God is the master of surprises. Even death is a surprise. – Sr. Lucy Bruskiewicz


Be Like a Tree in a Storm, by Thich Nhat Hanh


A strong emotion is like a storm. If you look at a tree in a storm, the top of the tree seems fragile, like it might break at any moment. You are afraid the storm might uproot the tree. But if you turn your attention to the trunk of the tree, you realize that its roots are deeply anchored in the ground, and you see that the tree will be able to hold.

You too are a tree. During the storm of emotion, you should not stay at the level of the head or heart, which are like the top of the tree. You have to leave the heart, the eye of the storm, and come back to the trunk of the tree. Your trunk is one centimeter below your navel. Focus there, paying attention only to the movement of your abdomen, and continue to breathe. Then you will survive the storm of strong emotion.

You should not wait for emotion to appear before you begin practicing. Otherwise, you will be carried away by the storm. You should train now, while the emotion is not there. So sit or lay down and practice mindfulness of the breath, using the movement of your abdomen as the object of your attention. I am positive that if you do this exercise for twenty days, ten minutes per day, then you will know how to practice whenever a strong emotion comes up. After ten or twenty minutes, the emotion will go away, and you will be saved from the storm. – Thich Nhat Hanh

Sweet Words

Girl dreaming

I had a very unusual experience that happened to me last week. During my sleep, I heard a voice speak to me. The female voice said, “Thank you for your sweet words.” I did not have any dream-like images, just the verbal message. The message was from my hospice patient Jennifer. I found out the next morning, after waking up and checking my work email messages, that Jennifer died.

I remember the feelings of Jennifer’s message during my sleep. I felt warmth and friendship. I felt sincerity and comfort, like a big hug. Jennifer’s message touched my heart and confirmed my calling to work with hospice patients.

Jennifer died of breast cancer. A few days before her death, I spent time with her and her family. As a hospice massage therapist, I gently massaged Jennifer’s hands and feet. Her husband and two sisters joined me as everyone lightly touched Jennifer.  The family reminisced about Jennifer’s past. They were eager to show me pictures of Jennifer. I remember saying, “Jennifer is beautiful.” Also, I told her husband that he was doing a great job caring for his wife. I made sure my words were full of appreciation, encouragement, and love.

In my dream, I knew it was Jennifer’s voice that sent me the message. As I was preparing to leave after my visit with Jennifer, I held her hand, and I said, “God bless you.” And she said “God bless you” back to me. I remember the sound of her voice. She didn’t speak a word during the whole time that I was there, so I was surprised to hear her voice so clearly.

Remember words have power. Words carry vibration and energy.  Ask yourself, “Are my words beneficial to the listener? Do my written words benefit the reader?” Speak and write from your heart.Buddha

The message from Jennifer is a gift. She expressed gratitude, and I must have touched her soul; literally. Joy fills my heart, and I am thankful for the gift of her presence.

Namaste, world.