Hundreds More Smiles

One standing a little left
the other just a little to the right,
Teacher & Student both near
yet, somehow far apart.

Hundreds of smiles,
along with the fate of humanity
await this reconciliation.

Oh, to embody wisdom teachings
borne from ancient ancestor’s desires to transcend
life’s minor pains & major devastations, varying as
scrapes, aching shoulders, misunderstandings; even anger & terrorism,
to dwell contentedly among fellow flowers in this vibrant garden.
Peaceful, well-being can clearly be
seen at bottom of pool’s shallow end.
We can play there with our water fins & waders
as we build up endurance for the deeper, darker end,
– a worthy, attainable aspiration.

Sitting Between Steps, Thich Nhat Hanh & students ~d nelson, flickr. Taken during a walking meditation rest at Prajna Temple (Bhat Nah), March 2007.

While healing one or more lifetimes of misunderstandings & hurt
in a short while is too much to ask for,
it is most possible to find near pain-free, happy relief
by stopping in this moment, yes, this one,
fully aware of breathing going on,
then rejoicing for that gentle pause
with a gratuitous, big smile!
At that moment
the teacher within
& the wise teachers, without
come together, to also
rejoice, smiling.

You’re warmly invited, my friend
to witness Hundreds More Smiles
of those who recently attended
& benefited from a mindfulness retreat
entitled, “Breathe, It’ll Be OK.” held at Deer Park, California.
Genuine expressions of real happiness & refuge
attained with supportive friends
who offered their true presence.
May it water your own smile’s seed of happiness
& bring a few moments of inner peace!

Gratitude to my friend Elizabeth who plays her piano so beautifully
& the Heart & Soul chorus for offering backing vocals
on my song, “Thank You, Dear Teacher.”

Conscious, mindful  breaths, along with peaceful steps & genuine smiles can clearly bring us ease and reduce anxieties & fear. These actions of peace in ourselves, and peace in the world are also for children far into the future.

“We say we want to strike against terror, we want to destroy terrorism, but do we even know where to find it? Can we locate it with a radar? Can the army find terrorism using its night goggles and heat sensors?

Misunderstanding, fear, anger, and hatred are the roots of terrorism. They cannot be located by the military. Bombs and missiles cannot reach them, let alone destroy them, for terrorism lies in the hearts of human beings. To uproot terror, we need to begin by looking at our own hearts. We don’t need to destroy each other, either physically or psychologically. Only by calming our minds and looking deeply inside ourselves will we develop the insight to identify the roots of terrorism. With compassion and communication, terrorism can be uprooted and transformed into love.” – Thich Nhat Hanh

smiles-124 ~d nelson

smiles-124 ~d nelson


One Word Whispered by Blue Bird

snack time disruption ~d nelson

snack time disruption ~d nelson

Sitting upon her branch
mindfully aware of what
is inside & outside of her
when I happened by.

One word I’ll whisper
that you may experience joy.
Hearing that my ears
perked up
as this was the
bluebird of happiness.



Look at the fruit
here in this tree
unlike the other
tasty treats in the garden.

So I picked a small bag full,
breathing slow & deep,
leaving her to savor unpicked
tree-ripened persimmons.



I ate them like apples
and drank them as smoothies
and for my friends
a special sweet & savory
steel-cut oats with
sautéed persimmons & onions.

I last saw them skipping
up that oak-adorned hill
looking for their own
bird with a secret
to share.

As you practice mindfulness of breathing, your breath will become peaceful and gentle, and your mind and body will also become peaceful and gentle. This is not a difficult exercise. In just a few minutes you can realize the fruit of meditation. ~ Thich Nhat Hanh

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

Why Be Mad when it’s Fall?!

Summer ends, and Autumn comes, and he who would have it otherwise would have high tide always and a full moon every night; and thus he would never know the rhythms that are at the heart of life. ~Hal Borland

soaring above fall ~d nelson

soaring above fall ~d nelson

Upon warm colors I glance
bringing me joy at the sight
undeterred by
the recognition
that there is little time left
in this temporal season.

today's oily route home ~d nelson

today’s oily route home ~d nelson

Disrupting my otherwise perfect
subjective amble across town
an oily, smelly obstructed road.
Momentarily, feelings of road
rage sprouts-up inside.
How shall I put an end to this anger?

Again glancing down at the beauty
while soaring above,
pleasant feeling arises.
That is until a passing driver
quickly turns, veering right
towards me innocently
peddling my bike in the bike lane.
Heart beating fast, despite efforts
at calm breaths.
How shall I put an end to this anger?

Being hit by an arrow causes much pain.
But I’m reminded that being hit by the second arrow
is not twice, but at least 10 times more painful.
The harsh words given me when young
have continued to cause wounding
in body, heart, mind & spirit
for many years.
Suffering’s blow now sufficient & embraced
for true compassion’s cultivation.

Beautiful leaves awaken my realization
that the time to cool the flames
of anger, compassionately
is now, or never.
My calm contentment & perhaps your’s too
can use supportive encouragement,
from time to time.
Reminders of times passing,
leaves falling & times coming.
Nature’s reoccurring cycle
dynamically in motion.

fall oak acorn

fall oak acorn

A delightful wisdom teaching
which has provided candlelight to myself & others
from the darkness of fear & anger
is being offered here for you.
Mindful, meditation friends & I
read this ancient healing & restorative teaching,
5 compassionate ways to end anger, below.
(I read the second bit)
We hope you enjoy & benefit from it,
to become awareness, itself,
to courageously soar as the bird in the top image.
May we look for the message of this season
with wisdom & eyes of compassion.

This blog’s next post will be an account of an upcoming, sweet mindfulness retreat!

“From time to time, to remind ourselves to relax and be peaceful, we may wish to set aside some time for a retreat, a day of mindfulness, when we can walk slowly, smile, drink tea with a friend, enjoy being together as if we are the happiest people on Earth.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh

Pets Practicing Perseverance

Animals are reliable; many full of love, true in their affections, predictable in their actions,
grateful, and loyal. Difficult standards for people to live up to. ~Alfred A. Montapert

Y R U walking Me here, meowww? ~d nelson

Y R U walking Me here, meowww? ~d nelson

For a long, long time
you have exemplified
beautifully peaceful co-existence.
Taking only what is needed
for subsistence
not rooting or chewing up
much more than necessary.

continue paddling slowly! ~d nelson

continue paddling slowly! ~d nelson

Archeology suggests that dogs as pets may date back to at least 12,000 years ago ~Wikipedia

Dear companions on this earthly journey
we’re not too old
to learn new tricks.
Please continue having patience
and boundless compassion
as you train us
to be content
staring out this window,
content to sit,
stay & let go;
even with our wandering thoughts
& conflicted heart.
Persevere in training us
to offer
unconditional love,
to wag more & bark less
during our brief
but wondrous
time here
with you
& all
our relations.

“Harm no person, animal, plant or mineral.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh, Vietnamese Zen Master

Follow the Cones

Do such sweet words poetically expressed
upon touching heart’s inner sanctuary
inspire loving thoughts, words & deeds,
or not?

cone leaders 2 ~d nelson

cone leaders 2 ~d nelson

Sometimes I need bold, clearer instructions,
which act as safety cones along the road
backed by highway patrol officer’s enforcement.
Bright orange traffic cones
offering guidance for wise, safe passage.
Because who wants to get hurt?

I witnessed Thich Nhat Hanh
compassionately offering firm words of mindfulness,
Breathe, that’s an order!
And though not the same as “Smile, breathe and go slowly”,
still poetic to my heart,
while clearer to this retired
public health officer’s mind –
that stopping,
to the present moment,
aware of what is happening,
assessing what has happened,
& what may come to pass
is essential, necessary, of utmost importance
for a future to be possible
for all living things, including people.

cone leaders ~d nelson

cone leaders ~d nelson

Do travel carefully, dear friends
with your loved ones & neighbors
along life’s fragile path
taking heed of the cones
that are offering clear signs
of what is up ahead.
After viewing these orange cones
this post leaves you with tender poetry.

When and Why
When I bring you coloured toys, my child, I understand why there
is such a play of colours on clouds, on water, and why flowers are
painted in tints-when I give coloured toys to you, my child.
When I sing to make you dance, I truly know why there is music
in leaves, and why waves send their chorus of voices to the heart
of the listening earth-when I sing to make you dance.
When I bring sweet things to your greedy hands, I know why
there is honey in the cup of the flower, and why fruits are
secretly filled with sweet juice-when I bring sweet things to your greedy hands.
When I kiss your face to make you smile, my darling, I surely
understand what pleasure streams from the sky in morning light, and
what delight the summer breeze brings to my body-when I kiss you
to make you smile. ~Rabindranath Tagore

Passing on the Right

“Adopt the pace of nature; her secret is patience.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
contemplative forest spot ~d nelson

contemplative forest spot ~d nelson

Slow down
don’t move so fast, dear one.
Saying she is in a hurry,
smiles while passing
on the left.

Enjoying this sacred moment
dear one, I asked?
He said nothing,
grinning as he passed
on the right.

slow for workers

slow for workers

Imagine the patience
of a snail slowly wagging its tail.
Or patience of the sailor
without wind upon his sails.

But then
there’s the patience of a redwood forest
which is again healthy upon being burnt.
Biodiversity unfolding before
our open & closed eyes; look
wood-living bees and wasps pollinating
new shrubs and wildflowers that blossomed after the fire.
Fallen logs colonized with life forms from fungi to lichens
providing home & cover for small rodents, weasel, lynx other small mammals.

burnt healthy 2~d nelson

burnt healthy 2~d nelson

Scars upon nature healing
sometimes in 1 or 2
Sometimes in 3 or 4
Sometimes in 5 or 6
millennia, or longer.

But we, dear one’s
are nature, too.
And we can
experience healing
within one or two
mindful breaths
if we slow down
long enough
to pay attention.
Everyone knows
when our smile
of well-being

“Fear keeps us focused on the past or worried about the future. If we can acknowledge our fear, we can realize that right now we are okay.
Right now, today, we are still alive, and our bodies are working marvelously. Our eyes can still see the beautiful sky. Our ears can still hear the voices of our loved ones.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh