A few weeks prior to heading to San Francisco, I wasn’t feeling my best physically. I was suffering from body aches, my energy levels were erratic, and my appetite wasn’t good. Making my bed more comfortable helped, but I thought I might feel even better if I improved my diet and eliminated coffee
After the initial withdrawal wore off, my energy levels and mood quickly improved and my thinking got more clear. I considered the experiment a success and decided to keep going.
And then one day, stuck with nothing to do while my husband discussed alignment with a mechanic at a used tire shop I took a walk. Even before I set out, I knew that if I walked far enough, I would pass Bluebeard Cafe: where I’ve made many pit stops to make a bad day better, where I’ve brought visiting guests to show off my adopted hometown and where they serve the best espresso in Tacoma,
Even before I could see it, I felt my body pulled towards the familiar entrance. Conditioned to know that pleasure and relief were on the way, my physical excitement mounted and I started to wonder why I’d quit drinking coffee in the first place.
Espresso; it was a bright spot in a bad day, a boring day, an exhausting day or a good day. It was a guaranteed pleasure, my one daily indulgence and part of my heritage.
But rather than going in, I kept on walking and instead stepped into a healthy tea and herb shop where I found a book called Rumi’s Four Essential Practices. One of those essential practices, I discovered, is fasting.
I’ve never been a dieter and, though I am a spiritual practitioner, I’d never taken on fasting as a spiritual discipline. And yet, without realizing it, in addition to improving my physical condition, my new diet had actually been giving me the opportunity to deepen my relationship to self.
I brought the book with me to San Francisco and was glad I did when the first thing I found upon checking into my room was a gleaming Nespresso maker. In addition to providing an exciting opportunity to join a community of impassioned and accomplished leaders, my weekend at The Hive was clearly going to be a continual challenge to my resolve.
But I kept in mind these words from Rumi, which were a constant reminder that my commitment to hearing my soul was stronger than my commitment to having a buzz.
yesterday you filled your stomach
with all kinds of bread and foods
you became so sluggish
what comes of such indulgence?
or the need to go to the toilet
sounds of moans and mourning
come from the soul while fasting
but the only sound that comes after a meal
is a low-pitched rumble from the rear end
if you want to hear what the soul has to say
then skip the meal;
it you want to hear from the other end
then bring the bowl closer to you