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This morning, before an early swim in the ocean, my husband and I read this passage as a beginning of our celebration of our 19th wedding anniversary:

Understanding the Mind by Thich Nhat Hanh, p. 226
“Habit energies are the basis of internal knots.  This is like when we put flower petals into tea in order to flavor it.  If we are in a good environment, we get the ‘perfume’ of the good environment.  If we are in an unwholesome environment, we get the ‘perfume’ of an unwholesome environment.  Any action of body, speech or mind can be the result of a habit energy.  Some habit energies have taken thousands of years to form.  Our heritage is not only what we have done in the past, but what we are doing in the present.  Every word we speak and every act we perform will determine how we are.  We know that if we want to come to a place of happiness and light, we must develop good habits.  The best habit is the practice of mindfulness.  If we live with a Sangha that practices mindfulness, we will get the perfume of mindfulness.”

    This was a perfect reading for our wedding anniversary today.  We have truly formed a family, our own little sangha, in the last 24 years we have been together.  We have received the teachings of Thay and tried to practice mindfulness together and with others in a wider sangha.  With the help and support of friends along our spiritual path, we have discovered ancestral knots of fear, anger, resentment and self-hatred within ourselves and helped one another transform them into faith, peace, non-judgement and love of self and others.  Perfectly? No.  Understanding that these knots took thousands of years to form, relieves us of the expectation of fully transforming them in one lifetime.  We smile at the opportunities to continue to untie knots, to perfume our lives with mindful people, the beauty of the ocean and the rising supermoon.  What a privilege to have been born human, to be able to form the habit of love for ourselves, our ancestors and future generations – right here, right now, in this beautiful moment.

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