I have found daily meditation/visualization to be an extremely positive influence in my life both before my breast cancer diagnosis and after. Being able to release the stress of the day and visualize the “me” I want to be has brought me great comfort, peace, and healing. I know we all have busy days and it is difficult to find time to be in your “own space” to practice meditation. I find the most effective time for me is when I go to bed at night. Sleep disturbances/having problems falling asleep is a common symptom of trauma. Meditating at this time serves two purposes for me: all is quiet which creates the right atmosphere, and the pre-sleep time seems to be my most difficult period regarding any negative thoughts that might be running through my head. So, once the lights are out and all electronics are shut down for the day, I begin by focusing on my breathing. Just gentle waves of inhalation and exhalation (I also have placed some lavender oil on my pillow and on my wrists. Lavender is an essential oil that promotes relaxation). My previous post explained my Metta Meditation technique. Now we are going to add a one minute preparation for your Metta Meditation from Five Weeks To Healing Stress by Valerie O’Hara Ph.D. As you are gently inhaling and exhaling (preparing for your Metta Meditation) visualize wave after wave of the ocean washing through you releasing tension. As you are “noticing” your breath if any negative thoughts come up, visualize a blackboard with your thoughts written on it. With each exhalation mentally say the word “erasing” and watch the thoughts being removed. Don’t judge the thoughts or yourself, just erase and focus again on your breath. When you feel a sense of calm and loving acceptance and kindness toward yourself begin your Metta Meditation. This whole process can take anywhere from six minutes to as long as you’d like. But, I find that I am relaxed and ready to drift off to sleep after about 10 minutes. Give it a try.