As part of my Lenten observances (read about them here), I can choose to celebrate one Feast Day a week.  While they are traditionally observed on Sundays, I have decided to make mine moveable feasts (sadly no connection to the lovely book by Hemingway), as I will often be in Advanced Studies on Sundays over the course of Lent. In discussion with my mentor and teacher Ana Pilar, we have envisioned Feast Days as days when I could choose to break from my abstentions (wheat, dairy, meat & eggs) and  soften my regular sadhana practice in favor of a more restorative practice.

I took a Feast Day on Wednesday. It didn’t go so well. My sleep had been disturbed through the night, and I slept in late to make up for it.  A good friend of mine who is working on her PhD was coming over for a work date in the morning, and there was no time for me to practice before she arrived.  No worries I thought, I’ll just take a Feast Day. I don’t know whether it was the lack of sleep or lack of practice, but my mind was scrambled tofu all day.  I could not get focused or motivated. I barely knew who I was or what I was supposed to do with myself. I started and scrapped a blog post, and our “work date” quickly devolved into a lot of knitting, eating of rice noodles and talking about Neko Case. After my friend left in the early afternoon, I could not even get myself together enough to do a restorative practice–as it turns out, you do need to find motivation even just to go lie down on your yoga mat. I watched some episodes of Hell’s Kitchen online instead. In the evening, I broke my vegan vows with a huge bowl of buttery popcorn and Lost. It was a comfort to watch that show and have a tangible, outward source to blame for my inward confusion.

The moral of my first Feast Day? Since the intention behind these observances is to live my days with a deep sense of purpose and awareness, then I should be as deliberate with my times of rest as I am with my active days of practice.  I should regard Feast Days as a way to enhance my regular practice instead of as simply a blessing to go off the rails, because I really do love and treasure my practice time. I do not wish to take a break from it, and am clearly worse off when I do.  And why would I want to take a break from rice noodles?