celebrations, and weddings.

So from today until the afternoon of June 6, when the fam arrives, I'm on a fast of sorts. A work day fast. I'm fasting from caffeine, alcohol, sugar, most dairy, and anything that I didn't prepare with my own hands. Basically, I'm fasting from all of my "treats." I'm eating breakfast in the morning, usually fruit with plain yogurt and cinnamon or oatmeal with almond milk, but from 6:45 am until dinner (around 8 pm), I'm only drinking juice, water, and green tea. I'm planning on simply-prepared vegetables and grains (maybe some fresh seeded baguettes or organic brown rice) for dinner - mostly raw, nothing cooked in butter or too much oil. I'm reading scripture every morning and evening, and my set prayer times are at 8 am, noon, and 4 pm.

Last night, when I made the decision to fast, I felt so much more peaceful, almost immediately.  Dave and I went out to a last supper of sorts, and it was delicious - the drinks, the food, the company. I made juice when we got home and stuck it in the freezer for today's "lunch." It's 10 am now. My stomach is already churning from hunger and my head feels a little unsettled without my normal caffeine stabilizers, but surprisingly, I think I'm doing ok. Less cranky, less angry, less impatient. Less. My prayers have already changed from, "Why??? Help me!" to "Thank you for the amazing friends who have gone out of their way to connect with me today." Fasting for me is about an attitude reset, about going without those unintentionally superficial life-fillers, and about preparing myself for the future. Less is less. Less is enough.