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“Transformation and healing are possible…..Since transformation is possible, garbage can become flowers, and afflictions can become enlightenment.”

“There are always enough internal and external conditions to make us happy in the present moment. This is not to deny that there are also elements of suffering in us and around us. But the elements of suffering do not remove the elements of happiness. If we touch only suffering elements, we are not really living.” Thich Nhat Hanh’s

    Understanding the Mind

,p. 234-240.

We have just been through a week that strengthens this teaching about impermanence and happiness for us. My dear husband’s only remaining immediate family member-his brother- passed away suddenly last Sunday. There have been moments of deep sorrow, tears, feeling a hole inside. But we have also experienced laughter at old memories, walks by our favorite creek, the sweetness of a beloved child’s hug, calls from friends, reunion with family members.

Without impermanence, change, there is no transformation of suffering. One moment follows another. The briefness of life makes each moment so precious, so worth living fully. Our intention during the long days of wakes and the funeral was to be a fully present to our loved ones as possible, to remain awake, feeling what we felt in the moment, opening our hearts with compassion, letting go of any regrets.

A deep bow of gratitude to each of you who walked this path with us all week and those who will be with us, helping us transform suffering into beautiful flowers throughout our lives.


  1. May he continue shining on in your heart and compassionate actions.

  2. This is very beautifully written and full of wisdom Joanne. You and Pat inspired and continue to inspire me. Much love to you both.

    • Stephen, Thank you so much for your kind words. You also inspire me with your courage to be exactly who you are, to love boldly and for your passionate love of searching our past to enlighten our present. Love, Joann

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