January 19
Dear One,

My new neighbor (a human) was standing in the middle of the dark road the other night. I only saw his (her?) shadow, and they were trying to get a glimpse of the two great horned owls perched high up in the palm trees. We were each called out of our homes by the owls' haunting hooting back and forth. The palms were lit by a sliver of a moon, so to see anything but the moon was hopeless. We both stood silent and still, listening to the hooting calls , captivated by the magic of the moment. When the dawn began to break, the owls quietened and soon, the songbirds began their conversations.

The very early mornings, the in-betweens, are as potent as the moonlit nights, not just for me, but for all spiritual seekers. They, too, are full of potential and magic and offer each of us the opportunity to tap into that which gives birth to our spiritual growth. As many know, the poem by the 13th Century Persian mystic Jelaluddin Rumi was the inspiration for the birth of the Feast many years ago, and I'll share it here:

A new moon teaches gradualness and deliberation,
and how one gives birth to oneself slowly.

Patience with small details
makes perfect a large work, like the universe.

What nine months does for the embryo
Forty early mornings
Will do for your growing awareness.

Early morning practice help to create a true sense of flow for the day, and makes available the interior resource of well-being and calls us back to our feeling of being home.

Consider all the living beings you come across today and how the way you show up in their worlds impacts them, whether they know it or not. Your practice affects the way you live, and the way you live has a ripple effect.

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.
Goleta, the Good Land, California

P. S. We just changed our hosting plan for our website so more and more meditations will be added.
Meditation Teacher Highlight
On Day 5, the featured meditation is from Avianna Castro, a truly delightful, magical, and wise guide. Meditation in her words has, “saved her life.” In her meditation series, Removing Resistance and Stepping Into Your Higher Self,  Avianna takes you on a spiritual journey and guides you into meditations such as letting go, forgiveness, the energy of trust, and the importance of your words. Create the space to let go and step into becoming the grandest version of your being. Enjoy Avianna's meditations here.
Spiritual Practice Tip
“Well,” said Pooh, “what I like best,” and then he had to stop and think. Because although eating honey was a very good thing to do, there was a moment just before you began to eat it which was better than when you were, but he didn’t know what it was called.
A.A. Milne, The House on Pooh Corner

When you first become aware of something, there is that fleeting instant of pure awareness just before you identify it – before your mind starts labeling and knowing, before it thinks…”oh it’s honey…oh it’s a dog, oh it’s an owl ….this moment of pure awareness is “mindfulness.” It's the moment of in between. Tune in to that.

This is a tip from Feast Faculty member for Teens & Tweens, Christine Rolfe. You can find her meditations on the Feast for the Soul website.
Living the Feast
Sarah Fletcher is a meditation teacher and owner of Quiet Mind in Melbourne, Australia who is coming to Sedona this week to share her work. She often shares easy meditation tips with her corporate clients that they can practice at lunch, such as this one:

" When stressed or angry, people can tend to hold their breath and tighten their belly.
Constricting your stomach for whatever reasons can severely reduce your oxygen intake and leave you with a feeling of discomfort and unease. Not only that, this tension also compromises your ability to think clearly.
 
To bring a sense of ease and balance into your day, take some time to relax your belly (loosen your clothing if you must) and breathe easily for a few minutes. Invite a luxurious deep breath to fill and expand your belly, and then release all of the breath so that your belly folds back towards the spine. Breathing through your nose. It's like filling and emptying a balloon. 
Today, 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 for someone, you can do this easily. Your breath is a terrific anchor to the here and now, and in reality this moment, right now, is where and when your life is.
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