EPISODE 68

Ep 68- A Milk Expression Meditation

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Episode Transcript

July 30, 2021

Feeling anxious while pumping? Difficulty having a let-down? Hating yourself for your milk output?... Maybe meditation can help!

This is Maureen Farrell and Heather O’Neal and this is The Milk Minute. We’re midwives and lactation professionals bringing you the most up-to-date evidence for all things lactation. So you can feel more confident about feeding your baby, body positivity, relationships, and mental health. Plus, we laugh a little or a lot along the way.

Heather: So join us for another episode. Welcome to The Milk Minute Podcast, everybody. Today, we have a very special guest for you. We have Julie Brefczynski Lewis, who is research faculty at West Virginia University. And I’m going to let her introduce herself because the things that she does, you guys, are a little bit over my head. Welcome to the podcast.

Julie Brefczynski-Lewis: Thank you, Heather. Yeah, my career has been kind of diverse, so I’m a neuroscientist and I work with FMRI. If you’ve ever heard of like looking at oh, pictures and snapshots of your brain. I’ve studied attention, which led to study meditation and compassion. And now I’m working on developing a new kind of brain imager. So I’d like to be able to study people actually like upright and doing things. So it’s like a very weird path.

Maureen: Oh, that’s no, that’s an exciting path. I like that. Very exciting.

Heather: We asked Julie to come today because we have heard from many of our listeners and a lot of our private one-on-one clients that they have a very hard time pumping because of stress at work or even stress from breastfeeding. Maybe they have past trauma, maybe they’re experiencing dysphoric milk ejection reflex. And when you have that level of stress, it’s difficult for your milk to let down. And that becomes a vicious cycle of stress and inability to remove milk. And Julie loves to do meditation. She’s very good at it. And she understands it on a neurological level and we were like hm. I wonder if we could get Julie to come and do a meditation for breastfeeding?

Julie Brefczynski-Lewis: Yeah. I’m looking forward to leading one a little later in the show, but basically mindfulness has been kind of exponentially popularized in the, in the last couple of decades. When I entered the field in the early two thousands, I was actually told, I might ruin my career with this forbidden topic.

Maureen: You were too fringe. I love it.

Julie Brefczynski-Lewis: And now every, I mean, who doesn’t like you can go to the grocery store and see, you know, we can go to Lowe’s and see a magazine. Like the hardware store is talking about mindfulness.

Heather: All the construction workers waiting in line at Lowe’s are working on their mindfulness.

Julie Brefczynski-Lewis: So, you know, mindfulness started, the way that most people have been introduced to it, came from the 1970s. Jon Kabat Zinn was had these heart patients, right. And they were told, okay, you know, eat better, see a dietician exercise more, or see an X fizz, you know, or go to rehab clinic and reduce your stress. Nothing.

Maureen: The best way to reduce your stress is to have somebody tell you to reduce your stress, right. That works every time.

Heather: If they scream at you to calm down that also stop crying, come down, calm down, just relax. Oh yeah.

Maureen: That’s the most relaxing words you can ever hear.

Julie Brefczynski-Lewis: Yeah. And so, so, you know, he, he took a whole bunch, so people think of it as one thing, but really it’s a combination of whole-body relaxation exercises of meditation on the breath. It’s kind of, of eating, you know, like mindfully aware of all the senses while you’re, you know, eating a raisin or something. That’s like a really common introduction practice. And then one that’s often left out in terms of people’s minds is compassion meditation, which I actually think they have some, well, at least for me and my breastfeeding journey had some really important roles to play.

Maureen: Huh. Interesting.

Heather: Okay. So for those of us that are maybe not familiar, other than just the buzzwords on the magazine covers, what is meditation? Can everybody do it? Do you have to be alone in a dark room to do it? Because that’s pretty hard to come by, those alone moments.

Julie Brefczynski-Lewis: No, no. Meditation is that like when you’re doing the most like formal meditation, it can even be done in 30 seconds. I actually, sometime once I gave at a major neuroscience conference, it was a room of like 500 neuroscientists, not like super experienced monks. Right. These are just like, oh, what, what, what lecture do I have to go next to? Blah, blah, blah.

And I just said, okay, for just 30 seconds, just like, look at this little dot on the screen and follow your breath. And if your mind wanders, just bring it back. And I looked at the dot and the room became so calm and within 30 seconds, the whole vibe changed. It was really nice. I mean, that’s all you really need to kind of just break up that like, like you ever like reset your computer or like close all your tabs?

Maureen: Or like close your apps on your phone, swipe, swipe back.

Julie Brefczynski-Lewis: It feels kind of good. Like it’s a little bit disarming because you’re like, wait, wait, wait, wasn’t I working with that? No, no. I don’t have to worry about all that right now.

Maureen: I like that.

Heather: Wow. That that talk went well. I assume.

Julie Brefczynski-Lewis: It did. And then people kind of, you know, even if they hadn’t been meditating, they got a little taste of it. They understand that people like half of the subjects we had in our study were literally monks who had spent like 10,000 to 50,000 hours doing meditation, the other half were Joe Blows and Joe Janes. Wait, I don’t know.

And they were, you know, had never meditated before and they could do it. They lit up the same brain areas. It’s very cool.

Maureen: So we’re talking about the brain. Tell us. When we’re meditating, what happens in the brain and what happens in the rest of the body?

Julie Brefczynski-Lewis: Okay. So the brain has a network for attention and there are two networks actually for attention. One is what I sometimes call squirrel brain. It’s like when you’re walking your dog and it sees a squirrel, it’s like squirrel, right? That, that unfortunately is kind of like how we are sometimes at. Like we just get distracted by a bunch of things. And the other one is when we are calmly focusing on something and the breath is always with us.

So you can use that as a focal point or like a little, you know, little, like nice little stone or a little piece of driftwood or something, and your attention network, the sustained attention network comes online and there’s something really relaxing about when you do it for a little while. If you can get in the zone.

Sometimes it doesn’t, and it’s like no meditation is a bad meditation. If it’s terrible and it feels like, like it’s, you know, you’re like just waiting for it to end, well, you learned some kind of lesson. But sometimes it feels really calm as you get to practice it a bit. It’s sort of like a sport. And then your brain is sort of like the attention network and it starts to activate a whole-body response that sometimes termed the relaxation response. And Herbert Benson at Harvard wrote a whole book on relaxation response.

There are a million ways you can get to it from Tai-Chi, walking in nature, yoga. Mindfulness is a really good and effective way to get to it, but I’m going to say, find your happy space. If this like mindfulness is like not your thing, it’s fine. You may be like, Hey, I can just like, look at the sunset for a little while and just sit without my phone and just kind of be quiet.

Maureen: Lyra’s waking up. We’ll see how cooperative she is for this episode.

Heather: Lyra’s happy place is the alcove.

Julie Brefczynski-Lewis: Your genes actually, like different genes, get upregulated and downregulated. So like good relaxing, positive vibe genes get upregulated and things that are reversive and aging and deleterious, long-term stress genes started to go down. And just, you know, there, you might need about 15 to 20 minutes, but it could be at any time of the day.

Heather: So for people that are having these issues with breastfeeding, is the 30 seconds meditation going to work? I mean, I’m sure it’s not bad for them to do that, but if they’re really struggling and we’re trying to troubleshoot an actual issue, are we going to be recommending that they practice to get to the 15–20-minute level?

Julie Brefczynski-Lewis: And I would think that you may need to do that at some point in the date. And then when they’re ready to pump or ready to feed, then they could do that 30 seconds before. And it might remind their brain or remind their body of that state. And so, you know, this is, you know, an area ripe for research, if you ask me.

Maureen: It sounds like it.

Heather: You know, I think that that’s really important for people to know, because if they even made it to listen to this episode, because I’m sure it will stress people out to even think about it, like, oh, one more thing I have to do, but to know that you could do it at like 5:00 AM. Yeah. And then just do like a quick buffer meditation that’s 30 seconds long before pumping is doable.

Julie Brefczynski-Lewis: I think that’s really doable. Or even while you’re kind of doing it, you can kind of continue with it. I have to admit, I was kind of a phone pump, phone scrolling, pumper. Scrolling pumper, like not following my own advice.

Maureen: I mean, that’s okay. And I think really like when I talk to my clients about this. You know, and I recommend listening to say a guided meditation versus going it on your own. You know, it’s, it’s a little less intimidating because, you know, I usually say like, just listen, you don’t have to do everything they say, but find someone whose voice you find calming and just listen to them talk for 15 minutes, 10 minutes, five minutes, and whatever, if you need to stop, stop. But it’s a good way to start that practice.

Julie Brefczynski-Lewis: You can sample a variety of voices because that really, one of my colleagues, like it really matters who, you know. If you feel like you connect with that individual, you know, if it feels too like, stilting or like, you feel like they, like are not someone you would get along with that actually wouldn’t be not so good.

Heather: So what are some things that you do during like a formal meditation that you might be able to bring into your workplace while you’re pumping? Like, can they take their shoes off? Will that help? Like, I don’t know. Are there things?

Julie Brefczynski-Lewis: Wow. I’ve never taken my shoes. But some people like to take their glasses off. You can really do something that works for you. I like to personally feel my feet on the ground as if somewhere, somehow, whatever building I’m in is connected to the earth. And there’s something very grounding at least to me about the earth. And so feeling like almost like you have roots somehow grounds me out of that, like chitter chatter and, you know. Maybe something that if I started start to develop, you know, I’ve had some periods of aversions and stuff like that, and it’s just like grounds you. And it’s just like, this is fresh.

Maureen: You know, funny enough. We see when we have oral function issues with babies, holding their feet helps.

Julie Brefczynski-Lewis: Really?

Maureen: Yeah. I mean, you know, I was just thinking that when you’re talking about grounding, like we see babies eat better when they have a little bit of pressure on their feet.

Heather: Oh, okay. So, oh, can you explain the difference between compassion meditation and mindfulness meditation? Because one of the things that we have heard from our interview with Abigail Tucker, who’s the author of Mom Genes. We tend to be more aggressive as mammals while we’re lactating. And I think that change actually makes people feel a little bit shocked, maybe even a little bit insecure about their new level of aggression.

Maybe a little bit of shame. Like, I don’t know why I’m like this, you know, what’s going on with me? And so having compassion for ourselves during that change and being aware of that change, I think is really important. And also where we tend to be much more short tempered with others. And there’s not a lot of compassion there. I, I was definitely horrible about that. As far as my partner goes, I have no compassion. I would just be like, oh, sorry, you didn’t sleep last night. Me either.

Julie Brefczynski-Lewis: That’s actually really insightful. So what’s really interesting is that when we breastfeed, obviously we know that oxytocin is, is, is a chemical that, you know, is involved in the whole process, the letdown process, you know, labor, delivery, all of that. And it’s a really oxytocin dominated. And people used to think it was this, you know, magical love chemical that would make you love everyone. And you could just like, you know, spray oxytocin in your nose and you would love the world. But, but it turns out it’s more complex. You tend to have an aggression towards outgroup.

And so they did studies where they would prime people with, you know, maybe your own child versus someone who’s outside your family or a stranger. And you actually, instead of loving the other people who are you kind of hated them.

Maureen: It makes sense though. Yeah.

Julie Brefczynski-Lewis: So I think it’s, it’s just part of the whole instinct, but it’s hard to understand the changes. And the compassion meditation, ironically, when it was described in the monastic traditions that kind of predated the secularizing of mindfulness and compassion meditation. What Jon Kabat-Zinn really talked about, oh, you know, you want to conjure the feeling like a mother feels for her child, her only child. And this is the state you want to conjure to all beings. Right?

Heather: All mothers everywhere roll their eyes.

Julie Brefczynski-Lewis:  And, well, it is like, probably came from monks talking to other monks anyway.

Heather: So how could they even fathom that?

Julie Brefczynski-Lewis: Well, I guess, you know, their own, they might have sort of lionized their own mother and was pretty common in that tradition. And so you kind of had, or have a saintliness associated with mom and oh, well, that’s how you should feel towards all. Cause she was so great.

Heather: And I love that you call it an in-group. I mean, not just you, but every, everybody in science calls it an in group. Which makes total sense, but then I’m imagining these pumping moms or pumping parents who are really hormonally and neurologically programmed to be only focusing on the in-group and then we swiftly send them back into the workforce to go pump in a stressful situation in the outgroup. And they’re supposed to be just like everybody else. And I think that right there, it’s like not a secret that are abysmal postpartum leave or postpartum parental leave is bad for breastfeeding, but it’s also bad for our self-compassion. Our, our ability to even recenter ourselves.

Maureen: That’s very insightful. Yeah, I appreciate that.

Julie Brefczynski-Lewis: Yeah. It’s and even understanding that is part of self-compassion, right? You know, just sometimes just doing the little bit of research, listening to podcasts like this and, and just understanding, oh, this is where this is coming from. It’s not personal.

It’s not something weird about me. And then if you, in addition, do this, you know, do the mindfulness, which allows you to be kind of aware of what’s going on in your body. You know, one of the, I, you know, and you can easily find body scan guided meditations on the internet. You know, just going through your body, you know, feeling the physical and mental sensations that come up as you kind of scan your body.

And then the compassion meditation, and then you kind of center on your breath and like, okay, now I’m going to purposefully engage compassion for myself and then kind of spread it like little rays to others and oh yeah, that actually feels really good. And it may help kind of overcome. You can almost use your, your mothering induced compassion as a steppingstone to others.

If you do it in this little imagine of exercise, and then you get out of your, you know, little pump station or alcove. And, and then all of a sudden, oh, you see this person that you, you know work with and maybe you had included them in your meditation, or maybe you had included a difficult person in your meditation, which is actually prescribed in the practice and it can really help. Like sometimes I’ve been like, oh, I have to meet with this admin person.

And like, oh, it’s going to go to a certain way. And then I’m like, okay, I’m going to do the compassionate, you know, here I am mindful. I put my feet on the floor. I do a little mindfulness. And then I imagine like someone I really care about, like one of my kids. Oh, I really like that. And then I spread it to them and then I walk in the door and see that admin person.

I’m like, oh, that’s really weird. I mean.

Heather: Who likes warm hugs?

Maureen: No, it’s great, it’s a good tactic. I think all of us are kind of forced to have stressful interactions like that pretty often, especially at work. Yeah. You know, and, and any way to,

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Julie Brefczynski-Lewis: I did a study actually, where I had people bring in pictures of people that were difficult people, and I showed them to them while they’re in an MRI scanner and like seriously departmental webpages were really common.

And sometimes if I like knew them, I’d be like oo. But then they would do the compassion. They would see, I said, well, this, this is, this is a practice to help with difficult people. Oh and some people did choose themselves.

Maureen: Oh, that’s rough.

Julie Brefczynski-Lewis: Yeah. That actually was heartbreaking when I’d see it. One person chose somebody else’s kid. Okay.

Heather: Well, I mean, that’s interesting though, that in and of itself, is interesting.

Maureen: Other people’s kids piss me off all the time. I get it.

Julie Brefczynski-Lewis: Like, yeah, for sure. So, so anyway, and then they would do this and then all of a sudden, like they had to like stare at a little dot on their nose, on the MRI. And it’s almost like they blocked out the face part of the brain as like, they were suppressing like, oh God, don’t look at that person. I have to just look at the dot. And then after doing compassion, like came back online and the other pro-social brain regions came online. It really did like make a difference within a short time.

Heather: So, let me run this one by you. Have you heard of people covering the pumping bottles of their milk with like baby socks so they can’t see the volume of milk they’re pumping out?

Julie Brefczynski-Lewis: Ah I have, I couldn’t look. It would depress me.

Maureen: Yeah. I tell that to clients all the time. They’re like, I only get an ounce. I’m like, well, stop staring at it.

Heather: What is that compared to being mindful and thinking about imagining the milk in your ducts, imagining it coming out.

Maureen: How is that different?

Heather: You know, because a lot of it it’s blocking it out, like, is that potentially blocking?

Julie Brefczynski-Lewis: I don’t think so. I think you’re using a skillful means to like, just like the goal. It’s the journey. Not like the goal.

Maureen: Yeah. No, I think the quantifying part of that is the difficult part for people.

Julie Brefczynski-Lewis: I like the visualization aspect and that it is that enteroception. So I do think that’s why for some people, the body scan or like full body relaxation, like from toe to head or head to toe, like something like that would be really useful. And it’s really kind of staying around the breast area during that process. And you can do a mini one, like a mini boobs scan. You could do a mini boob scan. Cool. I’d like the mini boobs scan.

Maureen: I just thought when you said toe to head or head to toe, I always do toe to head.

Julie Brefczynski-Lewis: People do. And a lot of people are super heady and then like they’re really, really in their head and then it might be better to go the other way.

Maureen: Yeah, I think it’s just, I struggle. With making, like my facial muscles relax the most. So if I start with my feet and like work up to it, you know what I mean.

Julie Brefczynski-Lewis: You can go either way. I mean, it’s most commonly you’ll find with, especially with mindfulness-based interventions toe to head.

Heather: So what are some other ways that practicing meditation can help with breastfeeding journeys?

Julie Brefczynski-Lewis: So, You’re kind of in the moment, right. With mindfulness and you’re kind of non-judgmental so you’re just cultivating, maybe in a separate session. You’re repeatedly cultivating being okay with whatever happens. So I mentioned earlier about, well, sometimes it feels like you’ve got a million thoughts in your heads and sometimes it feels like, wow, I’m really in the zone.

That’s why it’s a good thing to sometimes not be in the zone. Because you’re cultivating a nonjudgmentalness about whether or not the meditation even feels good. And as you accustomed yourself to, Hey, whatever happens, happens. And then you have taken out that element of, oh, it has to be a certain result or go a certain way or, you know, something terrible is going to happen. Or I know that’s going. A freshness is applied. So every, you know, session is fresh. And so just because that last meditation session was really peaceful, it doesn’t mean this next one’s going to be and vice versa. This because it was like, I was, had a lot of thoughts in my head the next one’s going to be. Well, same with breastfeeding, just because I had a really challenging session or I had some aversion, it doesn’t mean that’s going to happen the next one, it’s fresh.

Heather: But you’re asking people to lower their expectations for themselves and their body and their ability to meditate. And we are a culture now of apps that track your everybody fluid. Oh man, I, everything.

Maureen: I hate these so much. I mean, a lot of people you know, say that the apps reduce their stress and that’s fine, but that’s always my question is, does it reduce your stress? Does it give you comfort or is it another thing to do?

Julie Brefczynski-Lewis: And it’s crazy because I mean, I go for like, I mean, here I am somebody who literally part of my job description is, is the service element. Is teaching these mindfulness classes and I had a, such a like a challenging childcare situation where I didn’t have childcare for a while. I didn’t meditate.

Maureen: Yeah. I’m sure.

Julie Brefczynski-Lewis: And so then you’re also okay with the fact that, you know, it’s just. You know, you didn’t get your meditation session and you also have to be nonjudgmental about that. But unfortunately there’s like this weird middle zone of like, well, you’ve had to have a little bit of experience to kind of be okay with that.

So it’s kind of with everything, but, but not trying to stress out about, oh, you know, I was supposed to be nonjudgmental about this and I totally was.

Maureen: Don’t judge yourself.

Heather: With that being said before we get into your meditation, which thank you so much, by the way, for coming and leading this meditation for all of our listeners, I, this is like a big unofficial research project. So you guys, as you’re pumping, please listen to this meditation and let us know how it goes.

Julie Brefczynski-Lewis: That would be awesome. I wouldn’t really like to know. I think it would be just great to promote in the field that, Hey, there’s so little done on breastfeeding in general in the research field.

Maureen: Oh, lactation research is so few and far between, right? Yeah. Yes. That would be the positive spin on it, Heather.

Heather: Yeah. Ripe for the picking. So please email us at [email protected] and let us know if Julie’s meditation did anything for you. And maybe that’s not even volume.

Julie Brefczynski-Lewis: Yes, it’s totally. And that’s really one of my take homes is that if this doesn’t work for you, find something that, you know, I’m not holding on to. I’m not offended if it doesn’t because it may be that hey, if it’s not right, then it’s not right. And you know, maybe just like looking at a tree for, for a few minutes, this is your thing.

Maureen: I, you know, it’s funny. I feel like I have two major go-to’s for, to help people get that oxytocin release in when they’re pumping. One is meditation for some people and the other people, I tell them to find their favorite comedian and laugh the whole time.

I’m like, so we’re either going to go for relaxation and release or laughter and release. Like which, which one works for you? Also, like which day?

Julie Brefczynski-Lewis: Which day I was going, gonna say that because there are definitely times where I’ve had to watch a comedy.

Maureen: Yeah. For sure.

Heather: All right. Well, you guys thank you so much. We are not going to do our full exit today with our closing, because we want to leave you with this meditation and then you can go on about your business. So if you’d like to be our VIP insider, you can join us at Patreon.com/MilkMinutePodcast, you can always email us at [email protected] You can join our free breastfeeding support group on Facebook. Just search on Facebook, Breastfeeding for Busy Moms and it should be the first group that comes up.

Okay. Thanks for joining for the mindfulness session. The first thing that you want to do is think about posture a little bit. I recognize that some people are going to be kind of in an unideal chair, but if you can, and if it’s accessible to you to sit forward a little bit on a chair and have your feet flat on the ground, that’s the most ideal posture because the straight spine keeps the optimal awake and alert, but also relaxed balance. And that’s also how the mind is I, you know, I hate to put goal in there, but having the mind awake and not falling asleep, but also relaxed and not super agitated. I’m trying to figure out all life’s problems. So I like to start by feeling my feet on the floor, kind of route it to the earth.

If you don’t have a lot of time, you can just do this. Just feeling your feet rooted to the earth, brings you out of your head. You tend to be little floating heads with all our thoughts and worries but bring your mindful attention instead to your feet.

And now just notice that your body is breathing. You don’t have to change it in any way, but just feel the breath in your body.

And for just a few minutes, we’re going to make that breath, the object of our mind.

So I’d like to say that we place our attention on the breath rather than focus. Focus is too strong. Placing one’s attention on the breath.

One notices the breath,

just the natural pace.

and everyone, experienced or not, at some point is going to notice, Hey, my mind has wandered off the breath. That’s totally okay. Just gently place it back on the breath.

After a short time, you may want to adjust your posture. You can send relaxation to your shoulders, almost like a warm melting of the muscles of your shoulders. So the shoulders are upright, but not rigid like military rigid, but not slouchy.

Going back to the breath.

I like to have my eyes loosely open. You may prefer to close them.

And if you feel very agitated, you can really send relaxation messages to your whole body. But if you feel really tired, sometimes they go together. You can even just get up for a sec, splash some water on your face and then come back. There’s no stress here. You can try to find what works.

So now that we have

stabilized the mind a little bit, there’s a little bit of relaxation, or maybe not, or we’ve at least checked in with our body, checked in with her mind. Kinda know what’s going on with ourselves. We’re like a little mini laboratory we can check in on that laboratory and just relax with the breath again.

So now I’m going to do the little compassion. Compassion or self-kindness exercise.

And it’s always important to sandwich something like this between two sessions of a little bit of mindfulness, even if it’s just a few breaths. So the loving kindness or compassion practice uses your imagination so that you can almost practice having this feeling when it’s a little bit easier when you’re just you know, on your chair or on your sofa.

And then in real life, it starts to become a little bit easier.

So I like to start by thinking of a loved one. This is actually quite traditional. One could think of someone and you can choose an individual. So take like a couple moments to choose someone who automatically makes you smile when you think of them. It may be your little, it may be a parent or a good friend, grandparent, significant other, someone that’s not a love hate relationship for one, that’s not like super complex right now.

Now you can have that individual either vaguely or vividly in your mind and imagine sending them the wish for happiness.

Can you imagine sending them all the things that they, as an individual really enjoy? Yeah, it might be material things. This person has activities or hobbies that they love. It might be time with friends and family and imagine this person happy.

 And in this imagine of an exercise, imagine that you’re the one that you’re you created this wish and it sort of worked right. And how you would feel kind of like when you get someone the perfect gift, your face lights up. I feel warm.

Try to intensify this feeling not worrying if it’s coming naturally or if it’s having trouble finding it.

And then touch back on the breath.

Feeling your feet on the ground. Relaxing your shoulders if there’s any tension there and finding your breath.

And now we’re going to do the self-compassion or self-kindness. That’s going to be difficult for people. And if it is, you can tap into the feeling that you just had for your loved one. Your loved one would also want you to be happy.

Wishing for yourself, the things that bring you joy.

You can wish yourself at ease of any discomfort or stress.

Wish yourself all the things that make you smile, make you happy. Kind of lasting happiness.

You try to intensify that feeling if you can.

And then going back to the breath.

So recentering each time helps. If emotions can be weird, it helps just recenter you. You feeling your feet on the ground, feeling your breath in your body.

And now you can imagine sending that wish for happiness to a like an ever-increasing circle. And this is traditionally, and you can find, you know, something examples of this on the internet, I’m sure. Where you would include strangers or difficult people, if you have someone that you have to deal with. But for now, we’re just going to kind of vaguely send it out to, starting with yourself again, wishing yourself happiness. Wishing happiness to all of those in your household or in your workplace.

And either your building or your neighborhood,

May we all be happy. May we all be safe.

May all find ease.

And then spreading to the whole state that you live in or country that you live in.

So expanding from local to the whole state or country,

and then to the whole world. Okay here, you don’t need to think of anyone in particular. Just imagine kind of sending that wish for happiness in all directions, almost like rays of happiness.

And then just rest in the feeling, whether it’s whatever feeling you happen to conjure, it might not be even happiness. Just notice.

And now, we’ll go back to the other part of the sandwich. Feeling your feet on the ground, almost rooted to the earth. That earthy quality, it’s very comforting and nurturing.

Your seat on the cushion or chair.

And your breath.

Not changing your breath in any way. Just noticing.

If you’re doing this without a guide, you might just want to count your breaths from one to 10, and then we’ll conclude. We can do that now. Silently.

It’s nice when you conclude to have a little gratitude for yourself for taking time for a little bit of self-care. It’s so hard to find time to do these things, but the payoff can be really nice, but also not being hard on yourself if it doesn’t work out for you today. So thank you so much for joining in the practice and good luck on your journey.

And again, if this doesn’t feel like your jam, maybe just try to find something that takes you to your happy place. Thank you.

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