One day at a time.

One day at a time.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Hunger Prayer

This was no game.

It was 4:00 pm when I hit rock bottom.  The first day of my yoga fast.  In truth, I could eat fruit so it wasn't a total fast but there was no caffeine, cooked or processed food, sugar, starch, dairy, etc.  I had been exuberant that morning as I ate my strawberries with kiwi, but without any coffee or my afternoon cookie I suddenly became some Unitarian Universalist version of the hulk.  It was ugly.

I was cranky and angry, what my friend calls "hangry" (anger from hunger).

I had begun this fast as part of a 40 day yoga program to help me realign and center.  But in that one hour window from 4:00-5:00 pm I questioned everything I was doing.  Fruit and water?  For four days?   Can woman live by fruit alone?!  

I sent myself home for the day.  I clearly couldn't work like this.

After laying down for an hour, I woke up anew.  For the next few days, I felt grateful for every meal.  It wasn't easy, but that was the point.

So much in my life often goes smoothly, easy even.  I have few real sacrifices I have to make. Sure, there are plenty of things I might not feel like doing (the laundry is among them). Yet, there are few sacrifices I have to make.  I've never had to give up a meal to feed my children.  I've never had to risk my life for a member of my family.  I've never had to work 12 hours a day in dangerous conditions so I could bring a small share of bread home to my family. Most days I am not even aware of how my food got to my table.  I couldn't tell you the name of the laborers or factory workers, farmers or truck drivers who make something as simple as my garden salad possible.

Now, do I hang my head in overpowering guilt?

No, because this would not be terribly useful.  Feeling bad for the ease of my life also isn't the point of sacrifice.  I fast, sacrifice, to remind me of the blessing and the responsibility.  I fast to connect my life to others; for a day to be conscious of all that happens for that "simple" salad.  I fast to ground again in gratitude. I fast to be called forward to create a world where no one has to give up a meal to feed their children.

How?  I don't know entirely.  But I am led by the hunger.