Every March, I fast. I have practiced this since I was 19 years old. It has taken on many different aspects. One that has settled well with me is the preparation for a renewal in Spring. Of course, sometimes as I celebrated the fast, it was in preparation for the beginning of Autumn and the coming Winter. Those were special years, too, when I lived in Brazil and Uruguay. Let me use my memories as a guide to some of the different facets of this experience.
For my fast, I don’t eat or drink from sunrise to sunset. During this time, I rise a little bit earlier to finish breakfast and brush teeth before the sun crosses the horizon. Is it hard to go without food or water? No, not these days. Its more like skipping lunch. Here are some hints from my experience. First, I make sure I have a good but not extensive breakfast. The idea is to fill but not stretch the stomach. The aim is to have starch for energy in the morning, protein for endurance through the afternoon, and fruits and / or veg to feel full. I have several cups of weak herbal or green tea, served hot but drunk warm. Caffeine and the acids in coffee tend to upset my stomach by the afternoon, so during this time I refrain from coffee and strong tea. It used to be that the third or fourth days I had strong headaches. I believe, this was due in part to caffeine withdrawal. Certainly, the first coffee of Spring packed a punch those days. Now, that I mix 2 parts decaf to 1 par caf, cutting back to none is hardly noticeable.
Thinking back on all the places I have celebrated the Fast, the one that comes to mind is when I traveled through Brazil. In Recife and in Manaus I was almost right on the equator. I watched the Sun rise in the exact East, not a few degrees north or a few degrees south, but straight East. During the day, I was aware that the Sun just went straight up until it was the center of the sky and my shadow disappeared under me. “Hot?”, you ask. “You better believe it.” I had to take special care not to get dehydrated.