In this guest blog post, Marko Petrovic shares some of his experiences with water fasting. Water Fasting has some profound benefits. It has been used since the beginning of time, but has become one of those "lost arts".
Marko and Sam fasted together during the Christmas - NYE period of 2016 and I was so impressed with the deep cleansing and insights they had that we decided to collaborate and facilitate a water fasting retreat together. When deciding to participate in events like this, it is always a great idea to do your research first, to find what resonates with you. We are not recommending you water fast alone, but here are some insights Marko has had from his water fast.
I think you will enjoy this one! - Mitch
After having many conversations and questions about my extended water fast late last year and time to reflect on the changes that have taken place I wanted to share some of the key changes that this fast offered me.
Before I dive straight into the experience I had it’s valuable to create some context around my intentions and the state that I was in heading into this fast.
My key intentions were to:
1. Explore the depths of this amazing vessel that we get to call home, our bodies.
2. To give myself time and space to heal, restore and recover after an exhaustive period of work throughout the year.
3. To deepen my spiritual/mindful practice, my relationship to the elements of life and nature.
So lets get into it, in no particular order, here are some of the powerful reflections, insights and experiences I received during this fast:
1. Excitement from flavour.
While the first few days were relatively easy as I had done a few shorter water fasts in the past (2-3 days) around day 3-4 I began to feel an overwhelming sense of boredom. As the water started to taste rather bland and empty I found myself unconsciously being pulled towards a “need” for flavour.
This was a key distinction for me as I was needing it not wanting it. In the hunt for that which I needed (food) I was blinded to the beauty of what was right in front of me. Let me explain.
You see, I was in need of food for excitement as the water started to taste bland and dull. I was in need for the excitation of flavour and colour. This need persisted for a few days. I found myself having an internal battle at times as I worked through this idea of getting excitement from food.It wasn’t until I addressed the underlying theme of boredom that the need for food went away.
You see, I had learnt for myself, personally, that I was using food not only for nutrition but also as a method of exciting myself in times of boredom.
When I reflect on my life and consider all the times I’d mindlessly wandered into the kitchen to get a hit of flavour this was a big one to confront and deal with.
But what was waiting on the other side was even better. Now that I had the mental space to no longer seek this instinctive need for excitement from food I began to ask how else can I spark my life up? What can I do to excite myself beyond just food?
Interestingly it offered me the mental space to begin doing all the things that I’d put off for so long.The personal hobbies and activities that I had convinced myself I didn’t have time for, when in fact, perhaps I just wasn’t offering myself the time as it was easier to get a hit from food than it was to step outside my own comfort zone and learn a new skill or start a new project.
Personally, this was a HUGE breakthrough, it’s filtered into every area of my life and redefined so many patterns of behaviour that I’d previously play out without a seconds thought. It’s allowed me to get deeper and more intimate with myself in how intentional I’m being with my thoughts, words and deeds. Giving me the experience as if I’m walking a finer line of integrity with myself.
2. Allowing the healer that resides within to come forth.
Even though I’ve been on the holistic health path for some time now, even though I eat consciously and take care of myself. Even though I exercise, stretch and breathe deep regularly. Even thoughI’m doing all the right things to have the best experience of life ever, I still had the body eliminating so much baggage.
Experiencing the body drawing toxins and residue which is who knows how many years or decades old into the digestive system and eliminating out the back door was huge for me. As what followed after these periods was a deeper sense of connection to my body. It’s as if I’d feel a liveliness and life force emanating from certain organs and areas of the body as the body went through this elimination process.
While very subtle, they were deeply humbling experiences in recognising how much life there is to us when we allow the body time and space to do the necessary house cleaning. It’s equally powerful to recognise that there is always room for improvement and growth.
3. Connection, laughter and joy.
This was an interesting one and totally unexpected. On the back end of the fast when sharing with others the experience I had and what some of the biggest breakthrough for me were, there was a big theme of connection that came through.
Connection with my loved ones, friends and family. A natural and spontaneous desire to spend more time with them, enjoying their company, sharing open heartedly and enjoying life together. I had a moment of reflection where I saw all the busyness that we are caught up in and I simply wanted to spend more time with them in pure and open connection.
This coupled with spontaneous laughter and joy. Feeling high on life and as if seeing the world through a set of new eyes. Without any reason for it, I found myself and still find myself experiencing bouts of total ecstasy and freedom.
Those child like experiences that can seem a distant memory of the past for us as we enter the world of adulthood.
4. Physicality and expressing the physical
Finally, one of the big ones for me was the desire to express my physical body in new forms of movement. Things I’d not previously explored. Specifically for me the desire was to engage in JiuJitsu.
Since the fast I find myself bursting with a vigour and vitality that is beyond what I could have imagined. It’s interesting, I find myself saying this many times over. With every fast and detoxing protocol I feel this. Yet with the water fast it was extremely noticeable and sustained for a much longer period of time, I’m still feeling it and it’s almost 6 months since the fast!
It’s worth mentioning that with each fast the results are sustained only to the degree that you take care of yourself and implement the necessary lifestyle to maintain these changes.
So there we have it, an extended period of drinking nothing but water, some personal challenges and triumphs, with a twist of some unexpected growth in the areas of connection and relationships.
Oh and to top it all off, coming back to experiencing flavour in coconut water, juices and eventually food was something out of this world. As if the spectrum of my flavour pallet had opened up so in away where I was eating foods that I’d eaten before but they were speaking a new language to me, singing songs to me and nourishing me not just physically but emotionally, mentally and spiritually.
This experience has really allowed me to slow down with my food and give it the relationship that I feel it’s worthy of, as if a true offering to the body, to a temple of life.
Mindful, careful, humble, respectful and loving.
The takeaway message for me from the entire experience was: Love life.
Love: Give attention to all things that are close to your heart
Life: Express them outwardly in your own unique way as you paint a beautiful canvas.
PS - If you're curious about doing an extended water fast in a controlled environment Mitch, Sam and myself - We will be facilitating a 10 day fast in December 2017. Get in touch to find out more about it if you're curious about this.