By: Toai Dao, Life Academy Teacher
I am not usually known for declining food and have never fasted before. I (and those close to me) was nervous about my insatiable metabolism’s need and my ability to fast. However, because this opportunity to fast allowed me to join those whom I’ve admired and whom I’ve personally witnessed connect the physical act of a fasting to a greater spiritual, religious, or political meaning, my fast was not as challenging as I feared.
Before and during my fast, I drew inspiration from the well-publicized fasts of Cesar Chavez and Mahatma Ghandi’s, which lasted 25 and 21 days respectively. I was also inspired by and sought advice from personal friends who fast on a regular basis with Ramadan, Yom Kippur, or each new Lunar calendar. I’m impressed at what lengths others will go to in order to personally challenge and better themselves.
My fast gave me opportunity to reflect on my relationship with food. I have a privileged position of not “eating to live, but living to eat.” I also did not have to fast for physical health. My fast was one of choice and because of that I was rightfully, not very concerned for my well-being. I knew I would be fine at the end of my fast. However, I kept constantly thinking during my fast about how much privilege I have with food and how grateful I am for it. It cannot be overstated. It is a travesty that not everyone has historically had this human right.
My sentiment about food security is also the same sentiment I have regarding peace within our communities: No one should ever go without food, as no one should ever live without a sense of safety. My fast allowed me to better appreciate what is in my community. I am honored to have had time to reflect, deliberate, and demonstrate my commitment to building a better and more peaceful community.
Edited By: Eva Oliver, RAW Co-Coach