One. Day. Mindful.



This coming Sunday, April 30, 2017, our service at First Church will focus on the work of the Buddhist teacher — Thich Nhat Hanh. I highly recommend his new book to you — At Home in the World.

But for today, one day, a Wednesday, I tried to move into a place of greater mindfulness by following the insights of Thich Nhat Hanh . . . And so . . . in the spirit of transparency . . . I offer my day to you . . .

  • I woke early. A dream. Water rushing down the alley next to my boyhood home in Indiana. So much water. I’m in the front yard watching it flow into Main Street. I think to myself — “I wish I could capture that water. I could use the water for a garden.”
  • I go downstairs with the dogs at 5 am. They go outside and do their business. They run back into the kitchen because they are hungry. I wonder if they enjoy food. I think of the difference between eating and dining. I love to dine. I don’t do much of it these days, but I love it when it happens.
  • I fix a cup of coffee. It is delicious. Dark. French roast. I quickly scan the New York Times. One of my favorite restaurants, Union Square Cafe, is reviewed and receives three stars. I want to go there. I miss New York City.
  • I drive to work with the dogs in the car. I begin writing a sermon in my office. I talk to a friend on the phone. The dogs settle in by my desk. I am reading Thich Nhat Hanh. I love his writing. I have never met him, but I wish I could. He must be old now. I think of my mentor Brother David Steindl-Rast.
  • I had lunch yesterday at USC with Jim Burklo. He gave me his book on mindfulness. It looks great. My mind hops around like a rabbit as I try to write a sermon. But I come back to myself.
  • My assistant comes in and interrupts me. Not once but several times. She has a job to do. I understand that. She’s good. I step back and try to embrace her interruptions. I try not to see them as interruptions. That’s an ego place for me. Interruptions. I try to welcome them.
  • I’ve been writing a sermon for a couple of hours now. But emails keep coming. And dings. And text messages. They’re driving me a little crazy. Again, I try to step back. Is there a gift in that disagreeable email? Is there a gift in that unwanted advice I just received as a text? I wonder: How do so many people have my cell phone number?
  • Mindfulness is inviting me to a different place today. Here it is. A text. An email. A phone call. It’s not good or bad. It just is. It is life. I open myself to be present with it. Not fighting it but welcoming it.
  • The sermon is moving along. I feel energy writing it today. That’s usually a good sign. Need to wrap now. Appointments are coming in.
  • I head home late in the afternoon and go for a walk. I don’t want to take the dogs. I am tired of the dogs. But they give me a look. That looks the says, “Really, you’re going on a walk without us?” I think of companionship. They count on me. I count on them too. I take them with me. I don’t feel like exercising, so I try to embrace the joy of walking. Gratitude for each step. It feels pretty good.
  • I come back home and fix a gin and tonic. The Cubs are playing. They are losing but that’s okay. I let myself enjoy the game. The beauty, the slowness, of baseball. I eat dinner. I didn’t fix it. Carry-in from Joan’s on Third. It’s delicious.
  • I think of the tax cuts being proposed by President Trump. I’m worried that all the Senate met privately with the President about North Korea. Could we be in a war by the weekend? It would not surprise me.
  • The sun is setting. It’s been a good day. Tomorrow is busy. So is Friday. Anthony Rizzo just hit a homer and the Cubs are only behind by one run now. Hope springs eternal. I want to live each day more simply. Aware / Mindful / Conscious / Grateful / Alive.

Take a Breath. Consider trying one day mindful. The spiritual life is not about escaping the world; it is about embracing it more fully.




  1. I have read your piece on mindfulness three times and the responses by Maggie and Capt. When I have been troubled by actions of others or myself, a point of healing has sometimes begun when I look what transpired as honestly as I can. That in itself can be a challenge. And I have concluded that when people do unkind and mean things, they are usually not because of me or others, but because of their own needs. The same goes for me. It is easy not see the needs of others, but easier to be self centered. This is why Jesus died for us on the cross, so we may ask for and receive forgiveness. I have been trying to accept this for many years. It has helped.

  2. Hi Scott, I could not sleep past six. We just discovered that my moms care giver stole $29,000 from her in the form of forged checks. I am trying, we are all trying to understand why a young college student would do such a thing. I will try to set this aside as I fly my passengers to Hawaii today. We are grateful for insurance coverage and social workers and the police. They are helping Mom pick up the pieces.
    (I am Rachel Garcia’s Dad. She used to work for you) I am glad to have read your words this early morning. They gave me a break from sadness.

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