Spring is the season of awakening and the ideal time to introduce our ♥Awakening the Mind & Heart: Daily Mindfulness Practices 4 Life Blog Series©. Based on the work of Thich Nhat Hanh, this series presents in-the-moment mindfulness strategies to increase our well-being. Four upcoming blogs will highlight: Mindful Breathing, Mindful Walking, Mindful Eating, and Mindful Loving. These simple, yet profoundly powerful actions open our minds and hearts to the miracles of the present moment. We model these strategies for children and youth as we practice them for ourselves. Together, we make changes for a happier and more peaceful world.
August 8-13th, 2011: Sue, Victoria, and a close friend, Lanie, participated in a six-day Awakening the Heart Mindfulness Retreat with Thich Nhat Hanh at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, BC, Canada.
THICH NHAT HANH is an author, poet, artist, scholar, and human rights peace activist. He is one of the best-known Zen teachers in the world today. He has been teaching mindfulness practices for more than 70 years and has authored over 70 books that share his life and teachings. His students call him Thay, and that’s how we will refer to him in this blog series.
Observing and learning from Thay was a dream come true. Thay is the most present person we have ever met. It was so special to observe his stillness as he meditated; his calm and flowing steps as he walked; his peaceful voice when he taught; and the depth of his philosophy, compassion, and insight.
“Freedom is not given to us by anyone; we have to cultivate it ourselves.
It is a daily practice.”
—Thich Naht Hanh
During the retreat, Thay introduced us to a Mindful Living Plan that included the four key mindfulness practices presented in this series: Mindful Breathing, Mindful Walking, Mindful Eating, and Mindful Loving.
Each day, we practiced these strategies with the collective energy of 800 mindfulness practitioners who became our worldwide Sangha (a community in which everyone is practicing the same way).
We have continued a weekly Sangha to support each other in our daily mindfulness practice to become more awake to the precious moments of our lives.
Quotes, Books, and Calligraphy by Thay
We’ll highlight Thay’s quotes, books, and calligraphy in each of the blogs within this series.
Thich Nhat Hanh quotations are reprinted with permission from Parallax Press, 2015.
Pictures and calligraphy are reprinted with permission from Plum Village, 2015.
A favorite book of ours, and an excellent introduction to the writings of Thich Nhat Hanh, is Being Peace, Revised Edition, 2013.
For additional books written by Thay, please visit Parallax Press, a nonprofit publisher, founded and inspired by Thay. Parallax Press publishes books on mindfulness in daily life. Those involved are committed to making these teachings accessible to everyone and preserving them for future generations. They work to alleviate suffering and contribute to a more just and joyful world.
Mindful Wishes to Print and Post
For each of the upcoming blogs, we’ve created printer-friendly Mindfulness Circles with wishes as gentle reminders for your daily mindfulness practice to awaken your mind and heart.
You can download, print, clip, and post the circles in your home, car, and workplace. Look for your first gift at the end of our Mindful Breathing blog.
♥Awakening the Mind & Heart: Daily Mindfulness Practices 4 Life
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Sue & Victoria