In the 1960s  this Buddhist Monk from Vietnam, Thich Nhat Hanh, persuaded MLK to publicly oppose the Vietnam War.

In the 1960s, this Vietnamese Buddhist monk, Thich Nhat Hanh, persuaded Martin Luther King, Jr. to publicly oppose the Vietnam War.

As I wrote this post, my heart reached out to the families in Newtown, Conn., steeped in grief and looking for their next steps. May they soon find that—even in suffering— peace is every step…

It’s been a while, 12-15 years ago, that my friend Elaine Faris Keenan placed a copy of Thich Nhat Hanh’s book, Peace is Every Step into my hand while we were visiting her home.  I’m still grateful to you for doing that, Elaine. After browsing the book— seeing such headings as Waging Peace, Suchness and Thinking Less—I knew I had to own this book. If we could get everyone, including the mentally and emotionally disturbed of our communities, to practice mindfulness and interbeing (a phrase coined by Thich Nhat Hanh) and walking meditation to understand how we are all connected to each other and to the earth, then we can begin transform the world for the better. An old Berber saying cautions that we Trust in Allah, but tie your camel first. So to support this transformation we must have stricter gun laws in America.

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Thich Nhat Hahn’s name is pronoucned [Tik-N’yat-Hawn]. He and my late mother Irene, were same year children, 1926. And on page 26 of Peace Is Every Step, TNH writes about Washing Dishes. I include the words of this small section rolled up inside the dishrags I knit (often at night during insomnia meditation, a phrase I coined). I like knitting. Every stitch is an act of consciousness. And I only knit dish rags and face cloths. Quick and useful. Mostly I give them away to friends old and new. You’d think it was something from Tiffany’s the way folks light up and smile when I put one in their hands. It takes so little to make somebody smile, and feel loved. Really. Does my heart good to go to a friends house and see one my rags at the sink, draped over the faucet. Even better if it has holes in it. That’s a sure-fire way to get yourself a freshly knitted replacement.

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As the grieving families and communities of Newtown wait
for the sharp edges of grief to be washed over and lessened by tears and years;
as they put one foot in front of the other, breathe and move forward,
I join the world, holding them.
As those same tears they shed also polish up the memories of
their dear, dear children and the teachers who bravely stood by them,
may they continue to live deeply in present moments;
washing dishes, making meals and living and loving.

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