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Hello, Old Friend

Thich Nhat Hanh suggests that we greet an uncomfortable thought, worry, or fear with, “Hello, Old Friend. I know you.” When I heard this in the gentle, loving voice of Roshi Joan Halifax, I immediately felt an Ahh.

I suppose when you acknowledge that you’ve been here before, you’ve felt this before, and yet life went on and possibly even became quite nice again, you can imagine that it will once more. There’s also something comforting about familiarity, even with a negative thought. Oh yeah. You again. I know you. You’re back. That little part of me that nags and bothers from time to time, that needs something again. My little demon. Maybe it just needs soothing.

You never know when a little nugget of wisdom will hit home, do you? You do have to keep listening for them, though. Although if you miss it first time around, it’s likely to pop up again. I’m trying to listen harder these days, since it might be nicer to try and catch them on their first time flying by. Time is limited, you know. The next little bit of grace I pick up might make all the difference in an interaction I’m about to have with a child or a friend, one of my sons or siblings, or even a perfect stranger. So I want to listen!

Sometimes, too, these bits of wisdom are my own epiphanies and realizations. I have found things in my Morning Pages that I wrote down long ago and I’d managed to forget, things that were surprisingly insightful! And yet here I am having this beautiful discovery all over again. Good thing some little part of me is paying attention.

“My actions are my only true belongings.” – Thich Nhat Hanh

“For things to reveal themselves to us, we need to be ready to abandon our views about them.” – Thich Nhat Hanh

“What you are looking for is already in you…You already are everything you are seeking.” – Thich Nhat Hanh

If you’re looking for my cards or art, you’ll find all of that on my website. If you enjoy these letters, feel free to forward this one to anyone you think might like it. And if someone forwarded this one to you, you can sign up here to receive the letters right in your Inbox. Finally, you’ll find past letters and poems here.

Thanks for listening,

P.S. MerryThoughts is the name of my first book, out of print at the moment. The word is a British one, referring both to a wishbone and to the ritual of breaking the wishbone with the intention of either having a wish granted or being the one who marries first, thus the “merry thoughts.”

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