|| Buchinger Forever |
(Mainz/Germany, Sunday, March 18, 2012 - Day 10) Hello, I am Anis, and this is my fasting diary. Millions of people have fasted according to the Buchinger therapeutic fasting method, and there are thousands of fasting diaries on the internet to prove it. On this page I will show how it works, add some background information and describe episodes from my fasting days. It will probably get somewhat literary, maybe even satirical. People know me like that. Today is my tenth day of fasting.
Let's first see if I can find some suitable links in English ... Alright, www.fasting.com seems to be a good info site. Dr. Otto Buchinger's clinic in Bad Pyrmont (Southern Germany, Bodensee area) still exists after 90 years and his grandson Andreas keeps up the good work: www.buchinger.de/lang-en. If you want to rummage a bit more you just have to type "buchinger fasting" or "therapeutic fasting" into your search engine.|
Of course, Buchinger did not invent fasting, it is common for humanity, and animals also fast. I do not know about plants and fungi. Almost all religions integrated fasting with varying kinds and methods. The most striking evidence for fasting is the fact that we fast while we sleep. Our bodies simply switch to fasting mode. Therefore we call it "breakfast" when we eat in the morning. We humans - and animals, too - sometimes fast when we are ill so that the body can focus on the healing process. Buchinger's method is so successful because it is consequent and minimalistic: you only ingest what you really need, and not more. I have fasted about 15 times in my 45 years on this planet and thus am an old stager. For this reason I can do such a cure alone without further ado.
On the picture you can see about everything you need for Buchinger fasting. The rule of thumb is: 1/2 liter of juice daily and apart from that only water. And this is my daily routine: a liter and a half of peppermint tea with two tea bags in the morning to which I add a tablespoon of honey. This does it for a couple of hours. At about 3 p.m. I start with the fruit juice, 0.25 liter of it, mixed with plenty of water. Sometimes as a cold drink, sometimes as a hot drink. Of course we are talking about 100% juice. It is best when you take it from the health food shop or a delicatessen shop, but discount markets usually also have got what it takes. About 7 p.m. I cook my little soup: 0.25 liter of tomatoe juice, stretched with water to an amount of one liter or a bit more plus one teaspoon of yeast vegetable stock (broth). My brand here is Vitam, I don't know where you can find it outside Germany. In Germany you can get it in every reformhaus. In between a chewing gum without sugar and water as needed. That's it! On the picture you can also see basica and vitamin pills, but those become interesting only from the third week on. Next Friday for me, that is. Then I will explain what it is about. |
| Getting Started |
The suspicious looking apparatus on the picture shows a natural aperient. Before you kick off you need an emptying. You can also take bad-tasting Glauber salt or other natural aperients, but this one here is probably the best. There are people who find it disgusting, but this is nonsense. I use the device every 2-3 days when fasting, it does good and it is just part of the whole thing.
| || Energy and Liberty |
Has this been straightforward so far? But please: if you never fasted before and want to try, do not do it on your own, but always fast with experienced people first. My mother attended an adult education course, she infected my father, and then at one point I discovered it for myself - more than twenty years ago. It is a means of detoxication and
self-awareness. It did me so good that meanwhile it belongs to my life like singing and drawing. A feeling of independence and freedom comes up very strongly, and the energy level rises. I move a lot and get new ideas. This is why I produce this feature at hand, so that outsiders can comprehend a bit better what is going on in fasting. I think that everybody, whose health condition allows it, should make such a fasting experience at least once. You learn so much about yourself and about life. I have already experienced many things in the past ten days. They were full days, and I feel super. Tomorrow I will write more about it.
| Spring Cleaning |
(March 19, 2012 - Day 11) Inside is outside. This shamanic sentence in the context of fasting means to me that I like to clean things and tidy up when I fast. And I mean thoroughly (thoroughly Anis' style!). In the same way body and mind are getting tidied up and cleaned I also form my environment. At least Sabine's and my apartment. It is not very big, but it will keep me busy for a while. I go through each and every drawer and do not leave out a single nook. I feel no hunger when doing this.
But can it really be so easy? Well, I admit that the original plan was to fast in January, but I did not get around to it. And when I finally made it, it was difficult to stop smoking. Only on day 4 I completely abandoned smoking, something one should not do. Well. But now it is working well. I have almost no downs at all and work all day through. By now, I wake up at about 7 a.m. and sleep less than usual. Today and yesterday the dreams at night were deep for the first time. I will talk more about dreams and fasting later on.
When I was at a job interview today at an agency here in Mainz (close to the ZDF TV channel) I made a very good impression. You automatically get kind of more charismatic while fasting, you look awake, energetic and free. And you don't only look like it.
| || Old and New |
Property, that is another one of those issues. I do not own a lot of stuff because I do not need much. After my university studies, for example, I sold and gave away 333 books. Afterwards I felt liberated and started becoming very creative. When fasting, I go through all of my clothes and sort out the old things and everything I did not wear in the past two years. As I save quite some money while fasting (food, cigarettes, alcohol, snacks, sweets etc.) I can buy me some new T-shirts and things like that. Besides, I could afford this terrific leopard suitcase; the old one got rather shabby over the years. And I do need a big suitcase for my book table during shows and when I have a sales stall. The price was reduced, too. Sabine and my neighbor Boujemaa said that it would rather be elderly ladies who use such a suitcase, but I have a completely different opinion about that. Every African hero would be proud to own such a suitcase. There is a little application attached to it, with a combination lock and an extra keyhole, which confused me. I asked about it over the counter and the salesperson said (like in a satire) that this would be "for the Americans". When you travel stateside, the security can detect things with this device ... I looked around to see if there was some candid camera to film this scene, but there was nothing. Then I asked her about the Greeks and the Kenians, what about them? But she held it would be only for the Americans. Heavy, isn't it? I just googled it, it is called "Transportation Security Administration" (TSA). On the website eminent.com you find that every US security officer has a certain tool for opening TSA suitcases. Anticipatory obedience made in Taiwan ...
| Life! |
(March 21, 2012 - Day 13) It is a great feeling to fast into spring. You really sense how life all around you is awaking. The first flowers and plants bloom, the sun is coming out. Today it was almost summerly warm. Why this cure comes so easy to me? Well, there is a trick. The trick is that I did this many times before. It was much more difficult the first times. I had thought about food and about all them things I wanted to cook afterwards ... Today I think much differently. My body knows the story. Actually, I do not think about anything specific. Maybe about tidying up and cleaning. Tomorrow, for instance, I will have a go at the cellar, and I am looking forward to it. Is that perverse? Today I woke up at half four already and finished some text work and research while sipping on some green tea. I have been active all the way through up to now, 10.50 p.m. I also cook for Sabine, like usually, it is not a problem.
| || Ideas|
Usually, I get new ideas when I fast. You don't really have to do anything, they just come. On Saturday, for example, I went to the flea market to buy a lot of small frames (and some bigger ones). Here on the left you can see the Theodor Heuss Bridge I drew. The flea market happened there, along the Rhine.
My plan is to create drawings according to frame sizes, i.e. I will not first produce the picture and then look for a frame, but the other way around. There were some people who told me they would actually like to buy an original picture, if it is under 100 euros. I already started with some drawings, see this page, but from now on I will draw the little pictures for the existing frames. This way, everything is together at once. Moreover, I wrote this Open Letter to German SPD Chairman Sigmar Gabriel about Palestine, that was on day seven. It feels like ages ago. Yesterday I woke up at 6.40 a.m. and wrote a poem I sent to the German "Joker Poetry Competition". That was on my list. |
|Tidying the Cellar |
(March 22, 2012 - Day 14) Today was the most energetic day so far. It is 9 p.m., I have been up and kicking for 14 hours. Cleaning up the cellar made me happy. I think I am a pervert, after all. It took seven and a half hours, although the room only has about three square meters. What you cannot see on the before/after pictures is that I managed to stuff about 1.5 cubic meters in, things from the apartment. Sabine's monumental Gaza picture, for example, which comes in fifteen pieces. You can still see it on her website www.sabine-yacoub.de when you scroll down a little. She created it shortly after the attack on Gaza in 2008, when 1400 people were killed. There are two Palestinians on average who die every day at the hands of Israelis. One has to be rather hard-bitten to justify this with "terrorism". And many are indeed hard-bitten, also here in Germany.
||Tidying the cellar ... I am really good at that. When in 2005 I worked in my father's little perfume manufactory for a short spell, I tidied the complete storehouse in a way that it not only sparkled like a whistle, but I also created about 30% of new storage capacity. That was very satisfying. I had also tidied the cellar in my parents' house in Westfalia. That was in 1998, immediately before the breakup. Of course, "cellar" has a double meaning. The inside is the outside, we already came across this. I think that a lot of the criticism I have exercised on Germany since July 4, 1998, has to do with tidying the cellar. |
In German idiomatic language, it is the cellar where the corpses are kept, not the closet. It makes sense. Life gets different when you liberate yourself from the past. When you clean up your cellar and come to terms with yourself. This is exactly what happened to me in 1998 when I recorded my very first CD with ten songs. A Liberation. I remember it well. Together with the bliss from making the CD there were other deep feelings coming up. The old pain. I did not avoid it, but listened to it. Then I departed into life. The second part of my life began, just as the third part is beginning now, fourteen years later.
| A Kind of Consecration|
(March 23, 2012 - Day 15) The third week has begun, and that means: 16 grams of Basica and a vitamin pill extra every day. Actually, only now things really start. Body and mind have established the fasting mode. It is like a state of consecration, a phase in which I sense all feelings of guilt vanish. I have gone through the most different emotional states and states of consciousness in the past forteen fasting nights and let everything pass through me: euphoria, aggression, joy, sadness, anger, pride and so on. The dreams become deeper and more clear-cut, the sleeping periods shorter. You do not see that from the outside. You do see that there is something going on, but you cannot tell what it is. It does not appear threatening, at any rate, rather on the contrary.
| I am steadily in motion and still tidy up and clean the apartment. Apart from that I care for business and try to get shows and sales. In the past days I have acquired two bigger stage shows. In between I go for a walk, along the Rhine or in a nearby little forest or just around the block. As I have no afflictions whatsoever I do not need to think about stopping. I am curious about how things will go on now. It's true that I stood at this point about ten times before, but it is different every time. Like looking down a mountain and not knowing what the wheather will be like. |
|Back to the Roots |
(March 24, 2012 - Day 16) In the beginning man was a shaman. Art and science were one, we did not separate things as much as today. Even in the Middle Ages astronomy and astrology belonged together, and we did not know a difference between chemistry and alchemy. Man (and woman) was an artist and a researcher. Nihilism was not yet invented. We were not so important yet and thus were able to focus on essential things. As children we live this (on the right my photo from 1969), and while fasting we remember it readily, as there is less distraction around. Who are we really? Which are the states of consciousness we go through? The biggest distraction are other people. They expect us to be geared towards them, to avow ourselves to the group. They think they don't have to fear us when submit to the group. Thus we are clipping and grinding one another until there is hardly anything left of us. We force ourselves and each other to suffer and call it duty. Get up early for the sake of it, spend the day with making money, worry about the world. The pursuit of happiness is secondary. Being human is secondary. We unlearn our natural powers. What strange kind of game is that? I have never really played it, always wanted to get back to the roots. I managed to maintain and regain the power of the child, yet the price was and has been high. I sense that it was good and correct, but most others are quite sceptical. My enemy is called nihilism.
(March 25, 2012 - Day 17) Sports is important during a fasting period, for the muscles need action. Cleaning and long walks alraedy count as sports here. Today, Sabine and I went on an eight-kilometer bicycle tour to the Rhineland-Palatinate fair, in bright sunlight. Enduring bicycle rides are no problem, only quick sprints are not possible. On the fair, we visited our neighbor Boujemaa Mouatassim who had a booth there for his argan oil (www.margania.de). That was handy, for you can use the oil - apart from cooking - for rubbing it on the skin, and my skin is drying out quicker these days, especially the hands and the areas around the eyes. Here on the photo you can see the three of us.
| Moreover, I met Frau Schneider from www.olympischesportbibliothek.de. This company creates rather cool photos and art prints with sports motifs, offering them to firms and corporations. They can get the pictures in a personalized form and, for example, pass them on as presents to business clients. Frau Schneider had some good advise for me, as I have quite similar offers with my series of art postcards. |
|Day Work and Night Work |
(March 27, 2012 - Day 19) The previous entries lacked the adequate amount of humor, I find, they are a bit too earnest. Yet this reflects an authentic phase, for after the rocketing days with record-breaking release of serotonin (or whatever it is) followed a calmer time. Somewhat contemplative, more settled. Like before, I am continuously in motion, and spring cleaning goes on, as well, but there are more meditative hours, and the urge to write things down has decreased. In the nights the work continues. Tonight I dreamed of the Misereor poster I had spotted during one of my walks. It says: "Courage means fighting, even if the opponent is overpowering." It is about fishermen who are harrassed and bullied, but not those in Gaza. The other posters from the same Misereor campaign also fit Palestine/Israel like a hand in a glove, but only other countries are referred to. In my dream I had sprayed "Free Palestine" onto the poster (see the manipulated photo to the right), and then I ran away. But I don't want to run away anymore.
|Without fasting I would get sloshed in order to forget the oppression of Palestine for some hours. But I neither want to have to get sloshed only because Germany wants to "cope" with its past on the expense of another people. There will be a day when people like me can have a place in society. So far it is not possible, as the legitimate rights of the Palestinians cannot pass the reproach of anti-Semitism, and this also concerns those, who merely speak about this problem and challenge the structure of power that really is at the heart of things. You have to submit to this power. But this I cannot do and will not do. Freedom is the most precious commodity. |
| Day 20|
(March 28, 2012) Sabine just took this picture before she went to the office. It documents how my vibrancy is changing. I summarize: this fasting diary is an experience report of my annual cure. Thus you will learn something about fasting and something about me. At the same time, this phase marks a turning point in my life, as I will change my life in different ways: after fasting I will adjust my nutrition habits and leave out the amounts of sweets, drink less alcohol and practice more sports. It is an opportunity, for the body can be reprogrammed, so to speak. I do not want to quit smoking, but find a reasonable measure. The new self-awareness and the order I have created around me are to become means for redefining my professional and private careers, as well. I certainly have lost weight, too, so far about five kilos. Originally, I used to wear my belt in hole three. Before fasting, I was in hole zero (I had to drill an extra hole, sigh), and now I am back to hole number two. Maybe I will be able to wear my tight leather pants again soon, that would be gorgeous.
|The Diet |
(March 30, 2012 - Day 22) There are some addenda concerning the diet. In the beginning I already mentioned the fasting "ingrediences". The table spoon of honey in the morning basically is not canonical in Buchinger fasting, and yet I have made positive experience with it. And when in the evenings I prepare vegetable soup, I take a good teaspoon of vegetable broth concentrate - this, too, might be a bit more than prescribed. But it is OK, as I do not get hungry from it. It's tested. The same is true for the small garlic clove I sometimes cut into the soup. It would be different if I cheated in between and eat, say, a piece of apple. Then hunger would come up immediately, and things would become really difficult. Even the chewing gum is a fringe case, as it animates the gastric juices. I chew two up to three small chewing gums a day and get along with it well. When I cooked cauliflower and onion soup for Sabine I have decanted the respective brew for my evening meal. That was especially delicious. With these nutrients on 4-5 liters of liquid one can make it for quite a while without living in want.
| Concerning everyday life I can declare spring cleaning to be officially finished, and I feel really well in our apartment now. Sabine had a lot of spare books and there was a whole lot of bric-a-brac we had no use for, even though the things are still functioning. I brought all this to Tuomo, into his flea market shop, where one can rent shelves (www.mycityfloh.de), see the photo on the right. Now I need some new activity. It comes in handy that right now some text jobs and requests for shows are coming up. For as soon as boredom is allowed to enter, fasting will become difficult, and you ask yourself: why fast on? But I know why, and my willpower and discipline leave nothing to be desired. |
(March 31, 2012 - Day 23) Yesterday evening I discovered that the German French TV program arte showed a longer documentary on therapeutic fasting before yesterday. "Fasting and Healing: Old Knowledge and Newest Research" by Sylvie Gilman and Thierry Vincent de Lestrade. There is a description of the movie at buchinger.com, but it is in German, or in French, respectively, like the film itself. It is about a Russian approach and about Buchinger. The documentary will be online at the arte website for some more days. It is a progressive feature, even if it is a little apologetic. As if fasting had to be defended against sceptics. Moreover, you would see doctors and surveillance everywhere. This gives the whole thing a kind of unnecessary hospital smell. Anyway, it is a super film and an affirmation.
|Dancing Letters |
(April 1, 2012 - Day 24) On the right you can see a new picture I made yesterday (14,5 x 11 cm). Once I created a similar one in Liverpool in DIN A4 and was able to sell it on the spot. This one here is from the mentioned collection of miniatures. Apart from that, I was not very well yesterday. At the moment, fasting makes clear to me that fortune has not vomitted on my eiderdown in the last twelve years. The price for artistic and personal unfolding and development has been rather high: career, money, acknowledgment, women, family, friends ... In between there were highlights like the Arabic Literature Festival in Hamburg. They prove that I am quite right in my strategy. Then again "normal" emptiness. And yet, this situation made my self-discipline really firm, and it made me work a whole lot almost all the time. Of course, artists have a hard life, this is a law everybody knows ... and most people act accordingly. Therefore many artists proactively abstain from political messages, for example, to be on the safe side. Here in Mainz, even the local paper is rather unpolitical, as the current weekend edition once again showed. It had so many advertisements in it that political statements probably would have been too risky. There are 482 city magazines around, and all of them more or less dispense with criticism. Of course, this is mainly due to the fact that everything is OK and fine here.
| Daily Ration|
(April 2, 2012, 10 a.m. - Day 25) Here on the left you can see the daily ration altogether. The right water bottle is only half-full. The little thing on the right is half a clove of garlic. Slight variations are possible, I have some rose hip/hibiscus tea as an alternative and vary the juices a little as well. Black tea and coffee are taboo. Today is day 25. My strength is coming back. |
| Apparently, my body needed some recreation after the intense house cleaning which really made me sweat. The weather had become cooler, too. It is easier to fast with sun, warmth and heat.
| At the moment, I get up at 7.30 a.m. and go for a half-hour walk right after the first peppermint tea. I carry the little packet with the vitamin pill and the chewing gums always with me in the pocket of my trousers, even though I do not touch it before 1 p.m. most of the time. It is funny, but it makes me feel secure. Only around 5 p.m. I start with the fruit juice and around 8 p.m. with the vegetable juice. I go to sleep around 11.30 p.m. The tendency is that I take most of the drinks late which has the disadvantage that I have to go out several times at night. I am working on that. Sometimes I wake up at 4 or 5 in the morning; then I work at the computer for an hour and go to sleep again. I have no complaints or symptoms whatsoever, on the contrary: I feel splendid. A bit abstracted at times, a bit slow at times, but all in all I am stronger, more cheerful and more alive. Doesn't sound bad, eh, wanna try?
(April 3, 2012 - Day 26) When you cannot eat it you can still paint it ... However, I'd rather have mixed soup greens (mirepoix) than olives. Greens after fasting is at least as good as sex. While fasting, the senses are sharpened. For example, when I go for my morning walk I can smell the stench of the quarter here in Mainz with much more awareness. It smells of malt and sometimes of sewers. Not every day, but often enough. I can also hear the power drills much better that partied in my house this morning. At one point I escaped and went to the Rhine. Then I painted in the sun. At the moment, I create a drawing every day. A picture a day keeps the doctor away. I think.
| Disappointments and Attacks |
(April 4, 2012 - Day 27) How does a fasting person deal with disappointments and attacks? Will he or she be more sensitive than usually, maybe even more vulnerable? In a way it is quite so. On the other hand one can see more clearly. Yesterday, for example, I received a letter in which a known German news agency demanded money from me via a lawyers' office for alleged copyright infringements on Anis Online. I publicized it immediately and the whole thing was quickly off the table. This is why this entry here is so short. I deleted the rest.
(April 5, 2012 - Day 28) This beautiful photo I took today in the botanic garden of the University of Mainz. The shining red blossoms are from a peach tree, who would have thought that. It was a stimulating walk with very nice company. Energetically, I am back on top like on day 14, i.e. a fortnight ago. My health is good. Three days ago, I felt a bit weak in the evening, and yesterday evening my right elbow hurt a little on the inside. But without fasting I usually have more little aches and pains. After Easter I will get me a medical checkup, this is on the list, anyway. Fasting is a prophylactic against many ailments.
(April 6, 2012 - Day 29) Here you can see me drawing an Easterly Triptych. This time it is not a miniature. Lately, I have been revisiting themes and motifs I developed years ago, at a time when I did not yet use professional pens. I should be doing some research and writing work, but today I don't have enough motivation for that. However, focussed computer work principally is no problem while fasting. - Note the ring I wear on my index finger. This is possible since yesterday evening (I used to wear it this way long ago). And my belt is in the third hole again, for the first time today.
| Day 30|
(April 7, 2012) Here is a picture for a comparison with day 20. My face became a little slimmer. To be considered is that the weather today is about ten degrees lower than on day 20, and Sabine used a flash this time, too. Apart from that, I am still as fit as a butcher's dog and have not lost a bit of strength. - These days I am reading what the media has to say about Günter Grass' Israel poem which lyrically is a catastrophe and with regards to content nothing else than what peace people write every day. Remarkable are solely the hysterical media reactions, this compulsive and knee-jerk shutting down of any substantial criticism, this immaturity and mental boundedness of our western system media.
(April 8, 2012 - Day 31) "Friends" is the name of yesterday's picture. It was meant to be the remake of a previous drawing, but then it got completely different, especially the colors. When you meditate about yourself while fasting, you automatically think about your relationships. Concerning people, I need things to be clear and straight. As there are many things I do that other people don't do, it is not so easy for me to enter circles and groups. Moreover, I made two important life experiences: one is that groups follow leaders and not rules, and the second is that most people don't see you, but the image they have of you. They ascribe a role to you, so that they can integrate you in their lives. Otherwise you would not be interesting to them to begin with.
| Regarding leaders: they don't emphasize their leadership these days, at times deny it even to themselves and instead refer to "the issue", i.e. the aims of the group. In this way, they don't even notice their egos that actually drive them. I am not a member in any group because I know of no group that commits itself to the same measures it applies to the outside world. Corruption and treason are so normal that they go unnoticed easily. Take Christianity as an example, on the occasion of the Easter days. Jesus was a pacifist, but our Christian-influenced society is everything but pacifist and ridicules the values Jesus represented. Most Christians are Constantinic Christians, i.e. war Christians, because groups are not about rules and values in the end. This is also why we vote for political parties or even are members of them although we know that they discard their own rules as soon as they regard it necessary. |
(April 9, 2012 - Day 32) Here you can see Sabine and me skating on the parking lot of the nearby supermarket. That was yesterday and did us really good. The roller skates I bought for 30 euros, the ones for Sabine even for 20, new, so I could not resist. In the first two weeks I bought a lot of stuff. Right now I only buy juices and food for Sabine.
We roller skated for about an hour. As both of us have some experience with ice skating we could manage. Afterwards I felt as if we had gone swimming. I was quite exhausted, which, in fact, was what this adventure was all about. I even had a lie-down for an hour in the afternoon, for the first time in the whole fasting cure.
(April 10, 2012 - Day 33) Actually, it is quite handy that I finish so many li'l pictures these days, I can use them well for this page. The whole fasting period is like a long journey. A marathon, if you will. You travel far into the self on a spiritual quest. If you don't laugh I will admit to you that I started experiencing strange coincidences which I take to be a good sign, one of awareness. My belief is coming back, at least a li'l bit. And the dreams are so vivid and deep. When I wake up it is like coming back from another long journey. I go skating for one hour per day now, it is just what I need. There is so much time for everything because I don't need to cook or go shopping or digest or spend time with eating. I just have to keep myself busy in order not to get bored.
(April 11, 2012 - Day 34) I started this cure with the intention of bringing my life into a new direction. I want to train my body and get slimmer for diverse appearances I have this year, and this has actually been successful already. Some offers and text jobs have also arrived in the meantime, and the apartment is really clean and in order. I even got a spark of hope. But has my life found a new direction? No, not yet. Well, I cannot expect to be able to put everything right only within a couple of weeks all on my own. The golden rule says: you can plan 50 %, and the other half is something coming to you from the outside. On the Goethe Square in my neighborhood I saw this inscription (on the left). It says: "So when is love supposed to come?!" and made me laugh. Probably because I recognized myself in it.
Today I stumbled upon the wonderful site www.palestiniangandhiproject.org while researching. In Denmark there are two grants for PhD theses out and I participate in the call with the proposal of a study on nonviolent Palestinian resistance. Chances are meagre as mass applications are to be expected and thus some stiff competition but I am elaborating a subject that I might continue elsewhere as well.
| What's Cooking?|
(April 12, 2012 - Day 35) Yesterday I made this yummy meal for Sabine. She is always working so hard and long, and she always supports me so much. Therefore I am glad whenever I can do her something good. OK, so what have we got here: millet with stewed zucchini and kohlrabi in sour cream sauce and some roasted almonds & sunflower seeds. An onion and some garlic is in there, too. Delicious ... erm, served with a corn salad and a special drink: an orange and a grapefruit that finally had to be used, with cream and honey, mixed with a hand blender (we Germans call it a magic wand). And the burning Frauenkirche (a present from Dresden). Oh man, cooking wasn't a problem, but now, as I write about it like that, my mouth kinda waters ...
| I enjoy cooking. When I paint, write, make music and cook I almost have everything I need. To be the cook and artist in a nice group, that would be something. Culinary artist. This dish here I have never done before. I just saw the millet in the cupboard and made up something vegetarian with it because Sabine does not eat meat. It is too much for one person, but she will take the rest with her into the office today. Sabine is a biologist and works with Friends of the Earth. I always have to buy organic for her. Tasting? Well, I tasted the sauce just a teeny-weeny bit, that worked alright. It is spiced with Vitam vegetable broth, pepper, salt, nutmeg and some oregano. The other day I made breadcrumb and turned mushrooms and other vegetables in egg, coated them with the crumbs and fried them. I will repeat that when I eat again, it looked rather good :-) |
(April 13, 2012 - Day 36) It is 10 o'clock on a bright sunny morning and I did not eat for 36 days. My physical condition is very good except for some bruises I acquired while skating. My mental condition is a state of inspiration and well-being. Things around me look more mystical, as if I saw things with new eyes. Like the sight on the photo. It is the Goethe school near the place where I live. My mind is full of ideas, and I see clearly. The Grass poem scandal made me rethink my position in Germany and the West. I never loathed the media as much as today and finished an 18.000-char essay in English yesterday. The mentioned news agency (dapd) got back to me, too, via their lawyers. They want attention and indirectly asked me to write a satire about them. I finally agreed, but need some time for that. They won't pay me, of course. I don't know what people are expecting from me sometimes. It is not always easy to be a mega star. Right now I have to concentrate on some text jobs and preparations for upcoming readings and shows.
| Man and Beast|
(April 14, 2012 - Day 37) This Janus head-like sculpture I just discovered on the playground in the park. It is like a reminder that we all have two faces. The sculpture even has three, only that one cannot see that from this perspctive.
Yesterday and before yesterday I became tired around 5 p.m. and went to sleep for an hour. Perhaps skating exhausted me a bit too much. In the coming days I will take it a little slower, without skating and with long walks instead. The weather today is again wonderful. I have been here once before - I mean at day 37. It is not virgin soil. But fasting is different from time to time, and you never know exactly what it will be like. If I get complaints now that stay for two days I will immediately stop. It does not look like it, though. I did not get a doctor's appointment that quickly, but I don't have the impression that it is urgent, anyway.
Yesterday evening I felt very energetic. Over the week I wrote a four-page essay in English and translated it into German yesterday between 7.30 p.m. and 0.30. This morning at half eight I read it again, and then I sent it out. It all went much quicker than I expected. As long as I am capable of a maximum performance like this I don't think I have to worry. I never wrote as much as this time while fasting, at all. This diary here, which is bilingual, too, then the letter to Sigmar Gabriel, many emails ... and then I will write another article for the Neue Rheinische Zeitung and deliver it tomorrow.
(Ten hours later): It is late in the evening and I am sipping on my soup, the daily highlight. Today, Sabine cooked herself potatoes, and I poured the potatoe water into my soup. I would like to smoke a cigarette now ... The days still pass relatively quickly and without pain, but there are boring bits in between. I usually grab my coat and go for a walk when that happens. Not too long and I will eat again.
On the internet I read some very nasty articles about fasting. They said that fasting is no good at all, it damages and makes you sick. And that it is basically a German thing. Very aggressive articles. Interesting, I did not know that people can think that. Well, I guess there are types of people that are more suited for fasting than others. But sharp rejections like what I read really seem to be over the top. I did this at least a dozen times, for one week, for two, sometimes for four weeks and once even for six weeks, and I always felt super with it and afterwards as well.
Actually, fasting is an escape door for me. Whenever I feel down for a longer spell of time and when I lose hope and all this, I know that I can always resort to fasting and thus change. Sometimes I smoke too much or drink too much, then I can pull the brakes and find the balance again. Long journeys like this one are rather rare. But as I said before, I want bigger change this time.
Everytime I fast I learn more about the man in me and about the beast. The good boy and the bad boy. When the distractions are gone and when you listen, then you can learn. I want to purify
myself and get a new start, pardon myself for my mistakes and all that. Fasting is a very good method for that, this is what my experience tells me.
(April 16, 2012 - Day 39) Sitting at the river like that is tolerable. This is the beach of Mainz and the Rhine. This was before yesterday already. Sabine and I made a long walk and paused for a little while. But is it really tolerable? I actually hardly manage to do nothing, except for some minutes. It is rather rare that I just sit around. Yesterday I did not write anything into the diary, because I was mourning. I cannot even say why exactly it was so, but I just could not write down anything reasonable. When you see life so clearly you also see death, as it necessarily is part of life, even part of its definition. Mortality and the way of all flesh ... in everyday life it often is not more than a platitude, but while fasting it gets a real meaning. One becomes aware of death. Maybe this is why I was sad. At least I started listening to music again, that is helpful. And who knows, maybe I will even write a song while I fast.
| Day 40|
(April 17, 2012) Here is another photo for comparison. This fasting cure really does me well. Today I will take out the skaters again, it is a sunny day. I will do another couple of days, then it gets to the difficult part: the build-up phase. I will continue the diary until the build-up phase is over, because the right way of eating after fasting is by all means part of the overall picture. We will hear more about that soon. Today I would like to mention three people who accompany my action in a supporting way. Firstly, there is Sabine. By now I have known her for about fourteen years, and she is like a sister to me. I could not wish for a better one. I have two genetic sisters, they left me fourteen years ago. As I have no more family, at all, Sabine is my whole family. We met at the University of Kiel where I used to teach Arabic. - Then there is Gulamhusein in Connecticut/USA, and I know him since 2008 when I was one of the core activists in the Free Gaza Movement. Ever since we have been in contact, and he is a special human being. He is reading this diary carefully, speaks about it to friends and sends me encouraging comments like this: "Though you may not know it, your writings, your art work, your website - all of them are being noticed and all of them are being appreciated and having a beneficial effect on all those who come in contact with them." Gulamhusein originally is from India and he even met Gandhi personally. He writes analyses about Middle East and Islamic affairs and has a room on Anis Online. His website is http://defyingsilence.blogspot.com. Finally, there is my neighbor Boujemaa about whom I already wrote in this diary. He, too, has been following this blog right from the start, and he gets inspired by it. Yesterday he began to fast as well, but in the Islamic way. He is looking for balance and purification, too. He sees how good fasting is for me, as we meet every couple of days, and now he joined in. There also are people who worry about my health condition, because they do not know fasting. What, you did not eat for 40 days? This cannot be good. Yes, it can.
(April 18, 2012 - Day 41) Yesterday evening I saw Alex Elsohn and some friends in the office of the data protection representative of Rhineland-Palatinate here in Mainz. Alex used to be the representative of Givat Haviva Europe, an Israeli educational and peace group with whom I cooperated several times. They are the oldest of their kind in Israel, and I think the main reason why this cooperation worked for more than one time is Alex. We had our political fights, oh yes, but his behavior is remarkable, and by now I have a lot of respect for this man. Last year he invited me to do the Palestine Express in the Federal Garden Show in Koblenz (Photos). That was a sign of real commitment, and one rarely has the chance to say clear words about Palestine in a big German public. And it worked. It was a truly amazing experience.
Before, we were in the Shalom Salam Tour together in 2004. Oh yes, and the Barenboim event. And in 2004 we also had a two-person panel together, I vaguely remember. Now Alex quits his job for another one, and we sat together in a small group. Before, he and Friedel Grützmacher from Givat Haviva Germany went to see Kurt Beck, the Prime Minister of RLP. Beck is a big fan of Givat Haviva. Cheers, Alex, we'll keep in touch! |
| No Hunger|
(April 19, 2012 - Day 42) Many people confuse fasting with hungering, because they do not realize that the human body can switch to fasting mode. Fasting has as much to do with hungering as edelweiss has with vegetables. Thus a fasting cure is not a starvation diet. To hunger for 42 days would be terrible. Those, who do not understand the difference, must think that a long fast is big nonsense. Yet people can see from this diary that it is about something else.
I manage to get into my pants again. Into the tight leather trousers and some other pants I had kept in the cupboard for years as I did not accept the belly and waited for better times. I never used to be fat and have no intention of ending up fat. If I manage to change my diet just a little and to maintain sports, then there is a good chance for me to keep the current figure. Before yesterday I had a long skating tour, that was a move in the right direction.
(April 20, 2012 - Day 43) The picture shows how I sinned. Of course one is not allowed to smoke a cigarette on an empty stomach after six weeks of fasting. I did it. What is more, I took an extra vitamin pill. So I really kicked over the traces :-) There are different kinds of sin, this one at hand does not belong to the mean ones. It remained without effects, too. When I fast for so long it can happen that I let off some steam in this way. A kind of party. Now I can concentrate on the last fasting week which will start tomorrow. - My evening soup yesterday tasted strange and I wondered why. It was due to the cauliflower water I got from Boujemaa, it had gone sour after three days.
|Today is day 43, and this is virgin land. I have never before walked so deep into the forest. The other day I dreamed that I was in a Günter Grass reading but I only sat there playing on a tablet computer and was not listening. From the kiosk I bought myself sandwiches, snacks and beverages, but when the salesman wanted 14 euros from me I realized that I was fasting and that I was not supposed to eat. So I canceled the order und slept on. The picture, by the way, is drawn in my snippet technique. I sometimes use it to hush up that I basically cannot draw. |
(April 21, 2012 - Day 44)
Fasting has now become such a routine that I hardly think about it anymore. I even feel a little afraid when I think about resuming to eat because my rythm will alter again, in a significant way. I am feeling well now, and I don't miss anything really. Before I started with the cure I felt somewhat like on the photo here. Like a bricked up emergency exit. Today I feel free and pure and strong.
There are many people who cannot believe that because we are living in a consumer society. Consuming things and throwing them away is part of our form of capitalism, and we are brought up in a way that suggests gorging stuff and watching crap on TV. However, this does not mean that it is the best choice. It only means that corporations etc. like to see us behave this way. Sometimes it is useful to look beyond one's own nose and to get convinced when there is something convincing around. Otherwise we are back with the photo on the right.
44 days without food and without problems. In my everyday life I have talked about this with several people. Some say they tried it themselves or would like to, even if not for such a long spell of time. Others say they lack the willpower, but basically admire it. Again others cannot relate to the issue, at all. They do not understand the significance of fasting and cannot detect any possibly sense in it. (Those people I feel sorry for.) Finally there are such who reject the idea of fasting as well as those who practise it. They usually are people from group three (those who do not understand) who additionally enjoy putting themselves above others and who run around giving sound advice to everybody.
(April 22, 2012 - Day 45)
When you are so very different from your surroundings and from the people in your city and in your country, then there are basically two options: either you become left out and excluded, or you are a star. Fortunately, I have become I mega star. It is admittedly not always easy, as I have mentioned above, but all in all I have to be grateful for this life. Just consider the fact that I can go to the studio almost any time, this really is a relief. My label made it possible for me to record new songs instantly. People there know that I use to become very quick when I have an inspiration. So they give me what I need to unfold. I only have to call them on the phone and usually get what I need in no time, including musicians. The label pays for everything, as it is in its own interest. This, of course, makes me grateful, and I give them presents. As I blossom in the studio I write much more music than before. Even years ago I had written a lot of music, but I had few opportunities to play in front of audiences or to record things. That is different now. Meanwhile, I met many other composers and took lessons for writing down songs and notes. (My music teacher in school missed to teach me notes. He was lazy and negligent.) Today, I sometimes write film music and things I never thought I would do. Music is my life. You can listen to some of my songs in the Jukebox and read my music info page. Maybe I play in your town soon.
Similarly lucky I am with my literature, be it poetry or prose. In the course of the years dozens of projects could be realized, many books, audio plays and journalistic works. It was not at all difficult to find a publishing house that fully supports me. One of the reasons for that may be that I not only write well and have good stage shows, but also represent values that our society promotes. Nonviolence, most of all. I have always taken a stand for the oppressed, and in my essays I have searched for and shown ways to peace. That's why newspapers and media love me, too. They have a lot of respect for free artists who found their way and who have so much to give to the world. Furthermore, they recognize the potential that people like me have for the peace process. I mediate between Orient and Occident, between Islam, Christendom and Judaism, between the young and the old and so on. For this is exactly what our society is looking for in these times of crisis. That is also why nobody is envious of my talents. And luckily, society is enlightened to the extend that I do not have to fear disadvantages, e.g. because my father originally came from Palestine or because he has a Muslim background. Therefore I am continuously traveling with literary readings and working on stages with my diverse shows. Then again I work as a city writer. Then, of course, there are shows abroad, as I read in four languages and enjoy discovering countries and writing about them. I made many friends in the guild of translators. Soon a fifth language will set in. On this info page my literary projects are summarized. I write a lot and rarely run out of ideas. My rhymed stories are available in German only, I can recite almost 20 of them by heart. Of course I have also won many prizes and awards, as I did with my music, that comes almost automatically. Soon some of my pieces will be filmed, and I have also been asked to write for TV and to work as an actor.
Finally, there are my pictures and drawings, also very successful. Often I have exhibitions and cooperate with several galleries. When you click on the pictures you get to the index page. My pictures have become collectors' items and I get offers to embellish gardens and to paint on walls. Unfortunately, I hardly have time for that. Often I meet with my manager. Without her, the organizing would be just impossible to do. Then we talk about current projects and plan the future. I want to found a foundation. She employs several co-workers herself, otherwise she would just have too much work. Sometimes I rent a little house in Southern France at the seaside, and I sometimes live for a week or two in Paris, London or Berlin. My first address is again in Hamburg, my city. Of course I hang around in the orient as well, and in the USA. My family finally realized that they made grave mistakes, and so I could forgive them. Now they support me and they are no longer jealous. In this way, everything has turned to the best. I still like to give, this has not changed. The only problem I have now is women. Everybody wants to sleep with me and to be in my vicinity. I simply cannot manage, it is too much. This fasting cure makes clear to me how lucky I really am and how many opportunities I have. I am very aware of this and certainly do not take it for granted. |
(April 23, 2012 - Day 46) Five days to go. On Saturday I will resume eating. What a long journey! Yesterday, Sabine and I went to the local nature reserve. First we made a little bicycle trip to get there, then a walk. My leather pants have been fitting again for days now, it is a great feeling. There are other pants, too, that fit again, while those I wore in the past months are now called "elephant trousers", and I discarded them. I want to keep this shape by all means, therefore sugar will get strictly limited, alcohol and some snacks. And sports shall remain an issue. The evening soup yesterday was especially delicious, because I added asparagus and potatoe water as well as a big garlic clove. Man, that was good. Luckily, I will not miss the asparagus and plaice season. On the contrary, I will enjoy it like never before. Here in Mainz you can get a kilo of good asparagus for 3, sometimes for 2 euros. What a feast, with potatoes and hollandaise sauce!
Today I worked, among other things, on the new website cafepalestine-colonia. I will attend the opening event in Cologne on May, 20. Meet me there! On the page termine you can see all the events I do live. Another reason to be glad that I am no longer so fat.
(April 24, 2012 - Day 47) I don't know what this is, but I have been feeling kind of dizzy for some days now. I pass out and have strong headaches, sometimes my nose starts bleeding. My first thought was that I should see the doctor, but I don't make it to leave the house anymore and can hardly stand on my own two feet. Then my heart starts beating like mad. Maybe it was a bit too much for me, after all. I thought everything was under control. What can I do now? I only hope that I can get out of all this, at all. What a silly idea all this fasting was! Who could have guessed that there can be such heavy complications? Oh, if I just listened to what people had told me!
Oh yes, of course, that's what you would like to see! Forget it! I am just fine. I work all normal and have no pain whatsoever. Recently, this picture was finished, its basis is a print Sabine made. (The comb-like orange pattern.) If you want to support me you can buy such an original picture, framed, or something else from the Shop. For what I said above about the mega star was of course a big lie, too, from beginning to end. But you will have noticed that, haven't you? Sure. Yet I am real. I was not generated by a computer.
(April 25, 2012 - Day 48) In the past days I have painted a lot. Mostly remake miniatures again. Here you can see one I am especially fond of. It is called "Chess". I used to play a lot of chess when I was still in school, I even played in a club. These last days are more difficult than the others because the end of the fast is so close now, and my body starts craving for food. Or probably my mind, rather. Yet, self-discipline is working well, although I do not even have anyone to control the fast. Nobody is watching what I am doing. Except for this diary. In principle, fasting is easier in a group, and it is also easier when you fast outside your usual routine. This was not the case here (oh, I already speak in the past tense). I worked a lot, also at the computer.
(April 26, 2012 - Day 49) Twenty pictures were finished during the fasting cure. Here you can see them altogether. When you click on the picture you can see the details in the list of all pictures (beginning with # 160). For today I have a (German) review on my list, Werner Ruf's new book: "Islam - Horror of the Occident. How the West is designing its enemy" (the PapyRossa Publishing House sent me a reviewer's copy yesterday). Also, I will put new strings on my guitar. In my mind I am already with Saturday, I admit that.
Yesterday at noon I had a good talk with Herr Vicente, Deputy of the Federal State Government for Migration and Integration. We talked about my books Islam für Kids and Die Dichter and about ways to use them for educational work.
| Day 50|
(April 26, 2012) Today is the last day of fasting. Above, there is another pic for comparison with days 20, 30 and 40. For 50 days I have been fasting the Buchinger way, with half a liter of juices per day, a spoonful of honey, a spoonful of vegetable yeast broth, a vitamin pill, some basica and a clove of garlic. Apart from that there was only water, peppermint tea and a chewing gum here and there. I had no complaints whatsoever and do not feel weak now, either.
(April 28, 2012 - Build-up Day 1) Today is the first real hot day of the year. I've been up since 7 a.m. and did not sleep much. Because of the zucchini, for one thing, but also because I am working on another piece. That keeps me busy. I broke my fast with zucchini slices in garlic tomato soup this morning (not with the classic, the apple) and bought greens for the evening soup. I also got some cottage cheese and pears. No bread or fat or meat or fish in the next couple of days! No sugar. A new adventure starts now because I rediscover all my favorite tastes and feel liberated - again. I have to be completely careful now. It is tempting to eat and eat, so I stick to planned rations. I received a very sweet feedback from my neighbor Boujemaa Mouatassim which I attach here in PDF form (for English see below in the PDF).
| (April 29, 2012 - Build-up Day 2) The trick is to retain the nutrition routines during the first build-up days in princple and only to expand them. So I still prepare my soup, I just cut some vegetables into it. It is a bit like landing an airplane. This is how I imagine a pilot feels. Don't risk a crash landing! After eating but a few chunks I am full, but hunger is returning quickly every time. If I just let myself go, this could have very bad effects on the stomach and digestive system. I skipped the long walks for the time being because I am intensely working on an edition, and also because my body wishes no efforts for the next two or three days. The mind, however, is brisk. Continuous elation. |
| (April 30, 2012 - Build-up Day 3) Now it dawns on me that I have been in a long trance since Friday noon when I started working on this compilation. It was the result of the fast. Of course! I was working and working, and I did not think, at all. It is the same feeling that I had when I wrote: "Sometimes the game plays you", or something to that effect. When things seem to go through you, when you are nothing but a catalyst. So the fasting was a long meditation and then - without words - this chain of action started about which I will speak later. All this talk about food distracted me from the core point. So my quest was successful. It was a quest, wasn't it? I had a wish, I was looking for something, was uncomfortable about things. Change was the call. Not a little change, but a new direction. My subconscious had worked on that one all the time, secretly, and it steered me into this. I wrote some emails in this trance. Tomorrow more about that! Or even after tomorrow. |
| (May 1st, 2012 - Build-up Day 4) Today I am busy. Sorry! |
| (May 2nd, 2012 - Build-up Day 5) Still busy! |
| (May 3, 2012 - Build-up Day 6) OK, I think now is the time to speak. As you can see for yourself the last entry (3 days ago) was rather cryptic. Today I have words. Let me begin with mentioning the dichotomies fast/eat and peace/war. On my mind these days is the completion of the fasting circle, the end of the journey that once had a beginning. |
My focus automatically was: eat, i.e. the complementary bit of the fast. Or is it? Because now experience showed me an alternative anti-thesis: the fulfilment of my quest to find a new direction. Bill Bhaneja in Canada today told me that he learned from the philosopher Sri Sathya Sai Baba that "the real meaning of 'fast' is to 'hold fast' during the fasting days to the spiritual wish that one has chosen to fast for." Thanks for that, Bill!
On the final day of the fast, on Friday around 11.30 a.m., in the sun on a bench in the botanic garden in Mainz, I came up with the idea of compiling a book with my Palestine writings, now that I wrote some new material. I apparently slipped into a long trance and, without thinking about it, produced a manuscript within 50 hours, the "Palestine Anthology" (PDF 3,5 MB). I told Noam Chomsky, and I told Johan Galtung that this result was not only from ten years of writing, but also from a fasting experience and long meditation. A short while later I received the quotes you can see in the book. The story does not end here, but it now it has become a story to begin with. My subconscious had been working on the fulfilment of the quest all the time, secretly. It led me into this trance. Out of thin air (and ten years of work) there came this book and this response.
The fast is thus complete, only the eating bit is not, and now I come back to the dichotomies mentioned in the beginning. I am not through with building up physically and have not eaten meat or fat stuff, for example. I stick to vegetables and light cheese, had my first bread also. Two days ago, I had slight problems with my stomach, because I ate too much, but it was only for half an hour. I only mention it to have something to admit. But it's nothing, really. I will eat fully in about ten days.
But here you have proof that the dichotomy fast/eat is not precise. I used the term "distracting" above. Now that there is a quest fulfilled, how small and relative does the eating thing appear! How rich is the world that is governed by trance. Funny expression, "governed by trance", because a trance basically is passive. I study and analyze trances, here is a study (in German). Some last for days! In some you are aware of the trance and in others not. For the latter, there is one clear indicator: You wake up from it. Only after waking up you will realize that you were elsewhere in a trance. Where there is access to the magma of life, the heart of art, the source of inspiration, the center of it all, the bubble, the nexus. How strange beings we humans truly are!
The whole story about the quest and the inspiration, the fulfilment and the book goes unnoticed and unrendered if we conceptualize "fast" as an anti-thesis of "eat" (including extensions like "smoke", "consume" etc.). As the case at hand shows, the whole point can simply get lost if we use the wrong conceptualization. Here, on this Anis Fasting Diary page, you can witness and experience what fasting can mean and what it can do. That's much better than talking about it. Showing it.
And now is the time where we can newly talk about peace and its alleged anti-thesis war. For if fast is - as seen - not the anti-thesis of eat, then why should not peace be a terra incognita, a blank map, rather than something to do or not to do with war and conflict. And how very powerful might this peace be, without our knowledge. A shaman, when he or she enters a trance, does not control anything, on the contrary, they let go of control. Nobody knows what is behind the line. The manifestations of inspiration are uncalculable. I believe they can be most beautiful and thrilling, too.
There will certainly be people who say: So what did you show? I don't see it. - Especially people who do not feel to be spiritual. That's OK, because some people will understand. The manuscript is material evidence for an inspiration and a power which apparently come from the fasting experience.
Are we in agreement that this fasting diary is complete now? I strongly feel it is. I might pop in another time in a week or so with some addenda, but here is the natural end of this diary. Thank you for sharing this, and think about this peace issue. No, let's better not think too much, let's not talk, let's show something. Something with a meaning.
| (Nov. 22, 2012) From early June until early October I wrote THE FLOOD, a rock opera in 30 songs (80 minutes) and will record it with a band in the studio Feb. 1st. In retrospective, I detect a direct context of THE FLOOD and the fasting, because this piece of music shows a new Anis. The first song is called "Hold on Fast" ... |
But there is one thing that I really didn't manage to do: keeping the weight. So now I do belong to the people, who have weight problems, that's bitter. Fasting only delayed it. Well, you can't have everything ...
PS: From August to October 2014 I had another long fast, six weeks. It gets better every time.
March 31, 2015: On March 11 I ended another three-week fasting cure. I finally overcame the weight problems as I fast more regularly now, sometimes for only a couple of days. It turned out that composing and recording THE FLOOD was the real fulfilment of my 50-day fast in 2012.