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Monday, October 5, 2009

Slow to Fast

One of the joys of living in urban Columbus is having eating and drinking establishments a few steps away. We're 1 block from the nearest coffee and bagel shop, 1 block from a tapas restaurant, and able to walk to tens more choices of bar restaurants within 2 to 10 minutes.

Like many urban dwellers, we keep little in the cupboards, yet we don't go hungry. Nor is fast food the routine. Although our diet restricts most meats, carbohydrates and sweets (no snacks are in our cupboards), we enjoy eating. Give us humus, eggs, beans, fruit, yogurt, nuts and vegetables, and we're good. While out eating, similar finds are noted on menu's, and with little need to loss sight of our diet, we enjoy. I can still enjoy the eventual fries or pancakes, yet now my body responds poorly when it happens too often.

Today, while on the treadmill at the gym, I read about the fasting of one of Dan Brown's characters, Ma'Lak, in The Lost Symbol. His attachment to it is the purification his body goes through. That's what got my interest. Ma'Lak glories in his control over his body, his decision to fast, to sacrifice and to get through it. Two days of liquids, nothing more. Two days of focusing on the enjoyment of self-discipline.

Discipline is a lost art, today. For the most part, discipline comes with personal benefit that is not immediate: diet, exercise, practice of skills, cold-calling, and other long-term, preventitive and proactive behaviors. In the American way of life, we stay so fast-paced with enjoyment, entertainment, impulsive behaviors, that our eating habits follow suit.

Though some take pleasure in food preparation, few take pleasure in exercising food discipline enough to partake in eventual fasting. When it comes to diet in America fast-fooding, not fasting, fast-fooding takes precedence! Habits that lead us quick to mouth are in control. When our stomachs talk to us, growling in hunger, we respond almost immediately.

Unless our faith encourages fasting and prayer, most of us would not practice this sacrifice. We are slow to fast, quick to eat. Does this mean we have no self-control?Perhaps we are seldom fulfilled in ways other than eating. If that's the case, we would jump at any chance to eat, simply to gain fulfillment.

I'm not sure, yet, whether I will try fasting. Many logical excuses come to mind as I consider it. Yet I do know that life fulfillment is worth exploring in ways other than using plate, fork, fingers and teeth.