Cindy Filipenko helps us stock the wellness bookshelf, and kicks off our #WellnessReads2015 quest for the “books that make us better.” Here is her book shout-out.
Peace Is Every Step: An accessible guide to mindful living
Once in a while, the perfect book falls into your lap at the perfect time. That was the case with Peace is Every Step by Vietnamese Zen Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh. Published in 1991, this book, subtitled “The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life,” Peace is Every Step illustrates the beauty of being truly present in one’s life.
I came upon the book on a day I was feeling anything but peaceful. It was May 2007; my lovely spouse, Mo Douglas, was dividing her time between our home in Pemberton and a condo in Yaletown to facilitate her brutal Olympic organizing committee schedule. The kids, then 7 and 15, and I had gone to spend the weekend downtown to attend my sister-in-law’s wedding, allow Mo to trade in the car for a new one and enjoy a little family fun. However, two adults and two kids in a 400 square-foot bachelor quickly eroded the idea of family fun.
My lovely spouse disappeared to buy the car while I was left hostage with two increasingly crabby kids. Hoping to distract them, I took them to a used comic bookstore on Granville Street. This did little to quell their kvetching, so I left them to fight over the merits of Batman, Wonder Woman and a host of far geekier superheroes I had no knowledge of and went downstairs to look at books. As I scanned the dusty shelves of dusty books, Peace is Every Step seemed to practically jump off the shelf, its title a promise of a mellower existence.
Over the years, I have gone back to the slim (134 pages) volume when feeling out of sorts or just in need of a little inspiration.
Here’s a small grounding exercise that I think typifies the spirit of Thich Nhat Hanh’s work. Sitting quietly, breathing slowly and deliberately, he asks us to repeat the following simple poem:
“Breathing in, I calm my body,
Breathing out, I smile.
Dwelling in the present moment,
I know this is a wonderful moment. “
And what could facilitate wellness more than seeing our lives as a series of perfect moments in which we are fully engaged?
Read a book you’d like to share? We’re hoping to run a book shout-out every week, to spread the inspiration around! Email us your recommendation at TheWellnessAlmanac@gmail.com. Check out the Bookshelf for details.