What insights can we gain from fasting?
Hi! Here’s my message from Fasting-land.
Yesterday I brushed my teeth a few times more than normal just to change the taste in my mount. If you do a proper fast, KETONES get released through your urine and your breath. This is a good sign (if you are healthy. It’s not a good sign if you are a diabetic) It means that the body starts burning fat instead of glucose.
FASTING MAIL #3
It is a really horrible taste though. When I went for a walk I did some ‘fun-shopping’ in one of the few shops open, a drug store, and got myself various natural toothpaste flavours and different kinds of tea to satisfy my craving for flavour.
The ketones that get released through the mouth are literally acetone and have a peculiar scent mixing acetone with fruit. I started contemplating the idea of using scent in my installation.
I remember being the curator of an art exhibition about sugar at the Stedelijk museum in Schiedam, I invited scent specialist Caro Verbeek who created a similar smell.
People who have diabetes can have the same ketones releasing smell in their mouth. In old times this scent was rather unfamiliar as sugar was extremely expensive and only available for the elite. Quite some nuns had the privilege of consuming sugar and some of them got diabetes. People would associate this oral scent with holiness.Back when we had the exhibition we had to move the installation with the scent away from the entrance as some of the museum staff got very nauseous because of it.
Now I am writing this I think that it could also be the case that nuns, or other religious figures might have been fasting and emitted this scent because of that. And they got added holiness points. I will ask Caro about it.I do not feel particularly holy though.
Anyway, In this process called ketosis, Autophagy starts to happen.
The word comes from Greek and literally means self-eating.It’s not exactly clear how it works but as the body starts eating damaged cells the inflammatory levels in the body drop for a long term after the fast has been broken. Not only damaged cells but also cancer cells can be eaten like this.Fasting and longevity are connected.
I feel like Ouroboros.
I woke up early this morning feeling very bad. I felt weak and in pain. Just as last time, I had some very painful sleeping limbs and night terrors.
My initial reaction was resistance but I decided to ease in the feeling. After all, I wanted to meet hunger.
With a few glasses of water and a bit more sleep I finally woke up feeling very clear.
I am much slower now. I feel less urgency to do things. But I feel good and light. I decide to go with it.
My body told me to make this a 4 day fast. It’s freezing outside and Monday will be an extremely hectic day at Design Academy Eindhoven. I want to show up present for my students and I want to show up present for my body.
I’m dreaming about what I will eat tomorrow. It’s a nice thing to dream about.I do not find it difficult not to eat at this stage.
I like to have conversations about food and taste because I know that cornucopia opens up again for me tomorrow.
How different would that be for people who do not know where their next meal comes from.
What would be your first food you would want to eat after a few days of eating nothing?
Ouroboros – a circular symbol depicting a snake, or less commonly a dragon, swallowing its tail, as an emblem of wholeness or infinity.
FASTING MAIL # 4
I am having a great day today. In contrast to yesterday, where I started feeling unwell and kept rather quiet throughout the day, today was full of energy!
I felt so energised that I started cleaning my house like a whirlwind. As if the mental cleanse required a physical cleaning as well.
Something which is very present in Buddhism. Clean your outer space to clean your inner space. Well, I wanted to clean my outer space yesterday but no way I had the energy to do that.
So today it happened naturally as always. Things always come at the right time.
This afternoon I had a private coaching session in my studio with Nikki (who is reading this as well) and I was enjoying feeling so clear and present when meeting her. It was a very warm experience.
Tonight I will have my first bite. I still don’t really know what I will have first but I went to the shop and got a full bag of stuff I would like so I think at this point the fasting will turn into feasting.
Adrian wrote to me as a reply to these mails wondering whether it would be better to do a fast together with someone. Perhaps your loved one.
I would say that fasting, to me, is a very individual experience allowing me to focus on myself. I get rather introvert and do not necessarily want to see anybody. And about being with your loved one… remember what I wrote about your breath? 😁
Anyway my loved one will be here tonight to celebrate the feast and valentine’s day of course. ❤️
It does help though when you do it at the same time with others but you do not need to be physically together.
The first time I did a fast was with my students of the Design Academy and it was truly wonderful to all have had a similar challenging experience. This created a special bond between us. Even if you do not do it with others, it’s very helpful to create a kind of social construct, people who you share your experience with. This helps you to keep you focused and makes you less prone to give up.
It’s like with anything you want to succeed in. You need a support team. Just how I create my online courses with a group of badass people together. This keeps you on track.
So now I’m near breaking my fast (as Maura wrote to me, the true meaning of BREAKFAST) I want to thank you for your support.
I have made a lot of notes that feed my audio story for my installation.
I use a lot of storytelling in my work as I see that humans are mostly made of stories. This is what makes us different from other species. We believe in stories and use stories to create our social fabric and link our emotional state to them. Read Harari’s Sapiens if you want to know more about that.
Here you see a picture of the audio device I am still testing.
The story you will hear through your mouth will be created from the perspective of hunger as an entity.
I have made more audio stories in the past shifting perspective. For example I made an installation for Caesarstone in Canada where visitors swallowed a seed and the seed would talk to them from inside their belly.
If hunger is a kind of spirit that can enter you. What would the spirit say and feel? I think hunger is rather shy. I will use parts of neuro linguistic programming to make the people who experience the story do things with their body, pinch themselves at a certain moment, feel a volume between their hands, etc. I’m looking forward to writing and recording the story.