Take time each day to sit in grateful meditation.
✴ Sit in a comfortable, peaceful place. It can be anywhere—inside or out—where you won’t be interrupted.
✴ Close your eyes. Listen to and feel the inhalation and exhalation of each breath.
✴ Try to keep your mind from wandering one step into the future or back into the past. Be here now, focused on your breath. This Zen practice of being present in the moment is much like “the art of allowing,” where we sit still and allow the universe to bring us messages we need to hear. You’re not trying to make something happen; you’re simply in a place where you can be open to receiving divine guidance.
✴ If thoughts continue running through your mind, say, “Be fully present” or “Thinking.” Go easy on yourself: These thoughts aren’t bad! Smile and go back to focusing on your breath, without frustration or judgment.
Sitting without moving can be difficult at first, so take small steps if you need to - start out with a 5-minute meditation and see how it goes. If it’s tough at first, don’t be too hard on yourself. The length of your meditation matters less than how well you can empty your mind. If you find a seated, quiet meditation easy, try 10, 20 or more minutes.
If this seated practice is too much to start with or simply doesn’t resonate with you, don’t give up on meditation and the blessings it can bring to your life! Get up and put one foot in front of the other in a walking meditation. Walk slowly, understanding that your goal isn’t to “arrive” anywhere: You’re just trying to be present in the moment.
Leave behind any worries or cares that might be occupying your mind—before taking your first step, imagine them pouring out of your feet into the earth. During this walking meditation, the future and past aren’t your concern; the focus is on the present. This isn’t about power walking; it’s about peacefully enjoying and focusing on each step you take with a clear and empty mind. I find that choosing a beautiful place to walk makes that path easier to follow.
■ Concentrate on your breathing - focus on the different sounds of the inhale and the exhale and on the different sensations of your lungs, ribs and diaphragm expanding and contracting.
■ Focus on a color. “See” the color in your mind’s eye and imagine it permeating every cell in your body as you “breathe the green” in and out.
■ Burn incense and concentrate on the scent.
■ Meditate in a group. The feeling of being in community, breathing together, can bring a different level of intention and serenity to your practice.
■ Create a tranquil space to meditate in. The “Create a Tranquil Space” exercise below will help you create a retreat “outside” of your day-to-day world.
Create a Tranquil Space
Setting up a tranquil space in our homes gives us a place to go to be still, meditate and be reminded of the blessings in our lives and what’s important to us. Think of the space you create as a kind of altar. It can be any size or anywhere you like—on a mantle or little table, in the garden or on the deck. When you’re deciding what you’ll place on it, think about what inspires you or takes you to a deeper place within yourself. These aren’t necessarily things you’d pray to—although you can choose religious icons if you wish. They can be any things that give you a lift or a sense of peace or increase the calmness and gratitude you feel in your heart. They may be things that remind you who you are and who you’re choosing to be. Add elements of nature, such as a piece of driftwood from the beach or a stone you find on a hike. Take time each day to sit near your tranquil space and reflect on what you’re grateful for. During the cleanse, place flowers in the space to honor the commitment you’re making to your health and well- being.