In the late ‘90s I read a book called Peace is Every Step by Thich Nhat Hanh. After I finished the book I decided I wanted to meet this world-renowned Zen master, who is often referred to as The Father of Mindfulness. I cancelled a surf trip to Costa Rica and instead hopped on a plane to France to a meditation retreat centre called Plum Village to study with him. As soon as I arrived I
knew I had met my teacher and there began my journey of studying with him on a regular basis over the next couple of decades.

Thich Nhat Hanh is referred to by his students as Thay, which means teacher in Vietenamese. Therefore, moving forward I will
refer to him as Thay.

Thay died on Jan. 22, 2022 leaving millions of his followers grieving the loss of one of the world’s greatest spiritual leaders of
our time. He was 95.

Now I want to share with you a handful of my favourite teachings of Thich Nhat Hann’s, hoping that they can have a postive impact in your life as well.


As soon as you wake up in the morning instead of laying there worrying about your day, Thay taught me to say a morning mantra and then to get up right away. You can write out this mantra on a sticky note and place it on your bedside table. As soon as you wake up, repeat it and then hop out of bed.

“Waking up this morning, I smile. Twenty-four brand new hours are before me. I vow to live fully in each moment and to look at all beings with eyes of compassion.” — Thich Nhat Hanh

The way we begin our day sets the tone for the rest of our day and the way we live our days is how we live our lives. How are you going to begin your day tomorrow?


Anytime throughout the day if you find you are having trouble focusing, are worrying or feeling anxious, it is important to remember the power of three deep mindful breaths to bring you back to the present moment.

Stop what you’re doing, close your eyes and breathe in deeply saying, “breathing in I am aware that I am breathing in” and with your out breath say, “breathing out I am aware I am breathing out.” Repeat this two more times. You will feel your mind come back to the present moment, your body will relax and you will be back in the here and now, ready to handle whatever task is in front of you.


One of my favourite teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh’s is that there are enough conditions of happiness in this moment. It’s a good reminder to keep training your mind to keep looking for what’s right versus what’s wrong. I encourage my coaching clients to keep a sticky note by their computer that says, “what’s not wrong?” I encourage you to do the same. That way if you are having a bad day you can look at your sticky note to remind you to pause and think about what’s good in your life versus what’s wrong. There is always something to be grateful for.


Thay taught me that there are formal and informal practices of mindfulness. The formal practice of mindfulness is a seated meditation practice and the informal practices of mindfulness is when we learn to bring mindful awareness into everything we are doing throughout the day.

If you’d like to have a calmer mind, be more focused and manage your stress and emotion better, then I highly encourage you to get into the habit of a daily meditation practice. It is the keystone to living a more mindful life.

The informal practice of mindfulness is about creating more awareness in whatever you are doing in the moment throughout the day. It could be brushing your teeth, eating your lunch or even washing the dishes. One of the best ways to become more present with any task you are doing is to consciously become aware of your senses. What do you see, hear, feel, taste, smell? As soon as you become aware of any of your senses you are back in the present moment.


To practise mindful walking, start by becoming aware of your feet touching the ground and walk slower and lighter than you usually would. Thich Nhat Hanh says, “Imagine that you’re kissing the ground with your feet.” Feel a sense of gratitude for Mother Earth and the beautiful world around you. Walk with an attitude of peace and joy versus one of stress and worry.

Focus on your breath along with your steps. As you breathe in the oxygen from the trees around you, feel the connection to them. Practising mindfulness helps us feel more connected to the world around us. Walk in silence while you listen to birds, the sound of the river, and the children laughing in the distance. Feel the warmth of the sun or slight breeze on your face. Notice the clouds passing by. When your mind wanders off into the future or the past, just let the thoughts go and bring your awareness back to the sensations of your next step and breathe. An essential part of any mindfulness practice is to find joy in it. Enjoy your walk.


Find a quiet and comfortable place to sit with your tea. Put away your phone, computer, or any other distractions. When you pick up your tea, you may like to take a deep breath to bring your mind back to your body and become completely present in the here and now. Let go of all your worries and anxieties and give yourself this gift of time to ‘just be’ and enjoy drinking your tea.

Feel the warmth and smoothness of the cup in your hands. Take your first sip as you feel the warmth of the tea in your mouth, then feel it move down your throat and into your stomach. Savour your tea as you sip it, drinking your tea with a feeling of presence and gratitude.


Every morning when I wake up, I see the calligraphy of Thich Nhat Hanh’s on my wall that says, “Don’t hurry, enjoy the present moment.” It’s a gentle reminder to slow down and savour the moments of my day. Remembering that life is precious, and that each day is a gift.

I hope that you feel inspired to take some of Thay’s mindful living tips and begin to integrate them into your daily life, so that you can enjoy the present moment more. As Thay would say, “A cloud never dies.” He continues to live on through all of his teachings and through everyone who chooses to live a more mindful life.

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