Breathe, It’ll Be OK!

How can I know anything about the past or the future, when the light of the Beloved shines only Now. ~Jalal-al-Din Rumi

we're here friends, welcome! ~d nelson

we’re here friends, welcome! ~d nelson

While in the sanctuary of retreat
it may be easier to relax,
to breathe, it’ll be OK.
to the mountain top,
we’re on on this
quickly spinning ball, together, right?
Let us harmoniously hold on, dear one.

oak grove sitting meditation

oak grove sitting meditation

Sitting quietly on the ground
supported by ancient oak’s roots
& ground below our fragile bodies.
Fewer words now needed
when colorful images
are imprinted on open minds.
Notice how when we quiet & still
certainty seems even more fleeting?
nothing is under control!

dharma rain in ocean of peace hall

dharma rain in ocean of peace hall

Listening to words of wisdom
by senior teachers who have
& still walk the walk
as well as talk the talk
gently directs consciousness
towards tender kindness,
compassion, healing, peace & freedom.

Sr. Chan Khong accepts Peace award for Thay

Sr. Chan Khong accepts Peace award for Thay (Thich Nhat Hanh)

How wonderful to put the cell phone & media to sleep
& be awakened joyfully by the presence of friends
& ancestors – human, animal, plant & mineral
which smile to this attention.
Can we glimpse how
we are all leaves on one tree?

There’s a retreat that happens at Deer Park
as well as other sacred spiritual centers.
There’s also a retreat which continues on
inside our hearts & minds
as long as our peaceful breath & mindful living practice
is humbly nurtured in our home & work environments.

Upon happily returning home
finding a shed broken into
and bicycles stolen, I breathe.
May they be ridden in peace.
Now I’ll turn on some soothing Kronos Quartet
to help support my mantra,
breathe, it’ll be OK.
Each moment of this life
is precious.

“Enlightenment is always there. Small enlightenment will bring great enlightenment. If you breathe in and are aware that you are alive—that you can touch the miracle of being alive—then that is a kind of enlightenment.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh


62 thoughts on “Breathe, It’ll Be OK!

  1. niasunset

    I would have been very angry if my bike was stolen… But, this is clear, there is so much to learn from you dear Smile. You are so nice and the thought behind all these happenings are so nice too. This is deer park monastry, isn’t it? I wished to join you too… Blessing and Happiness, Thank you, love, nia

    1. smilecalm Post author

      it would have been wonderful to see you in Deer Park, nia! many new and old friends came together and harmoniously supported each other’s mindfulness. perhaps one day we’ll cross paths in plum village, France 🙂

  2. Walking My Path: Mindful Wanderings in Nature

    Such a beautiful post. Thank you, Smile. Sorry about your bikes.

    1. smilecalm Post author

      it was a very peaceful environment, ShethP!
      during the moments i didn’t feel peaceful
      i found doors still needed to go through
      for understanding & peace 🙂

      1. ShethP

        And you amaze me every time with your words of wisdom. I wish I could find those doors earlier, but it’s always too late. :-/

      2. ShethP

        I hate how true that is. But, then again, that’s life offering new opportunities every step of the way. 🙂 Thanks! I’ll keep my eyes open, now.

  3. Hariod Brawn

    It certainly looks to have been a wonderful, peaceful and deeply engaging retreat David; and I do love the Oak Grove – that is my idea of a perfect garden. Was this in France?

    1. smilecalm Post author

      thank you for your kind gardening expression, Hariod!
      Deer Park is in California, USA. Plum Village, in France.
      Both offer refuge to learn & practice mindfulness. Plum Village gives a more international impression.

  4. Michael

    I loved your line about the retreat that extends continuously through our hearts and minds, wherever we are… This is such a necessary understanding I think. How we’re always standing in a moment rife with opportunities for mindfulness… It is interesting how incidents such as the bike theft can seem to sometimes arrive around the same time as moments of tremendous opening and vulnerability of our hearts. I think anger is the natural response, and breathing with the anger, until it eventually flowers into compassion (for the bikes of course) is the enlightened one…


  5. Healing Grief

    You are right David, we have no control, but no matter what faces us in life, we can always breathe in deeply and connect to this precious moment. “We are all leaves on one tree” beautiful post and words of wisdom. Thankyou.

  6. Cate

    You are so much bigger than I would be about the bikes, so much wiser–to not let the thieves steal your peace of mind, as well. Blessings to you, friend. Oh, and that sunset photo is indeed glorious!

  7. sunherisufi

    yes….retreating into that mind, that is what one needs to strive for 🙂 Happy that you breathe, David! You have inspired me to take out my bicycle too.It is lying somewhere in the attic store. I shall clean it & repair it & ride it soon as there is a city forest near my house 🙂 Did you know another David, that is David Gilmour of Pink Floyd, played a very favorite number of mine ( of their band) called ‘Breathe ” ? 🙂

    1. smilecalm Post author

      Thank you for your kind words & observation, Vicki!
      Yes, it’s quite special to walk up the mountain in the dark
      and sit, awaiting dawn with hundreds of friends.
      Gratitude for still being able to get around
      & the possibility of a new, previously owned bike 🙂

  8. greenlakeblue

    It must have been magical and pure. Great photos. And I love the “… Relax, nothing is under control!”. 🙂

  9. Jet Eliot

    I always find peace in your posts, my friend. Thank you for sharing the spirit, peace, and compassion of your retreat. It is unfortunate that your return was darkened by theft, but wonderful that you had so much good will for that moment.

  10. Ka

    Hello David,
    Thank you for this most wonderful post! It reminded me to check the schedule for Deer Park!
    I’ve visited only once before, since moving to San Diego; but it had also closed for a brief time. My connection is through our Sangha in Bethlehem, Pa.
    After moving here, I couldn’t believe how accessible I thought that Deer Park would be! So glad that Thay is doing better. Thank you. The line here that reminds me of everything: “Relax, nothing is under control!” A lovely chuckle and relief.

    1. smilecalm Post author

      how wonderful to live near to the monastery, Ka! I know it was closed with the US tour was happening. with the upcoming winter retreat there should be continual opportunities to visit with the peaceful community. i’m in the process of presenting the portraits i captured at the retreat in a sequel video to “hundreds of smiles”. Perhaps “hundreds more smiles will be finished within the week. may you be well, david

  11. reocochran

    Your adventure and retreat was so uplifting and inspirational. Such beauty in your words and photos.
    Iam saddened by the bicycles being stolen but like your ideas of breathing and hoping those who took them will find peace while riding them. Seems very understanding and zen-like of you. 🙂 I wrote about a labyrinth where I could imagine sitting or walking into the center and back. Also, I like yo mention posts I have written which seem like they have similar thoughts. I had two trees touching like arms reaching out, with a poem called, “Unity.”


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