Monday, September 28, 2009

In honor of the High Holidays. . . .

Long before anorexia came to our house, I refused to fast on Yom Kippur. I understand the idea behind a 24-hour fast: to "cleanse" the mind of its emphasis on the corporeal, and to refocus it for a time on the spiritual.

For me, though, a fast made me think more about my body and its needs, not less. Standing in synagogue, beating my breast, all I could think about was food and hunger.

At 13, the first year I was "allowed" to fast, I became so ill with hunger that sometime during that long afternoon, I ate part of a candy bar I found buried in the sandbox behind our synagogue, and spent the rest of the night throwing up.

Personally, I'm much more able to feel spiritual when I'm well fed, well rested, and centered.

Jews wish one another an easy fast in honor of Yom Kippur. Since I don't fast--and since I hope those of you who are actively dealing with an eating disorder are not fasting either--I will wish you instead a day of contemplation, of connection to yourself and others, and a refocusing on your true appetites, whether they are spiritual, physical, emotional, or creative. Whatever your concept of holiness, I hope you can find some corner of it today.

To help you along, here's a gorgeous recording of Jacqueline du Pre playing Kol Nidre, courtesy of my friend Kay.

3 comments:

Laila said...

aaaw, what a nice post!!!

and you are so right about this, who can feel good about fasting? it usually end up with a binge and purge anyway, for me at least...

Haveing a wonderful day, eat healthy and feel good about life is what its all about, tho its easier said than done...

I wish you a wonderful day :)

Shander said...

Great post, Harriet. I only tried fasting on Yom Kippur once in my life, and found, as you said, that I couldn't get my mind off my hunger long enough to think about anything non-corporeal.

Your wishes for this day were beautifully expressed, and I would like to send those wishes right back to you....

Katie said...

cute post :)
i really liked it, and i definately agree with you.
i refuse to do the 40 hour famine anymore as well, as it just fuels my ED.