What NOT To Do On The First Day Of The Baha'i Fast

This afternoon I realized I have something in common with Dracula. We're both anxiously awaiting the setting of the sun so we can eat. But that's where the similarities end.

When the sun sets at 5:51 PM, The Count will surely be somewhere sucking down some sweet type O- blood.

Me? Not so much. I'm hungry, not crazy! Besides, I'm thinking that my tofu stir fry will hopefully taste just fine.

But why am I waiting for the sun to set? Why not just go eat a bowlful of stir-fry right now?

You see, boys and girls, it's that most exciting time of the year, the 19-day Baha'i Fast! Yes, starting today, I'm not eating or drinking anything between sunrise and sunset, not even sucking moisture off my toothbrush!

I usually blog about the Fast at the END so that every post isn't a laundry list of everything I want to eat. But this year, I'm going to tell you about it from the beginning, especially because it started out, well, pretty badly.

Yeah, let me tell you how not to start out 19 days of fasting: You don't start off by sleeping through your alarm clock! I can't begin to tell you how awful it was to wake up at 6:50 and realize that the sun had already been up for 30 minutes! Thank you, alarm clock malfunction (which was probably somehow my fault but let's not talk about that okay!)

And so, at that point, I had a choice. Do I eat because, well, I'm hungry and it's not like anybody's around to see. Or do I recognize that doing the Fast is about more than food. It's about developing my spiritual capacity. It's about how much temptation can I resist?

I wrote this last year and I think it applied perfectly to the situation I found myself in this morning:

"Our society is one where instant gratification is the norm. We can revert to that sort of childish behavior where we think we should have what we want when we want it, no matter what. And then we wonder why we have such huge problems with addictions of all kinds: food, alcohol, drugs, shopping, gossip, political bickering, and on and on. So the Fast (like Ramadan, Lent and Yom Kippur) is a time to step back from all the selfishness we surround ourselves with."

I thought about sacrifice and being able to say no to my own desires. Can I say no to things I want if they're not what's best for me?

I didn't eat all day. Yes, I though I was going to die when my boys were eating potato chips after school. Potato chips have never smelled SO good!

Now, I'm only three minutes away from sunset. I resisted temptation. I'm not always able to say that I've done that so I feel pretty good... and gosh I am SO looking forward to dinner.

Let's just hope Dracula doesn't come knocking on my door looking to make a dinner out of me!


Afra Sohar said…
i did the same thing today :)
montague said…
happy fasting to you too!
Anonymous said…
I'm glad you made it through the day - only 18 more to go!!!!:)
Jameil said…
good for you! sweet type O- blood?? NOOOOOO!! my blood is sweet but take the ABs!!
I don't do well with religions that require fasting because I'm hypoglycemic. I have done my share, but have decided that I deny myself so much on a regular basis that doing so ceremoniously would be overkill.

I don't know enough about Baha'i to know if happy wishes are in order,so I'll just say "namaste." And happy dinners!
Anonymous said…
Good luck once again with your fast! I'm too thin to fast for long. I've only fasted once in my life, I tried the John Lennon-style brown rice diet (shows how old I am!) but after a few days I was so weak I had to go back to normal eating. The nearest I get to fasting is forgetting to have lunch....
Anonymous said…
I understand the idea behind fasting for spiritual reasons, but like Heart, I can't do t. I get shaky and sick to my stomach after a few hours without any food. EVen my vision get sblurry. I have a feeling I'd lose all my patients pretty quickly!

But good for you and you discipline about it!
Liz Dwyer said…
I was up a full 40 minutes before sunrise today! The day was MUCH easier! :)

Thank you and to you as well!

And now that today is over, a mere 17 to go! WHOO HOO!

Haha! Yeah, I should suggest something other than my own blood type for Dracula!

Yes, if you are hypoglycemic you can't fast. To do so would be nonsensical in the extreme! Baha'is who have any sort of health concerns, are over 70, pregnant, nursing a baby, etc., are exempt from fasting. None of that applies to me this year! Anyway, "namaste" works perfectly for me and dinner tonight was FAB! Yum!

Thanks for the good luck wishes! I'm going to have to look up that brown rice diet because I don't think I've ever heard of it. I do try to think of this as just skipping lunch. Now I'm super aware of how much snacking I do all day outside of breakfast and lunch!

Yep, believe me, if I really began to feel ill, I'd have something to eat or drink. But most of the time I'm more like, "Wow, I really want a chai right now!" which has nothing to do with feeling unwell! My husband can't fast because of both the strenuous nature of his job and his work schedule. I told him he should give up chocolate instead. He disagrees! :)
Nicole said…
Congratulations and thanks for coming by last week. I did a full day fast at the beginning of last month, followed by a two day fruit and water only detox. So much of it turned out to be psychological; I started and stopped four times before I got it right...kept telling myself that I needed ice cream and finally admitted I didn't. It also puts things into perspective. I find myself saying "I'm starving" all the time, when really, I'm just a little hungry. I realized what an insult that must be to people who live in poverty and truly do go hungry on a regular basis.

On a side note, I just finished blogging about Depeche Mode...can't believe I stumbled onto another fan.
Anonymous said…
Discovered your blog recently and really enjoy reading it. I'm a practicing Muslim (for the most part!) and have always kelt a kinship with Baha'is. I pray that your fast goes well. I've been wondering is your husband also Baha'i? Do the kids get involved in the fasting? (Not sure if you are raising them Baha'i or not.) As a kid, fasting during Ramadan was so much fun for us. I hope those aren't intrusive questions. Best to you and yours! I look forward to reading more.
Liz Dwyer said…
SO great that you're a DM fan! Nice to know that there are other people out there who understand how I feel about them. Gosh, it's only 11 days till tickets go on sale for the LA shows and I'm so worried they're all going to get snatched up by ticket brokers. As far as fasting, SO much of it is indeed psychological! I tend to think I need ice cream too, but of course, I don't! :)

So nice of you to leave your comment! I have very fond memories of my Muslim friends being SO super supportive of my fasting efforts when I was in undergrad. They could really relate! :) Yes, my husband is also a Baha'i and he's doing his best to fast this year but he has a super strenuous job and works a lot of hours, so I don't know if he'll be able to fast every day. When sunset comes, he's sometimes still at work and he can't eat while he's there. He's sort of playing it by ear to see how he feels.

We are raising our boys as Baha'is, but they wouldn't have to fast till they're 15. That's considered the age when you're mature enough to declare your beliefs/fast. Nowadays, their contribution seems to be asking me if I'm hungry! :) Thanks for the questions... they weren't intrusive at all!

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