I fast once a month. It’s hard. Even though I’ve been doing it for years, I start dreading my fast day the night before; fretting about how I’m going to be able to pass through the discomfort. And where I’m typically not hungry until around 11am, on a fasting day, I wake up hungry. Then, I stumble through what I need to get done as best as I can given how I’m feeling. Even though I know what to expect, it never seems to get easier.
This week, I heard someone say that whether you choose to take care of yourself or not, both are hard. So pick your hard. This flies in the face of the world we inhabit where we are constantly being steered towards doing what’s easy, what’s fast and what’s convenient. More to the point, we’ve been educated to believe that nothing has to be hard. We’re all supposed to feel good all the time. We’re all supposed to be winners.
Everyone gets a medal. Everyone finds a four leaf clover at Disney World. Everyone’s everything gets a pass these days because we don’t want anyone to feel excluded.
But here’s the thing, experiences in life that are difficult and that we find a way to meet and be strengthened by, give us something to be proud of. Give us a sense of who we are and what we are capable of. Give us an inner strength and grit to cleave to our values and what matters most in a world at a loss for both.
And that’s why I fast. Because it strengthens my resolve and my determination to remember and honor the preciousness of food. Because it serves as a counterbalance to all the excesses we are constantly being force-fed to indulge in. Because it reminds me of what I will do to keep myself in health.
It’s hard to have a long overdue conversation, and it’s hard to carry what is unresolved.
It’s hard to make changes in your life, and it’s hard to not feel good.
It’s hard to take the time to discover what your offer to the world is, and it’s hard to work at a job you hate.
It’s hard to admit to the limitations of what you can and cannot influence, and it’s hard to try and control what you cannot control.
It’s hard to learn about who you are and what makes you tick, and it’s hard to live believing the wrong things about yourself.
Pick your hard.