Digestion and Elimination

It’s 3:45 p.m.

I haven’t eaten or drunk anything since 6:23 this morning. We like to time the sunrise right to the minute, making sure we get in one last glass of water before the sun comes up. 🙂

I’m feeling good. I had a rumbly hour or so around noon, but now I don’t feel hungry – just empty. Hollow, sort of. It’s an odd feeling to be physically empty. Most of us in the developed world never let ourselves get to that point. It’s not torturous – I think I’d have to go another 12 hours or so before reaching anything near agony. My stomach just feels . . . empty.

I wish I could say the same thing for our house. We spent a lot of time this morning cleaning out the office. Oh, the amount of paper that accompanies modern living!

And pens. Oh Lord. I appear to be a pen hoarder. I’m not even close to kidding. And the funny thing about that is I’m picky about my pens. I have favorites. So I will rifle through the bin of ball-point pens and eraserless pencils until I unearth my beloved Sharpie fine point.

Those ball-point pens and eraserless pencils have gone the way of the extraneous cheese graters. Buh-bye.

Emptying your stomach involves digestion and elimination. Your body categorizes and organizes what it can and can’t use, then either assimilates or eliminates. It’s kind of the same for emptying your house. Going through all of this stuff, deciding what’s worth keeping, figuring out what to take with us and what to store, and eliminating all the rest.

It’s just a slower process with the house.

And like with our stomachs, I think “indigestion” happens when we have too much stuff, or the wrong kinds of stuff, or when we try to hold onto things that should be let go. I’m realizing as we purge that our home has been in a state of indigestion. I don’t function well with too much stuff. I don’t think any of us do. One of the reasons this trip appeals to me so much is that I like the idea of simplifying everything.

Empty. Hollow. Free. That’s the goal.

And now, I leave you with my favorite fasting poem:

There’s hidden sweetness in the stomach’s emptiness.
We are lutes, no more, no less. 

If the soundbox is stuffed full of anything, no music.
If the brain and belly are burning clean with fasting, 

every moment a new song comes out of the fire.
The fog clears, and new energy makes you
run up the steps in front of you.
Be emptier and cry like reed instruments cry.
Emptier, write secrets with the reed pen.
When you’re full of food and drink, Satan sits
where your spirit should, an ugly metal statue
in place of the Kaaba. When you fast,
good habits gather like friends who want to help.
Fasting is Solomon’s ring. Don’t give it
to some illusion and lose your power,
but even if you have, if you’ve lost all will and control,
they come back when you fast, like soldiers appearing
out of the ground, pennants flying above them.
A table descends to your tents,
Jesus’ table.
Expect to see it, when you fast, this table
spread with other food, better than the broth of cabbages.

                                                                            – Rumi 


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Annie writes about life, motherhood, world issues, beautiful places, and anything else that tickles her brain. On good days, she enjoys juggling life with her husband and homeschooling her children. On bad days, she binges on chocolate chips and dreams of traveling the world alone.

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