Ramadhan is a month of change. It represents the change of routine, expectations, desires, needs, and ultimately lifestyle that can shock the system. For 335 days prior to the first fast, I consumed food and water through the day, slept at night and worked through the day. Sure there were travel, off days, aberrations in the day-to-day; but in large, it was the same.
Then Ramadhan comes and it shakes everything up. The first few days of fasting are incredibly testing. Your every waking instinct is pushed to the limit. I found myself thirsty, hungry, and had to spend a lot of energy to mentally push through the day. I spoke in my previous posts about how this eventually becomes easier. But as I think back, this change from “normal” to “fasted” state, that happens with the changing of the moon one night, all of a sudden, is like a shock to the system.
It’s like a cold plunge: you jump in and are immediately tested. Fight or flight. No one will know if you break the fast. No one will know if you are pretending.
But I will. Integrity is doing the right thing, when no one is watching. To me , the test of doing this for an entire month is the pinnacle of self improvement. It’s not about living hungry. It’s not about eating , or not eating. It’s about living with integrity.
Fasting has taught me that my true needs are met when I am focused on abstaining from certain things, not consuming them. Since my caloric intake and times of meal are restricted to hours when the sun is down, I am more prescriptive about what I put in my body. Every calorie counts. I eat only to fuel my body. Abstaining from wasteful eating has actually increased my nutritional worth.
The same goes for my exercise and workout regimen. I am choosing to do these in the evening hours, through the night. If you watch my stories, you see me alive, energized, sometimes at 0300 AM in these insanely intense workouts. Since I am avoiding certain workouts in the day, to preserve energy and better spend it on things that require my day time presence, I am choosing to change my sleeping patterns to execute these in the evening. Abstaining from sleeping when everyone else is, in order to execute my training regime, no excuses.
Ramadhan taught me a lot of things. Living in NY there is excess everywhere. Commercially, there’s excess in everyday life. Fasting has put at the forefront of my mind a singular question: What are the essential things I need to truly be my best? What’s consumption for production, and what’s just part of the excess? I can’t wait to hear some of your answers also.,
I find I am doing so much more, with less. As I think about it more, the theme of Ramadhan is more and more apparent: keep life simple.