The Fast Track to Enlightenment

Mention the words “I am going on a fast” and a neutral reaction is one thing you are bound not to get. “Why would you?” “You mean you are not going to eat for 5 days?” “Are you crazy?!,” are among the stock responses. On the flipside, “Wow, I admire you” and “I’ve always wanted to do that” will be the other end of the feedback spectrum. Praise for your fortitude will be the tone of this genre of onlooker. In either case fasting raises, if not an eyebrow, then at least a curiosity… and rightly so!

Over the last 3 years I have embarked on a series of five-day group fasting journeys led by internationally-renowned shaman and teacher Parashakti. Parashakti’s “Liberation Fast” is a transformative process wherein participants are guided and supported to use the benefits of fasting to detoxify on physical, emotional and spiritual levels in order to realize specific personal goals.

We are all so enamored by that which we put in our mouth that the idea of intentionally abstaining from eating may cause a slight short-circuiting of our internal wiring.

In fact the energy released from that metaphorical blowing of a fuse, can be unto itself a sufficient reward for the discomforts of fasting and a good reason to do so. Why? Because that energy fertilizes change in your life. Fasting offers the possibility of transforming numerous areas of your life. Confronting food in such a direct manner brings balance to the lower centers of the body and triggers a revitalization of your entire position in life, confidence in your own decision-making process and your sense of self.

On the level of digestion, fasting gives a break and therefore a boost to your whole digestive tract. This in turn improves the immune system. By enhancing digestion, fasting causes the body to become less acidic, and therefore less vulnerable to microbial overgrowth, everything from candida to the common cold. Fasting heightens the body’s ability to detoxify itself, keeping the inner organs at their peak functioning.

My own journey with food and my body, which had been a rocky road for many years, has been greatly assisted by fasting. This was as part of a broader undertaking, a health and lifestyle initiative that included a committed yoga practice, study of nutrition, developing a satisfying career and pursuing self-expressed, nourishing relationships. In high school I endured long bouts of a fairly serious eating disorder. The new-found freedom of university enabled me to grow out of it, though I still resorted to compulsive overeating at times, as an emotional outlet. I dreamed of a day when I’d be sufficiently connected with my body and at ease with food that I’d instinctively know when I was full and thus be able to put down my fork without an inner wrestling match with a voice compelling me to eat more, more, more.

Many of us have these arguments back and forth. One side urges towards excess, while the other begs for moderation and balance. After years of internal squabbling between the two, fasting has been a crucial element of my healing journey, helping me to attain inner harmony and sculpt a new, more mature and attentive relationship with my appetite and food. What a relief!

Parashakti’s “Liberation Fast” is a variation of a well-known method called the Master Cleanse whereby one drinks an unlimited amount of a spicy lemonade throughout the day, the ingredients of which are particularly potent for detoxification.

The Liberation Fast sets out to create a unique fasting experience. Its format offers both practical and spiritual support throughout the process. Participants experience the process with a group, so there is a built-in support system. I have co-facilitated a number of groups alongside Parashakti and our intention was to make the five-day fast as fun and easy as possible, and also manageable in the context of every day work and life. With group support and the guidance of an experienced leader, side-effects of headaches and energy slumps are minimized, and during the course of the fast, participants have been able to move through the struggle and arrive at a point of sustained euphoria.

The “Liberation Fast” is so-called because its intrinsic aim is to liberate ourselves, through fasting, from some self-imposed limitation or blockage. To help us accomplish this, Parashakti kicked us off with an intention setting ceremony. “Why are your entering into this fast?” she had us ask ourselves. “What are you ready to leave behind and what do you want to manifest?” She insisted that we could experience a breakthrough in our lives by dedicating the energy generated from this week of fasting towards something we ardently desired to come into being in our lives.

“You can dedicate this to meeting the love of your life,” she suggested, “or to finding clarity in your business, or to coming out of your shell, anything you want.” We all identified one area of our lives where we sought to experience more freedom, and set the intention of our “Liberation Fast” to experience liberation there. My yearning was for the gift of strategic vision, in other words making sense of a big picture in the face of endless minutia.

“What is your intention?” we’d be asked again and again by the majestic Parashakti. Under her direction, the clarity of our intentions flourished, making the difference between a conscious fast and a starvation-technique-crash-diet. Our intention was grander than shedding a few pounds, rather it was to drop emotional baggage and experience true growth.

Next we were instructed in exactly what to consume for those five days – a tasty solution of a few easily attainable ingredients. The Master Cleanse dissolves mucus, cleans bacteria and toxins from the system, suppresses the appetite and keeps blood sugar levels steady. It’s easy to make, inexpensive and the exact proportions can be adjusted at will to each individual palette’s needs.

So we were off! Each was prepared to stick with the lemonade potion, our dedicated brew for the week. This can get tricky when your kids are used to eating breakfast with you in the morning, or your friends always socialize over dinner, or you are committed to attending a networking meeting. I attended one such lunch, and requested no food, but instead an elegant martini glass to drink my potion out of. The key was to stay focused on my goal and think of creative solutions.

Our group met every evening as the week went by. Participants shared their highs and lows, their moments of insight and struggle. We kept returning to our personal intentions as if they were a life rope that would get us through stormy waters to eventual calm. The funniest story I heard was from one man who did not want to tell his wife, for fear that she would try to talk him out of it. Instead he juiced his lemons secretively in his garage, avoided meals at home and drank his potion clandestinely!

The beautiful thing about the Master Cleanse is that by the third day many people lose their hunger and experience great ease with the process. They sense that they could almost effortlessly continue on with the fast for several more days, a freeing, empowering feeling. We love this fast because the recipe makes it so easy to get in the groove and have a manageable, energizing experience, not one of torturous deprivation. This cleanse and support system pave the way for surviving the five day fast comfortably.

As a complement to the fast I chose to receive a colon hydrotherapy treatment at SanaVita, a center dedicated to this healing art. With great care and attention my belly was massaged, water was trickled in and out of me, and any blocks were effectively unblocked, speeding up the detoxification process. The experience left me feeling light and made the fast easier.

Day by day, one by one the shells of the fasters cracked and we experienced a personal epiphany. What had been terrifying and seemingly impossible had been accomplished. Life’s obstacles appeared less daunting and the ephemeral dreams that dance at the edge of our imaginations seemed more worth striving for.

The recommended way to exit the fast is with a day of light fruits and vegetables, then back to normal. However being the “rules are made to be broken” type that I am, I allowed circumstances to dominate. I happened to be traveling to London on a red-eye flight the final night of the fast. Alas, that meant that I broke my fast with airplane food! I simply shrugged and gave my self a pat on the back for making it through.

The next few days I savored food, freely yet attentively. I ate a mouth watering English quiche for lunch, then Latin-style fish and a passion fruit margarita for dinner, and a full English breakfast the following day. I relished every bite and was back in the flow of eating again. My digestion felt refreshed and reinvigorated, and I felt aligned with my intention to raise my strategic thinking to a new level.

pixelstats trackingpixel
Contact Us

We're not around right now. But you can send us an email and we'll get back to you, asap.

Not readable? Change text. captcha txt

Start typing and press Enter to search