Fasting is a time to look at everything—not just what we eat and drink but also what we think and feel. I have been musing about this very thing as I look more in-depth at fasting and ask the question: What good does it do for us to avoid all the junk food, solid food, meat, dairy, sweets, alcohol, coffee and sodas if we harbor toxic thoughts and emotions in our minds and hearts?
In the aftermath of the burglar attack that I shared with you in the introduction, I not only had severe physical injuries, but I also experienced devastating inner wounds. In fact, the inner breaks in my being seemed far more shattering than the tears in my scalp, crushed discs in my neck and shattered bones in my right hand. I called it my emotional tsunami. Suffocating pain stuck in the crevices of my soul. I sat on the floor in the corner of my bedroom one day, rocking back and forth, overcome by the inner torment and seriously thinking of escaping deep inside, where I could no longer feel the pain.
From a Psychology 101 class I had taken, I knew it was a catatonic state I was contemplating. I remembered my professor saying it was hard to get people out of that state once they got there. An inner voice whispered, "Hang on for one more day." And each day, I heard that voice again, as one day at a time turned into weeks and months.
Grace came into my life. I met three ladies—my kitchen angels, as I called them—who prayed for me around a kitchen table once a week. Bit by bit, an emotion and thought at a time, I let go of toxic emotions and thoughts. It was my salvation from the complete destruction of my life.
At a Victims of Violent Crimes support group I learned that many victims of violent crimes such as the one I had experienced commit suicide. Instead of death, I chose life. I chose it by letting go of the junk food of the soul, one small bit at a time. It was the most significant fast I'd ever undertaken, in many respects. I know I would not be here today, writing this section of my fasting book, were it not for this process of emotional and mental fasting I went through—a process of letting go.
Many people say they just can't let go of certain emotions and thoughts. They are so angry about the offenses committed against them—the loss, the abuse, the atrocity, the abandonment, the betrayal, the trauma, the hurt. Far worse things have happened to other people than what happened to me. Yet I know that the only path to life and freedom is letting go of the toxic thoughts and emotions that can hold us captive.
Holding on doesn't change the outcome. We may feel empowered for a moment, but we aren't free when we're bound by destructive inner thoughts and feelings. We can be free even if we're imprisoned, maligned, abandoned, traumatized or abused.
Fasting is your time to let all the harmful emotions and hurtful thoughts go—just as the song titled "Let It Go" from the movie Frozen says. You really can fast from this toxic stuff. Releasing it all usually comes not overnight but in small steps and stages. It's the old example of peeling the onion one layer at a time. Believe me when I say you can do it! It is freeing, restorative, and rewarding.
Cherie Calbom, MSN, is known as The Juice Lady, TV chef, and celebrity nutritionist and has helped in pioneering the fresh-juice movement around the world. A graduate of Bastyr University with a master of science degree in whole-foods nutrition, Calbom is the author of 31 books. She has worked as a nutritionist with George Foreman and Richard Simmons and has appeared on numerous radio and TV shows and in scores of magazine articles. She and her husband offer Health and Wellness Juice and Raw-Foods Retreats throughout the year. This passage is an excerpt from her new book, The Juice Lady's Guide to Fasting.
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