Today’s Question by the reader : Jeff

Please share with us your daily life such as your writing style, your current thing of interest, and how do you spend your day.

I travel constantly so days are never the same. Nevertheless I do have some “rituals”: when I wake up I like having my breakfast and then going out for a walk. Walking for me is vital and the one things that I can’t live without.

I agree with the teachings of the Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh, who said that: “when you walk, you are massaging and honouring the earth. In the same way, the earth is trying to help you to balance your organism and mind. Understand this relationship and try to respect it – may your steps have the firmness of a lion, the elegance of a tiger and the dignity of an emperor.”

Normally in the afternoons I spend hours navigating the web: I consult my blog, my myspace,my facebook fan page I read newspapers from the world, I write my stories. I also quite often give interviews. At 6 pm on the dot, I pray since for me this is the magical hour of the day. After that, I like having diner with my wife & friends. Before going to bed, I read.


  1. Sefer JAN says:

    What a wonderful life :-)

  2. K Nguyen says:

    Hi Paulo,
    Why don’t you go visiting Vietnam someday, as you know Thich Nhat Hanh is Vietnamese (we all respect him) and may you find something interesting in our country. I hope you will come to our country.
    From the deepest of my heart.

  3. orly says:

    i love the way u describe the walking and the connection with earth,,,, its so tru- when i walk and smell the grass and trees and flowers and see the sky and air comes into my body i can feel the tru connection to our wonderful universe,,, and its a kind of meditation,,, and i some times slow down my walking – so i will be able to absorb all of this,, and i can feel this paradise,,, rite here were we all live every day!!!!
    with lots of love…
    and btw,,, whats for dinner?

  4. Alexandra says:

    With the walking and reading,we are like twins.I cant sleep if I not walk during the day.I dont have car,but at times I feel is good,because my neighbous that use only car for moving,are very fatt and they take a quarter of hour to cross the street…I like using car to go in nature,to reach mountains or at time when shopping.Reading is a vital thing for me ,as well as movement.Is a food for spirit,like visiting museums or stuff like this.

  5. Irina Black says:

    Time-table.Life as a “walking meditation”:from one place to another,changing trains,planes,cars for reaching the goal,which seems to be,when reached-just the part of something-is an interesting “businnes” for me.”Be carefull,what do you wish for”,-one of the best advices,I’ve been given in life.By planing,doing “reminders” for future makes me “shortsighted” and cuts off the chances, the Providence could have foreseen for me,if I would have allow to do so.I am there,where I have to be now.And tomorrow’s “puzzle” I will leave for tomorrow.

  6. Diego says:

    Nice ;D

  7. Cindy says:

    Dear Savita, dear Thelma,
    Thanks so much for the feed back! I totally agree with Savita wrote, (and so beauiful written once again!) I also don’t see the point AT ALL why I have to become holy before I can be part of something that attracts me. And I ended up doing the Thich Nhat Hanh style my way: I read 2 of his books while sitting on the most beautiful beach in Thailand, drinking coctails and smoking sigarettes. And I learned such a lot!
    And after that I went to a yoga centre in Koh Phangan for 2 weeks, still smoking. And still drinking coctails because geeee I’m in Thailand, at the most beautiful beach in the sun having a holiday, why not. And I still learned yoga and meditation. And it bettered me as a person, but am still not a holy angel.
    I did notice that there were people inhabiting this yoga centre as well that looked at me like I did not belong there with my life style. Me missing the morning yoga class because I went to a black moon party the entire night, waking up at 12 with my arms and legs painted with fluor flowers, smoking a sigarette on the veranda with my hair standing up… and the yoga folks walk by and some of them looked at me like I must come from Mars! And others, like one of the teachers, walked by and looked at me and could not stop laughing!
    I think in the end it’s all about finding your own way… and for me at this moment that is definitly not by getting up at 4, cancelling my smoking addiction, although I could do without the alcohol.
    There were also many people in the yoga centre doing Detox threatments, which is also not my way at the moment. When I came home I emailed a friend of mine and told him about that, and than I said I just cleaned out my clothing closet and threw out 3 garbage bags full of clothes. And he said: That is as good of a Detox for you, as it is for the one’s that do it through the yoga centre. So true.

    Thelma: Plum village is in France somewhere, am sure if you google it you’ll find it. They do retreats including meditations and some garden work, and you get a room and lectures. I think if you’re up for it you should really do it! Thich Nhat Hanh is such a legend, it is really worth it reading some of his work. I’ve read The Heart of the Buddha’s teacher, and another one… but am sure they are all good. He’s 82 I think already and from Vietnam, and he’s on Myspace as well!
    I also wondered about that asphalt walking this morning when I walked my doggy in the park, it did not feel like I was massaging the earth walking on concrete :-) Maybe it works better in a forest…


  8. THELMA says:

    Breakfast is for me the …connection with the material World after our …long dream flights!! Back to reality.

    Walking is good, I admit it, but I have read that walking should be on ..Earth and not on the ugly asphalt streets of the town, breathing the ..fumes of the cars!! I am sure that you enjoy your morning walks near your country house, the mill with the brook, the trees, the birds, the flowers and the ..bees.

    I liked the way you put it: You spend ‘hours’ navigating the web etc. I am also obsessed for a year now ‘anchored’ in my chair and lap-top. I am ‘fatally attracted’ to the ..virtual reality and sometimes I wonder .. where is life?? ;]
    p.s. Dear Cindy, I think I am fit for the Plum Village!! No alchohol, no smoking and since I get up at 6 in the morning, I can manage for …4! Are there any other … nos?? In my age .. everything is possible! T.

  9. Sefer JAN says:

    What a wonderful life :-)

  10. MIT says:

    Good Balance….

  11. Savita Vega says:

    Dear Cindy,
    Your comment reminded me of a conversation I had just yesterday with a friend. We were talking about how sometimes the concept of “sin” is actually a hinderance to a person’s growth and self-betterment: how, sometimes, we are so aware of what we perceive as our own “faults” or “failings” or “sins” that we are actually hesitant to do good things for ourselves. I think this really is a shame – we should give ourselves a break and not judge ourselves so harshly. For example, maybe a person smokes and they think: “Well, I won’t bother going out for a walk or going to the gym until I quit, because what’s the point in exercising if I still smoke?” Or, perhaps another person has a drink now and then, or maybe they even drink too much and down deep they know it, so they think: “I shouldn’t dare go to church (or to the temple, or whatever house of worship they would like to attend) until I quit drinking, because drinking is a “sin.” Thus, our own sense of unworthiness sometimes can keep up from actually bettering ourselves. Rather, I think that person should go out for walks, or go to the gym anyway, even before they quit smoking, even if they do not yet have any desire to quit. Similarly, that person who drinks should pick themselves up and go to that holy place if they feel a desire or a calling to be there, even if they have no intention of stopping or slowing down in their drinking. In my years of practicing yoga I have heard many people, obviously intimidated by the “perfection” they assume that yoga requires of a person, make the excuse that: “I can’t start yoga yet – not until I lose some weight.” Or, “I can’t practice yoga – I like to party too much.” Or, “I can’t do that – yoga isn’t for people like me, who drink…who smoke…(who commit whatever “sin” or exhibit whatever “flaw” or “fault.”) Yoga is for people who are ready to be perfect – this seems to be the idea, as though one day a person is just going to wake up and be “prefect” (whatever that is), and then they’ll be ready to practice yoga.

    To this I can only say (and I’m only repeating words that were said to me): BEGIN WHERE YOU ARE. Just begin – don’t expect too much perfection, don’t push or force yourself to be where you are not – just begin, and let things fall into place as you go. If you do have faults or flaws or bad habits that do in fact need to change because they are actually detrimental to your well-being in some way, those will fall away by themselves, in time, when you begin to take the steps to do good things for yourself.

    So, I agree with your statement completely, Cindy. I couldn’t “handle it” either. Although I do get up at 5:00, and might manage 4:00 somehow, at this point in my life I do also drink and smoke and I have no intention at the moment of quitting either activity. So maybe this Plum Village would not be a place for me either. But it sounds like this Plum Village is also a place of perfection. Maybe there is somewhere else to begin, like, for example, on the inside cover of Thich Nhat Hanh’s books. That is a place of self-betterment, and we certainly don’t have to be “perfect” to enter there. We can sit with our glass of wine and our cigarette in hand and just read away.

    We are taught that we need to be tough on ourselves, that we need to force ourselves – “no gain without pain”: isn’t that the popular saying – but sometimes maybe we just need to be a little more gentle with ourselves, a little more compassionate and forgiving, believing that if we do take the initiative to better ourselves in any way, that step will produce positive results that will not merely be negated by our “faults” or our “sins.”

  12. Cindy says:

    Oh don’t you love Thich Nhat Hanh!! This man is truly a legend, I wanted to go to his Plum Village, but than I read it involved getting up at 4 – no alchohol – no smoking… a bit more than I can handle ;-)