Three weeks ago I started a trial fasting practice – limiting food to the evenings between 6pm and 10pm.
Expecting discomfort, I prepared in a ‘stoic-light’ way, by writing through my conflict.
(Real Stoics would sometimes go without food or sleep or money, just to armour themselves against the fear of losing everything.)
My solution is easier, I write a story that shows the conflict AND how I’ll deal with it. When hard things happen, I don’t want to be working out the solution on the fly … I want my brain to have a plan.
The conflict here, of course, was hunger. I knew that there would be times when the fridge would loom very large indeed.
In my (very short) story, our ‘hero’ stopped before the fridge, remembered why he was fasting in the first place, and diverted to black coffee.
This technique works. I’ve used it for many of the hard things in my life, such as speaking at my father’s funeral.
The trick is to be honest about the conflict and go through The Hero’s Journey.
No one else ever has to read it.
I’ll end with a quote from Seneca:
“Until we have begun to go without them, we fail to realize how unnecessary many things are. We’ve been using them not because we needed them but because we had them.” – Seneca