Day 16 of the Feast
Dear One,

Have you considered who called the land where you live now, "home" eons ago?

Yesterday I was welcoming a group of people to Sedonaand I shared what I've been told. Sedona is a ceremonial place, a place of peace, one that's been considered sacred by humans for thousands of years.

For thousands of years, the Natives of the Americas, such as the Sinagua, Anasazi, Hopi, Yavapai, Apache, and Navajo called this powerful and wild place home. The landscape is infused with the history of dwellings, from the San Francisco Peaks in Flagstaff, to the austere desert hills of the Verde Valley, to the box canyons of Sedona's Red Rock Country. Today, the Yavapai Nation and it's people are a 20 mile drive south, and the Navajo Nation is a four to five hour drive north. The deep connection between the Colorado Plateau and its native people is profound. And I can feel it.

These past few days with the big blood, blue moon hanging over the horizon, I sense the millions of people who have been awestruck at its beauty over the centuries. ( Find out about the special moon and eclipse here ) Its presence reminds me of this, a powerful Native American Prayer, a favorite of Eleanor Roosevelt's, which was translated by the Lakota Sioux Chief Yellow Lark in 1887.

Oh, Great Spirit
Whose voice I hear in the winds,
And whose breath gives life to all the world,
hear me, I am small and weak,
I need your strength and wisdom.

Let me walk in beauty and make my eyes ever behold
the red and purple sunset.
Make my hands respect the things you have
made and my ears sharp to hear your voice.
Make me wise so that I may understand the things
you have taught my people.
Let me learn the lessons you have
hidden in every leaf and rock.

I seek strength, not to be greater than my brother,
but to fight my greatest enemy - myself.
Make me always ready to come to you
with clean hands and straight eyes.
So when life fades, as the fading sunset,
my Spirit may come to you without shame.
Thank you for putting your spirituality first during this time of deep practice. I am practicing with you.

Love, Sarah

Sarah McLean
Director, Feast for the Soul, Inc.
Sedona, Arizona

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Meditation Teacher Highlight
Sofia Virginia McGuire has studied and taught meditation for over 30 years and has found it so beneficial as a part of her daily life to enhance balance for self, family, community and living. She is an artist and author, and teaches at retreats and gatherings. HShe is an initiate and reverend in the Inayati Order, which has an universal approach and is inclusive. This meditation is a beautiful meditation on Sound.

Spiritual Practice Tip
Timing is Everything

Although there are recommend specific times in the day for meditation, the most important thing is to find a time that works for you and make it a habit. Set yourself up to succeed. Schedule it just as you would any other important meeting. Let people know not to disturb you. You really can meditate almost any time, and almost anywhere if you sit relatively still with your eyes closed. However, here are the recommended times: first thing when you get up. And then what I call happy hour (between work and dinner.)

To monitor your meditation period you can use the vibrate mode of your cell phone's alarm (in airplane mode),  try the Insight Timer App or, peak at your watch or a clock from time to time. Do not use an alarm that you have to get up to turn off. Ease into and out or meditation.
 
No matter how you time yourself, make sure you stick to the allotted time, even if you get bored or feel compelled to do something else! The protests of your mind are the first obstacles to sitting through an entire meditation. The sitting through the obstacles are part of the training and important for re framing your sense of calm. 
 
To end your meditation, sit in the stillness for 2-3 minutes, eyes closed. This time is important to integrate the silence into your daily activity.If you like, you can lie down.  If a mantra comes to you outside of the meditation period, rather than pay attention to it, turn your attention to what you are doing, mindfully. 
Living the Feast
Reflecting on Your Routine

How do you say good night? Do you fall asleep on the couch watching television? Or perhaps just crash face-first into bed, too exhausted to even brush your teeth? Personally, I am guilty of scanning my phone - reading the news, checking Facebook, or texting.

Recently my nightly routine has shifted. In addition to doing my best to have eyes shut by 10:00 pm, I take a few moments to reflect on my day. For example, I noticed I was able to be more patient with my family, was able to start a project I was procrastinating, and was able to bring some peace to a student through my meditation class. I also note “opportunities” I could take work on, such as spending more time with my husband, setting boundaries with others, and eating more mindfully.

Lastly, I note three things that day that I am grateful for. Sometimes this feeling of gratitude is overflowing and other times I need to dig a little. Regardless, there is always something to be grateful for. Notice the way in which you end your day, today, tomorrow, and the next. How do you want it to end? Can you make a shift?

Offered by Christine Rolfe , a Certified Meditation & Mindfulness Teacher and Feast faculty member who offers meditation practices for teens and tweens. Access Christine's contemplative practices for tweens and teens here.

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