Day 19 of the Feast
Dear One,

As you might know, I've recently relocated to Santa Barbara from Sedona, Arizona. There, I offered free meditations and meditation training each week, along with the Meditation Teacher Academy at the McLean Meditation Institute . Living in Sedona for 17 years, I was fortunate to meet many visitors, of which there are hundreds of thousands, from all over the world. With an a average of ten thousand people visiting each day, I learned that many are on a quest, and they felt the call to visit. Had they heard how glorious and beautiful the red rocks are?

Though the landscape is unusual and awe-inspiring, these visitors are looking for more. What is it? What will satisfy them? Certainly not a new t-shirt or a timeshare tour. Maybe they are coming for something they can't capture with a camera. Maybe they heard about the vortexes, the energy centers that Sedona is known for. Maybe they are looking for a shift in their own energy or some kind of spiritual awakening. I know many who visit are in a transition and are coming to find inner peace or a new and improved version of themselves. I don't know if they know this secret: they can find what they are looking for right at home, right where they are. You can find it, too. You probably already have.

I remember the first day I learned to meditate almost three decades ago. I felt something I had never felt before. I felt immediately at peace. I felt a sense of being at home. I wasn't at home though. I was in a brownstone in the center of Washington D.C. in a tiny room with white walls sitting across from a man in a leisure suit who had just taught me to meditate. Somehow, the meditation practice brought me home. Has that happened for you?

Many people feel like they've come home when they meditate. I hope you do too. You don't have to travel anywhere to find it. You don't have to be especially gifted or brilliant to embody it. No matter who you are, there is, at your core, an unshakable peace, a solid center point of calm, one that you can access anytime. It's inside you. It's home. And meditation helps you to realize it.
Thank you for putting your spirituality first during this time of deep practice. I am practicing with you.

Here's to peace inside and out.

Love, Sarah

Sarah McLean
Director, Feast for the Soul, Inc.

Meditation Teacher Highlight
On Day 19, I'm sharing one of my favorite meditation practices. I'll offer simple guidelines on the ease of meditation, and lead you into a body awareness practice. This meditation is great for anyone, especially the newbie. Enjoy!

Spiritual Practice Tip
Training the brain.

With meditation, you'll get distracted. It happens to everyone. Yes, you'll find yourself "off topic," as you realize in the middle of some daydream, or memory, that you are supposed to be meditating. You can't stop the daydream before you know you're in it, however, you can train your brain once you realize you are no longer meditating.

Once you notice you've been distracted, your job is to refocus your attention on the object of your meditation. This refocusing interrupts the constant flow of thoughts, reactions, and distractions and, eventually, refocusing trains your brain to be less triggered by - and less attached to - your mental musings. You do this back and forth with a gentleness toward yourself, as if with an attitude of, “thank you for sharing,” as you return to your practice.

Eventually, as you refocus, again and again, you experience subtler levels of your mental activity. Then, as your thoughts settle down, you soon dive into the silence and peace that is the backdrop of the thoughts. Thoughts might even seem to stop for a time. It’s a natural experience which happens by itself when you commit to practicing regularly. This deep peace feels like home. And no, you can't think your way there. Your practice takes you there.
Living the Feast
Many people act as if life is an emergency. I like to remember it isn't. If you are like me, you might catch yourself rushing when there is no good reason for it.

Is there really an emergency? I ask myself when my heart is racing and I am holding my breath. Do I really need to feel panicky? Probably not.

I have learned to slow down on purpose. To do do one thing at a time. Try it this week. Move a little slower than usual. Drive the speed limit. Get up from your chair slowly and mindfully. Eat your meal more slowly, walk more mindfully. These practice help to create a new normal as you are able to perform any activity without tension. Relaxing allows your attention to be here, now. When you are relaxed, peace is more present. And slow and steady practice wins.
Today, as you breath naturally, bring your attention to the gentle in and out flow of your breath. Whether you take a moment while brewing your coffee, or while waiting at a stoplight, or at anytime during the day, this easy practice will remind you to be here, in this moment. Your breath is a terrific anchor to access the natural rhythm of life, rather than the emergency mode of the mind.
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