I am still floating on a cloud of gratitude, amazement, and inner smiles. At the temple where Thich Nhat Hanh is staying, his root temple, I ran into Sister Chan Khong. She was surrounded by a few young lay women getting their pictures taken with her. I recognized her instantly as I had just finished reading her book about her life as an activist for children, families, and peace for Vietnam. She and Thich Nhat Hanh (along with many others) worked tirelessly for peace and freedom of religion. My eyes met hers for a moment, and they were so kind and knowing, it was like being greeted by an old friend. A few moments later our driver asked if I could have my picture taken with her. She asked me “you know who I am?” I said “yes! I just finished reading your book!” “Learning True Love?” she said. Yes…I thanked her for her profound work–for me, she is the total rock star of engaged Buddhism. Sister’s face is peaceful, sweet, and oh so beautiful! I am still in awe that this moment in time was gifted to me. This was such a chance encounter, I had no idea she was even in Vietnam.

Afterwards, spent some time offering incense at the pagoda, walking the grounds, and then chatting with a monk in the gift shop who had spent a month at the Deer Park monastery in Escondido. H and I meditated for a bit in a little pagoda by a pond, enjoying moments of flowing light on trees reflected off the water. Breathing in I am calm and peaceful, breathing out I smile. Breathing in I am so grateful for sharing a moment with an amazing human spirit, breathing out I know we share and connect through the same source, the same ocean of light. I bow to the light in you that is the same as the light in me.

Grateful for magic, and the privilege of this travel pilgrimage. Thank you for journeying with me!


Last night amidst our sightseeing we happened upon a small temple on a busy street that was clearly under renovation, but inside it was full of people (I just noticed women in light blue robes) doing prostrations. I wondered if the practice was earth-touchings from the Beginning Anew practice of the Thich Nhat Hanh communities. I learned of this and so much more from Sister Chan Khong’s book Learning True Love. I don’t know if I felt the book was so good because I’m immersed in Vietnam, but I gobbled it up like the luscious fresh fruit we get so much of here, so thirst quenching! She was a huge part of Thich Nhat Hahn’s evolution of engaged Buddhism. Very impressive woman!

Here is a link to beautiful readings done before prostrations to honor Mother Earth. The teaching is to choose one to read and then practice. My intention is to use these readings before Qigong practice, and/or as morning and evening prayers. The intention is to honor the Earth with love and being in the moment, in communion, with Her.

So, dragonflies. As we toured the Citadel in Hue the last few days, there have been waves of dragonflies overhead. And today, the cicadas were amazingly loud, almost like those crazy smoke alarms. Nature! Happy Equinox and full moon!

Pilgrimage to Asia 1

Day 1, SFO. “We should all be grateful for the beauty of this world, but more, we should take the trouble to get off the bus of life and put the soles of our feet to the soul of the world and see those sacred sites with our own eyes.” We are leaving the beauty of our home, the proximity of family and friends, and are heading out to put our feet on the soul of a whole different world on our same planet. My intention is to honor the land, the food, the people, the spirit of place and to sink in and connect with the energy field of healing for that which and those whom still suffer from wars, violence, disrespect, and disenfranchisement. Off to Vietnam!

Saigon/Ho Chi Minh City Day 6: “Breathing in I know I am breathing in. When you do this, the energy of mindfulness embraces your in-breath, just like the sunlight touching the leaves and branches of a tree.” Thich Nhat Hanh. I love this imagery!

Traveling as pilgrimage is not as easy squeezy as I had hoped. One can get swept away in plans, hubbub, excitement and exhaustion. Qigong movements and meditations are always a part of my day, though sometimes abbreviated; thankfully that’s a constant. Beyond that, my intention was to read from TNH you are here each day and to revisit my pilgrim intentions upon arising. But it wasn’t until this morning that I remembered! Goal: Fewer photos, more sinking into moments. Staying with a moment a second or two longer. Small steps, but leading to more living as ceremony. Whilst paying homage to Thich Quang Duc, the Buddhist monk who self-immolated in the 60’s to protest brutal treatment of Buddhists by Diem regime, I set my phone aside for a moment and dropped in to the chi field, connected with my heart, and the moment became a prayer rather than a sight to see. Remembering to drop in more often as we travel will be an overarching intention. Breathing in I know I am breathing in.