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.

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