I recently moved across the country from Chicago to Seattle. My husband and I sold our three bedroom house and downsized to a one bedroom apartment. In our previous house we had an office and half of it was dedicated to my meditation space, now I have carved out a tiny corner in our bedroom. What's important isn't that you have a lot of space, what's important is that you have a dedicated space, whether it's an entire room or a small blanket and tray you bring out of the closet. Having a personal meditation space will help motivate you to practice on a regular basis.
How to Design Your Own Meditation Space:
1. Find a space in your home that makes you feel peaceful
Maybe you like the light that comes in through your bedroom window or maybe there is a back closet away from everyone else in the house. Either way, select a place in your home that makes you feel calm and peaceful. It's probably a bad idea to set up your space in the middle of the kitchen, but only you will know the right place in your house or apartment.
2. Determine what you need to help you meditate
Not everyone needs props in their meditation space, but there may be a few calming objects that help signal to you it is time to meditate. Some people use crystals, a salt lamp, plants, or a Tibetan singing bowl.
For me, I have a small table with a candle, lucky bamboo, and a few decorative objects on it. I'm still looking for the perfect statue of the Buddha.
3. Use candles, incense, or an essential oil diffuser
Every day before I meditate I light a candle. As I light the candle my meditation session begins, and when I blow it out my session is complete. It helps me stay centered.
Lighting incense or starting an essential oil diffuser would have the same effect.
There are certain calming scents like lavender and sandalwood that are ideal for meditation.
4. Find a cushion or something to sit on
One of the goals of meditation is to clear your mind. You won't be able to get clear while you are uncomfortable, because the entire time you will be thinking about how your back hurts and your feet are asleep (I may or may not have experienced this in the past).
You can use a pillow, yoga blanket, or a meditation cushion. I use a round pillow, but I have my eyes on this buckwheat medication cushion by Hugger Mugger:
5. Use music or a meditation app
Once you've chosen a space and found the items and scents that prepare you for meditation, it's time to practice. I use a free app called Insight Timer. It has thousands of meditations to choose from and you can bookmark your favorites. I bookmarked about 50 meditations and I am working through them from shortest to longest. It's helping me learn to sit for longer periods of time. The app has both spoken meditations and music, so you can use whichever you prefer or simply set a timer.
If you don't want to use an app, try putting on some soft music or white noise.
It's easy to set up a meditation space and once you do you will find you are more compelled to meditate on a regular basis. Personally, I meditate first thing in the morning for 5-20 minutes. I find that if I wait until later in the day I am more likely to come up with excuses or feel less "in the zone."
After I meditate I do cat-cow pose and three half sun salutations and then I feel ready to start my day.
Find what works for you and then make it a daily routine.
Here is a picture of my simple meditation space. The table is an original mosaic created by my grandmother:
Overtime meditation has helped me cope with anxiety and chronic pain. Meditating in the morning ensures that I start my day in the right head space. I still need practice on letting go of thoughts, but I know it takes time.
Do you meditate on a regular basis? Do you have a meditation space set up in your home?
"Meditation means the recognition or discovery of one’s own true self." - Sri Chinmoy
In the ten years since my autoimmune thyroid disease diagnosis I've tried countless diets and protocols to calm my immune system. It’s no surprise that none of them stuck. That's why I'm here trying a new diet protocol--The Plant Paradox by Dr. Steven Gundry.
When I look at Instagram I see images of people who have perfected a low inflammation diet. I realize maybe this is just Instagram and no one really has it all together, but it sure seems that way. Diet is where I struggle the most. I'm not a seasoned cook; it takes me twice as long and twice the amount of dishes to make a supposedly simple recipe.
When I heard about The Plant Paradox diet on The School of Greatness podcast it seemed like something I could do. Dr. Gundry said we can still eat the things we love like beans and potatoes, but only if we cook them in the pressure cooker. A diet designed to reverse autoimmune disease that allows beans and potatoes? That's unheard of. So, I got the book and started reading.
The basis behind The Plant Paradox is to remove all lectins from your diet. Removing lectins, like those in seeded fruits and vegetables, is not a new concept. Protocols such as the Paleo diet or the Autoimmune Protocol diet recommend moving most lectin containing foods. However, foods like cucumbers and squashes that are allowed on most diets are not allowed on The Plant Paradox (they are allowed in moderation if they are peeled and de-seeded).
I was drawn to The Plant Paradox diet for two reasons. One, you can do it as mostly a vegetarian diet. Dr. Gundry says you can even do it if you are a vegan, but I think you would have to be extremely talented in the kitchen. I'm not quite there yet. Two, I love beans and potatoes, and on this diet I am able to have them occasionally as long as I cook them in the pressure cooker. Dr. Gundry makes some substantial claims that The Plant Paradox reverses autoimmune disease, so I'm looking forward to seeing if that is true for me.
I am making a couple of tweaks to the diet right off the bat. Dr. Gundry recommends not eating any fruit out of season. I plan to eat fruit year round. I don't eat very much, but I put organic berries in my smoothie every morning and may have some fruit for dessert.
I'm also skipping the three day cleanse or "phase one" and jumping right into "phase two." Restrictive diets are already difficult enough without an even more limited food list. Plus, I want to start integrating this diet into my lifestyle right away and learning two sets of rules for a three day cleanse will just muddy the water.
Dr. Gundry allows basmati rice as something to work back into the diet after six weeks, but I plan to eat it once or twice a week right away. I don't seem to have a problem with rice.
Also, in order to make friends and have a social life in Seattle I will have to eat at a restaurant once in a while. My plan is to get a salad and bring my own dressing, have an omelet, or some fresh fish. At the end of the day I still want to enjoy dining out and traveling, so I'll just have to do the best I can.
I'll keep you updated on my progress. So far, I've done it for a week and I survived, so that's a good start.
Has anyone else tried The Plant Paradox diet? If so, what were your results?
"Though no one can go back and make a make a brand new start, anyone can start now and make a brand new ending." - Carl Bard
Nourish, Heal, Thrive: A Comprehensive & Holistic Approach to Living with Lyme Disease is a complete nutrition guide to your Lyme journey.
I knew I was going to relate to the text when I saw the opening quote:
"You never know how strong you are until being strong is your only choice." - Unknown
The author of the book, Rika Keck, is a certified in Applied Clinical Nutrition, Metabolic Typing Advisor, and Functional Diagnostic Nutrition. She founded a company called NY Integrated Health LLC located in New York City. According to her website: "It is her belief that eating well, taking responsibility for healthier lifestyle choices, feeling well, looking great and operating from inner balance can result in motivation, empowerment and achievement of long-term goals."
The Introduction to Nourish, Heal, Thrive discusses how patients with chronic Lyme disease struggle to get a diagnosis and the challenge of getting proper treatment.
"One patient suffering from chronic Lyme expressed that she felt she was becoming a shadow of herself and that she was slowly dying."
Most people who have been through this experience can relate to the sentiment, but the goal of the book is to help you find hope through diet and lifestyle changes.
Rika's philosophy is to remain neutral about medical treatments, such as, antibiotics vs. herbs, because the choice belongs to the patient. She says, "My intention is not to tell you how to treat or cure your chronic Lyme and the coinfections. Instead, this book is geared toward building resilience so you can tolerate your medical and alternative therapeutic protocols for your sickness."
Early in the book Rika writes, "There is no such thing as a perfect diet. We are all different." The rest of the book details how to find the right diet and detox program for the reader.
Each chapter has a different topic related to mind, body, spirit healing, such as "Eat for Energy" and "Action Steps to Optimize Digestion and Absorption."
I found the chapter on the landscape of persistent Lyme to be very interesting. One of my favorite quotes was, "Being in balance, with acute stress followed by rest, is called healthy stress adaptation." It's a good reminder that following emotional or physical stress we must rest in order to integrate challenges into our body in a healthy way. In this chapter Rika provides a detailed "Toxic Exposures Checklist," which was helpful; however, there were some "toxic exposures" that I was not familiar with and would've liked a more detailed explanation, such as "surgical scars on the body" and "drink iced drinks or cold water with meals."
There was also a valuable chapter about blood sugar issues and hypoglycemia, which I think could be discussed more in the Lyme medical community.
The most interesting information I found in the book was in the last chapter where she compared foods as "friend or foe." She highlights foods like dairy, oxalates, nightshade vegetables, and fruit. Some diets recommend a food, while others claim it will bring you harm. In this part of the book, Rika does a good job of showing both sides, so the patient can be an informed consumer.
Rika's writing style is pleasant and friendly, making this an easy read. The knowledge in the book is a lot to digest and spans the basics through advanced nutrition.
This book is probably not for people who have their PHD in Lyme treatment. I would recommend it for those with a more recent diagnosis and needing some comprehensive knowledge on how to nourish, heal, and thrive.
"Don't be afraid to give up the good to go for the great." - John D. Rockefeller
I'm Kerry and I was diagnosed with chronic Lyme disease in 2016. This is a positive space for those of us coping with Lyme disease and other invisible illnesses.