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Photo by Bao-Tich

Monday, August 30, 2010

On Saturday, my husband and I had the opportunity to spend the whole day in mindfulness and meditation with the Mindfulness Practice Center of Fairfax. We have practiced with this sangha, led by Ahn Huong and Thu Nguyen, for many years in the tradition of her uncle, Thich Nhat Hanh. Ahn Huong is my inspiration and model for the days of mindfulness and women’s retreats that Ruth Fishel and I have been conducting.

I realize that leading the exercises of mindful breathing, walking, eating, and deep relaxation is a type of work that is also restful, not only to the people who are breathing and relaxing to my guided meditation, but also to me. We inter-are. But it was a treat to return to my teacher’s beautiful sangha, to be guided by her peaceful voice, to just REST.

For many people vacation is over today. Schools opening. Teachers teaching. Traffic increasing. Stress increasing. It’s a work day. So, here I am at my desk, working on a blog and my next retreat. Without traffic, without the stress of my many years in the classroom. Also without the excitement of meeting my new students. So I turn to you, my new audience of readers, less visible, less audible, but there.

There is a time for everything under the sun. I am so grateful for this period of my life when I am able to rest between periods of work and to attempt to make every task I do one of mindfulness and joy. I am still capable of becoming stressed about writing and publishing, capable of working without pausing. But, if I come back to my breath, at least three breaths when beginning a new task, occasionally during a task and at the end, my work is more productive and happy. My life has become so restful, so filled with joyful opportunities to merge work and rest.

How do you find rest within, before and after your work? Do you STOP occasionally to rest and breathe? What reminders do you use?


  1. Nature is always a wonderful reminder to come back to the present moment. But other more utilitarian reminder such as the ringing of the phone or a traffic signal can also be used to bring us back.

    Forming the intention to be with what I am doing while playing guitar also works well for me. Mindful listening to what I am playing or better yet saying also works.

  2. Joann,
    I feel so fortunate to work across the street from the Pacific Ocean. Even better, we are on a little bluff overlooking the beach and harbor. During work, I try very hard to get outside at least once a day to just stop, look, breathe, and smile. It’s not hard (once I’m outside).

    In the past I had a bell on my computer, but when I switched to a mac there wasn’t an equivalent. Now, Mindfulness Buddy has a Mac version and I’m giving it a try. Interesting concept. Periodical interruptions at varying lengths with customizable messages.


    • Dear Kenley,
      I checked out your website and find we have a lot more in common than our meditation practice – Wired, Peter Gabriel, blogging. I’m a beginner, trying to build that old “marketing platform” for my book in the search for an agent and publisher. But I’m finding room to blog about meditation, peacemaking and my women’s retreats too. It’s becoming fun.
      You are a fortunate guy to live near the Pacific. I could get used to having an ocean close by!
      Peace and calm,

      • Took a while to respond. Sorry. It’s always nice to find like-minded people with similar experiences. Let’s try and hook up again the next time in DC (was just there in June).

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