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Day 11 Journey into Wholeheartedness

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This morning I imagined myself at this year’s Thich Nhat Hanh retreat.  I saw myself up on the platform during the Q&A session.  I wondered what I would ask him, and I realized that I didn’t really have many questions.  I find joy, fulfillment, connection in my relationships, I often experience inner peace, I am fit and healthy, my business is taking off.  I like my practice of bringing awareness to my in- and out breath, of being fully present in the here and now.  I don’t need more learning, I want more practice.

And then it struck me.  I DO have a question.  A big one.  A very vulnerable one.  A very meaningful one.  One that I hardly dare to ask.  To get a hug.  Or to hold his hand.  Or to sit next to him, enjoying the silence.  I trembled all over.  I would NEVER have the courage to ask him THAT.  Let alone in front of 700 other retreatants.  I would never have the guts to walk up to him, and ask “Dear Thay, can I please get a hug?”

And I realized: Elly, that is wholeheartedness.  That is the path you chose.  To ask for what I truly, truly want, no matter what my scary feelings and judgmental thoughts are.  To fully want without attachment.  And I feel tender when I imagine Thich Nhat Hanh’s gentle embrace.

Author: Elly van Laar

I am a coach. I specialize in helping professionals schedule time for relationships and self-care. I have a Master's degree in Political Science, Leiden University, the Netherlands. I love meditation, walking, gardening, biking, and hanging out with family and friends.

6 thoughts on “Day 11 Journey into Wholeheartedness

  1. wat een prachtige ontroerende vraag! en het zou a) geweldig zijn als je het zou DURVEN vragen en b) onvergetelijk als je een hug van hem zou krijgen! al die 700 aanwezigen zouden moeten huilen en zouden jaloers zijn… en thig nath han zou je vraag heeel goed begrijpen

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    • Zooo jammer dat ik in 2013 niet naar een retraite ben gegaan. Dit zou nog steeds mijn enige vraag voor hem zijn. Hem gewoon even vasthouden. Zijn energie door mij voelen stromen. Voelen dat er mensen zijn die zo vol in het leven staan, zo bewust aanwezig zijn. In dat opzicht is hij echt een Jezus voor mij.

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  2. I image you being fearless. Last summer I produced “Plum Village Hamlets celebrating 30 years of meditation, happiness, harmony” which is on youtube. However I also asked a question and was not satisfied with the answer because I did not ask the question which was most true for me. Being with Thay in that moment was very sweet, as I recall it was in other moments.

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    • Thanks for leaving a comment. What was the question that was most true for you? And how joyful you must have felt being in Thay’s presence. I can so imagine how sweet that was.

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      • hello elly,
        last retreat at deer park i asked Thay about not behaving as a victim, even when feeling victimized. it was nice to have a Thay moment again. hope you’re enjoying your calm breath 🙂

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      • Oh, how I can imagine that spending time with Thay is such an inspiring and enriching moment. I hold him in my heart as a firm example of compassion and mindfulness. And yes, I am still enjoying my calm breath. Hope you do too!

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