Hey y'all!

That hailing hails from Emerald Isle, NC, off the coast of North Carolina, where it seems like the winter has arrived, wet and cold (relatively speaking lol) and blustery.

Perfect day for hot chocolate! Or fasting?

Huh?

Fasting - that is, a form of prayer in which we do not eat - is not very popular, particularly in the Western world in general and in the US in particular. Yet it ranks right up there with snowflakes on roses and whiskers on kittens for me!

Why? Well, when we fast, we give our body a vacation: nothing to break down, digest, integrate, evacuate. For our body: it's a celebration! They say at least 60% of our energy is used up by the digestive process, and so when the body does not need to digest, that energy is freed up. The uplift of energy that becomes available to us is nothing short of remarkable!

I remember my first week-long fast: an organized affair in the Pyrenees mountains which included daily long hikes to use up all that good energy... what a discovery! I had been nervous about it, and so stashed an apple away in my baggage... just in case lol. But from the very beginning, I felt WONDERFUL... and my body (which I had not always treated with respect) thanked me actively from the outset as my mind became more clear, and my energy levels allowed me to hike with the best of them!

That week-long fast was not enough for immoderate me (lol), so the last time I did it, I fasted two weeks... and got my PADI scuba license while doing it along the coast of the Mediterranean. (The organizers invited me not to tell the scuba instructors, though... fasting is not generally understood and the misconception that it weakens a body is common. And FALSE.)

There is a famous quote of Jesus' which has been on my mind for the last week or so, coming to mind again and again (and I know better than to ignore that!) It occurred when the disciples had asked Jesus why they weren't able to cast out demons, after he was able to do it. Jesus gave them to understand that their faith was smaller than a mustard seed... but that prayer and fasting might do the trick.

" if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you. However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting." (Matthew 17:21)

I think He was onto something...

Aside from the benefits of physical fasting (about which I have already waxed poetic), there is another kind of fasting which is very helpful in "casting out demons".

Now, I am not talking about Hollywood-type demons, no external monsters attacking hearth and home, but about INTERNAL ones.

Demons such as fear, doubt, worry, shame, and guilt all have the effect of bringing us down (and sometimes keeping us there). Such demons are really addictions: habits that do not serve (that old immoderation again lol): when what we do or with whom we do it is not of the highest and best, when our own thoughts, words or deeds bring us down and dim our shining.

You know what I mean by shining, right?

When we are joyful, when how we are in the world (how we act and feel) aligns with the Truth of who we are (sons and daughters of the Divine), then we SHINE!

And the more we feel well, the more we are happy with who we are and what we are doing, the more that shining beams forth brightly, a light from a lighthouse, shining on all and each equally.

On the other hand, when we are NOT joyful, when something has us out of whack, keeping us small, perhaps (pettiness, meanness, dishonesty, borne of fear, doubt, guilt, shame or worry), our light dims considerably. Folks may even notice the difference, which is often visible... and WE certainly feel the difference: a heavier step, less enthusiasm and passion for our lives.

In this season which amps everything up, our shining and steady light become even more important as activities and interactions stress and strain.

Time for a fast, maybe??

I am not talking about skipping eating (necessarily... unless you want to put aside those Christmas cookies and other holiday goodies), but rather a different kind of fast which very effectively serves to get that "other kind" of energy (our "demons" which diminish our joy)... OUT.

There is a law of energy which is useful to consider for this kind of fasting as it underpins this idea "WHERE OUR ATTENTION GOES, SO GOES OUR CREATIVE ENERGY."

This leads us to understand that the "fasting" that is necessary for a sea change is to disconnect with all sources of "temptation", to avoid feeding the thoughts and actions which we know to diminish our SHINE, in this season of celebrating LIGHT.

"HOW?", you may ask (or not lol...)

Fasting in this sense could include paying attention to the "random" (NOT!) thoughts which cross our mind... ALL THOUGHTS which cross our mind FEED SOMETHING: it may be our demons or our shining. For example, if SAD thoughts occupy our mind (unconsciously or not), then we are FEEDING the SAD aspect of our being. If we can become AWARE of this, and consciously (in those instants) shift our attention to (for example) GRATITUDE, we begin to FEED the grateful and joyful aspects of our being, and begin to starve out (take power away from) the often-unconscious dimming sadness.

WE GET THOSE DEMONS OUT BY FASTING.

Being sad in and of itself is not a bad thing, mind you: as emotions arise it is healthy to express them. But when it is a habit, the emotion is stale and we are held back in the past by that heavy energy, which can seem to hold as much power over us as a demon.

WE GET THOSE DEMONS OUT BY FASTING. AND PRAYER.

PRAYER is also helpful, of course. We don';t have to do it alone (and if we don;t yet have a mustard seed, it's probably not a good idea to try. lol

We can help ourselves out a good bit by asking for Divine / Angelic help (seeing as how they are hanging around anyway). In this way, PRAYER can help us to FAST (and not FEED!) any negative side of ourselves. Which will naturally bring us into more and more Light...

FASTING (watching which aspects of our inner being we feed: demons or Light) and PRAYER (asking for help) will do the trick... at least until I can work up to that faith the size of a mustard seed I have set my sights on.

In light of all that, I know that from which I will abstain (FAST) today... How about you?

FAST PRAYERS from Emerald Isle...