Tobe Brockner

Choose Your Pain

I’m 34 hours and 37 minutes into a 36-hour fast.

Despite not eating anything for the last couple days, I feel surprisingly good. My head is clear. My thoughts are sharp. Physically I am feeling lighter, more energetic, and not really hungry at all.

The first 24 hours were the hardest, but after that it has gotten progressively easier.

I started this fast as a “cleanse” of sorts. I had eaten pretty terribly a few days ago and was laying in bed at about 8:30pm, stomach swollen and distended. I was uncomfortable both physically and emotionally. Not only did my stomach hurt, but I was also dealing with the guilt of having strayed from my structured eating.

At that moment I decided to get up and go for a walk. I didn’t want to go for a walk, but I knew that if I could just get moving it would make me feel better. So, I got up, got dressed, and headed out.

I also decided not to put in my earbuds and listen to music or podcasts like I normally do. I wanted to be alone with my thoughts and reflect on things a bit. 

As I walked, my stomach still hurt and I got a stitch in my side. It occurred to me in that moment that I had simply exchanged one pain - being hungry - with another - a bloated and painful stomach ache.

The words from Jordan Peterson floated to the top of my consciousness, “Choose your sacrifice.”

Life is about suffering man. It’s about pain. It’s about heartache and illness and death. It’s not nice to us all the time. You are going to experience pain. That’s how life is.

But, here’s the kicker. You can CHOOSE YOUR PAIN. You get to do that and it is absolutely liberating once you realize it. 

It is in that choice that you find meaning and hope and a future that you can contend with. It’s where you find the silver linings of love and ambition and potential. It’s on the other side of that pain that you find empathy and compassion.

So, choose your pain man. Choose your pain. 

And by choosing your pain, maybe - just maybe - you can live with yourself.

Tobe Brockner

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