What insights can we gain from fasting?
I have been fasting for 4 days in February as part of the design process for creating and installation and audio story for Museum Muhlerama in Zurich, Switzerland. In these days I have sent emails with observations to a group of people supporting me on the journey. This is part 1.
FASTING MAIL #1
Nice to know you are reading this. Makes me feel more connected in my endeavour.
So as I said in the first mail yesterday, I started my fast today.
For me, fasting means not eating anything while drinking water, tea, coffee and one cup of water with added collagen. I know the first day around noon is the first little hurdle to take.
I am used to intermittent fasting so I don’t generally eat anything until noon anyway so about 2 pm I my body started to feel a little neglected.
As I have had this experience before I could ease into the feeling and relax knowing that it will change.
I think the hardest part when fasting is the resistance towards the uneasy feeling. The urge we have to instantly solve uneasiness is something that we tend to do throughout the day without even noticing. It seems our whole society is based on this. On taking away uneasiness.
The physical part of our existence seems to take less space than our mental part. We might feel physically cold but the mental resistance towards feeling cold, or even the possibility of feeling cold takes much more space. In the past days I have been mentally preparing myself more than I have physically because I know that the mental part is the biggest part.
It’s like with any feeling: it will pass. I am not my feelings. Feelings come and go and beneath them is me. Radiant!
I am not my body. I do have a body. Which I am incredibly happy with.
But I am not subject to my body.
This realisation came to me quite early as I have a full body skin disease that I carried very painfully and very visible for decades. It hasn’t always been easy to not identify myself with my body and my skin condition but I learned over time that a body is there to help you. Not to restrict you.
Fasting creates the opportunity to examine your mental health while working on your physical health.
As you stop digesting you give your body a moment to catch up. After a while the body goes into ketosis which means it will start to burn fat instead of glucose.
I’m looking forward to this inside carwash.
But before I am there I need to cook dinner!
Not for me of course. I have 3 kids and my youngest brought in 2 friends for dinner as well. It will be fun. I think I will be making illustrations during dinner. Or tell them stories.
You might think that’s nice for them but most probably it’s a nice distraction for me 😂.
I will be sending another mail tomorrow.
Let me know if you have anything you would like to share or ask. I might answer your questions (if they are inspiring for all of us) in the next mail.
To ease into uneasiness and find relaxation in that moment creates a tremendous amount of space.
FASTING MAIL #2
My day started well when I got a reply to yesterday’s mail from Maura who wrote:
As I am not English speaking, I confused “feasting” with “fasting”… Just a letter changes everything!
I thought, what a nice perspective. I decided to go and look for the feast in fasting.
And feast it is not far away as my olfactory sense gets heightened and I already start thinking of what my first bite will be on Monday. Perhaps it’s also because it’s the second day. I feel good.
My head is a bit less focused but I feel playful and have enough energy to make a few walks, do a few online sessions and make plans with clients about real events in August.
I am very aware that this type of fasting is nothing less than luxury.
In an environment abundant with food it is easy to stop eating. Knowing that you can simply take a few steps, open a random drawer in the kitchen and eat. *candidly, I just gave my cat a few cat treats and the scent on my fingers suddenly appeared very appealing 😂🙈
One of the main reasons for starting this fasting process is that I am working on an installation about hunger for a museum in Switzerland. I am designing ceramic devices that can be taken into the mouth and when you do that you will hear an audio story through the mouth into your ears from inside your skull.
I want to create the audio story while fasting to make it as real and tangible as possible.
Hunger has many faces and I am aware that fasting in a world with food all around is nothing compared to the actual lack of food.
My installation will be about the nuance in between. About the appreciation of hunger. Many people in the developed world fear hunger but the fear and resistance towards it also creates many missed opportunities.
For example, the opportunity to cultivate real appreciation for food. To sensitise yourself to experience flavour in a new way. But also the opportunity to reset and heal your body. The opportunity to test and train your mental capacities. The opportunity to review and change habits and mindless eating behaviour. The opportunity to become calm when faced with physical uneasiness
And many more.
What if hunger would be an entity. Would it be male or female?
How would you describe it’s character?
Have a great day!
And if you did eat today I hope it was an incredible experience.
If you imagine that we eat daily what our ancestors ate perhaps only twice a year on celebratory days, I think it can help us to enjoy and appreciate your food much more.