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This is what I love about mindfulness, clear intentions, and staying in alignment even during times of challenge. At 88 years young, Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh, was hospitalized having suffered from a brain hemorrhage. When I clicked on the linkKAB retreat breathe photo 2 to read the update on his condition, I did not expect the opening phrase to cause me to immediately stop and reflect.

“With a mindful and deep breath…” It’s not only the poetic quality of it, but the compassionate, grounded energy and the intention of sending a calming message to the community that caught my attention. I went on to finish the article but I found myself returning to that opening phrase wondering what would be different if we all chose to engage in every thought and action starting from the same place?

How would life, especially during stressful and difficult times, during times of pain and sadness or, conversely, even when stepping into extraordinary moments, be different if we paused and took a deep and mindful breath? How many harsh words might never be spoken? How much energy might be saved? How much more consciously might we choose, act, and live? Breathing is an automatic function of our bodies. The downside of this is that we don’t have to think about it so very often we forget about the power of breath. When we breathe deeply and mindfully, we connect with ourselves and our heart. Actions, words, and thoughts that come from the heart create a different outcome than those that come from fear, stress, and worry.

This week, I’m challenging myself to consciously choose this phrase as my starting point. Already there is a different level of peace settling within me. It doesn’t mean some of the turmoil of life stops swirling around or that my to do list is suddenly no longer overflowing with amazing projects and tasks. It simply allows me to feel more present as I approach each moment…”with a deep and mindful breath”.

Even as he recovers from a brain hemorrhage, the teacher continues to teach.

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