Three sample practices are presented for you to try: a formal practice, an informal practice, and a mindful inquiry practice.

Try This—Formal Practice: Aspiration Meditation

To begin, settle into a place of quiet. Bring light attention to the breath, noticing where the breath is most prominent in the body. Feel the rhythmic flow of the breath cycle and ride upon its currents. Raise the corners of the mouth into a half smile. This small upturning of the mouth lifts your heart and lightens your spirit. Sense if there’s calm arising. Open your heart to draw in aspirations of gratitude, internalizing these aspirations more deeply with each breath. You can coordinate the phrases with the in-breath and out-breath or simply continue to mindfully breathe as you say each phrase. Choose to repeat these phrases or phrases of your own.

“May I find gratitude in the breath.”

“May I find gratitude in each moment.”

“May I find gratitude in the qualities I have cultivated.”

“May I find gratitude in the love that surrounds me.”

“May I find gratitude in the beauty of nature and life itself.”

Record this practice in the practice log and note what you learned. To listen to a guided meditation that complements the formal practice we covered in this chapter, or click here if you already have a password.

Try This—Informal Practice: Cultivating Generosity

When going about your day, notice how you feel when you have selflessly given. This might be in the form of a kind deed, gift, supportive gesture, or smile. Also notice when you are the recipient of a generous act.

Savor the kindness, goodwill, experience of common humanity, and connection to basic
goodness in yourself and others that generosity bestows. Invite the joy to permeate deeply so you can remember to incline the mind toward these feelings of positivity wherever you are. Note your experience in the practice log.

Try This—Mindful Inquiry: Pregnancy versus Parenthood

Find a comfortable resting position. Slowly close your eyes and simply notice the breath naturally occurring. As you bring light attention to the breath, invite the breath to slow and deepen on its own. Follow the breath sensations in the body as you’re riding on the breath waves, feeling the rhythmic flow.

Drop into your heart and imagine breathing into and out from your heart. On the inhalation, feel the heart opening and expanding. On the exhalation, feel the heart softening and relaxing. Open to this practice of inquiry by asking yourself this question: “Is my true longing pregnancy or parenthood? Do I really need a genetic tie to connect with my child, or can I connect through love?” As your heart opens wide, invite the answers to enter.