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The Most Powerful Lessons Thich Nhat Hanh Taught Us




Thich Nhat Hanh was one of the most influential spiritual leaders on the planet. Revered for promoting peace and bringing mindfulness to the west. Even Dr Martin Luther King, Jr. called him “an apostle of peace and nonviolence”.

It’s no wonder then that there are mourners the world over after the recent passing of Thich Nhat Hanh.  

Solace does come through the powerful lessons he leaves behind. 

Live in the here and now 

Living presently has become a buzzword of sorts in recent years. We all know we ought to live that way, but few of us truly understand mindfulness, let alone are able to cultivate it. 

Hanh’s gentle approach to mindfulness reminds us that peace is always available. 

As he said, “feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky. Conscious breathing is my anchor.”

By thinking of our feelings, and our thoughts as passing clouds, we see them differently. We no longer have to believe every thought, nor allow ourselves to fall into the trap of obsessive thinking. Instead, we gain power and perspective when we separate ourselves from our feelings and let them come and go. 

Let go of suffering: start living 

To really live mindfully, Thich Nhat Hanh said that we must let go of our suffering. Unfortunately, many of us would prefer to continue suffering than to step into the unknown. 

And Hanh knew a thing or two about suffering. After travelling from his home country Vietnam to the U.S. and Europe to oppose war, (something that led him to be nominated for Nobel Peace Prize) Hanh was exiled from Vietnam for 39 years. Instead of making him bitter, he remained peaceful and continued his work around the globe. 

“People have a hard time letting go of their suffering,” said Hanh, “Out of a fear of the unknown, they prefer suffering that is familiar.”

Our worries, anxieties, fears and regrets might feel familiar – and therefore safe – but to free ourselves and live in the present moment, we must let them go. 

It means being strong with ourselves. When negative thoughts arise, we must allow them to float away. And gently come back to the present moment. 

Enjoy every day 

In our current world of restrictions, case numbers, and variants, naturally, fears and anxieties arise. Enjoying every day might seem hard in time’s like these. Regardless, Hanh is adamant that we ought to enjoy not just every day, but every minute too. 

“I promise myself that I will enjoy every minute of the day that is given me to live,” he said. 

It’s worth remembering, our days are not guaranteed. Importantly, happiness is actually a choice we make each day. There is incredible power in knowing this. Just as we can let out thoughts pass by us, we can choose to enjoy every day regardless of our circumstances. 

Silence is powerful 

Our world is noisy. If we aren’t obsessively scrolling on our phones, we’re replying to emails, taking calls or streaming drama shows. Notifications come in from multiple sources every hour of every day. Switching off is something that gets increasingly difficult. Yet, silence may just be the key to improving our lives. 

Hanh believed so strongly in the power of silence he authored a book on it – one that had a lasting impact on my life.

“Silence is essential,” he said. “We need silence just as much as we need air, just as much as plants need light. If our minds are crowded with words and thoughts, there is no space for us.” 

Practising silence allows us to hear our inner world. Rather than distracting ourselves with continuous noise, silence has the power to give us inner peace, knowledge, and knowing. 

It can power our decision making, improve our focus, and perhaps even had a positive impact on our mental health. And according to Hanh, because silence comes from within, we can cultivate silence even in the most chaotic of places. 

Come back to your breath

If you know anything about mindfulness, you’ll have undoubtedly heard about coming back to your breath. But for Hanh, it was so much more than a meditation technique. Connecting with our breath is a way of life and an anchor for us to truly live in the present moment. 

“Breath is the bridge which connects life to consciousness, which unites your body to your thoughts. Whenever your mind becomes scattered, use your breath as the means to take hold of your mind again,” he said.

It’s uncommon for most of us to even consider our breath on a daily basis, let alone use it as a way to calm our minds. Yet focussing on our breathing for just a few minutes can do wonders for relaxation, and mental clarity. 

There is comfort in passing 

Having now passed, Thich Nhat Hanh’s view of death feels more relevant than ever. In one of his books, No Death, No Fear he details that when his mother passed away he suffered for a year. Then, one evening, after having an intense dream about his mother, he decided to go outside and walk in the moonlight. As he walked he realised she had never truly left him – that was a concept his mind had created. 

“From that moment on, the idea that I had lost my mother no longer existed. All I had to do was… feel the breeze on my face or the earth under my feet to remember that my mother is always with me, available at any time.”

In a world that fears death, Hanh’s thoughts are comforting. Perhaps one of the greatest teachers of mindfulness and peace hasn’t left us at all.

Chloe Garnham is a freelance copywriter, digital nomad and law graduate who has lived and worked in New York City, London, Hong Kong and Melbourne. She writes about work, success, and mindfulness on Medium

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Balancing is for your checkbook, gymnastics, and nutrition; not for your people’s work/life ratio.



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5 Indicators of Unresolved Attachment Trauma



Emotional Attachment Trauma

Trauma caused during specific stages of a child’s development, known as attachment trauma, can have lasting effects on a person’s sense of safety, security, predictability, and trust. This type of trauma is often the result of abuse, neglect, or inconsistent care from a primary caregiver.

Individuals who have not fully processed attachment trauma may display similar patterns of behavior and physical or psychological symptoms that negatively impact their adult lives, including the choices they make in relationships and business.

Unfortunately, many people may not even be aware that they are struggling with trauma. Research estimates that 6% of the population will experience PTSD in their lifetime, with a majority of males and females having experienced significant trauma.

Unresolved attachment trauma can significantly impair the overall quality of a person’s life, including their ability to form healthy relationships and make positive choices for themselves. One well-known effect of unhealed attachment trauma is the compulsion to repeat past wounds by unconsciously selecting romantic partners who trigger their developmental trauma.

However, there are other less recognized but equally detrimental signs of unprocessed developmental trauma.


Five possible indications of unresolved attachment trauma are:


1.  Unconscious Sabotage

Self-sabotage is a common pattern among individuals with unprocessed attachment trauma. This cycle often begins with hurting others, which is then followed by hurting oneself. It is also common for those with attachment trauma to have heightened emotional sensitivity, which can trigger this cycle.

This pattern can manifest in lashing out, shutting down, or impulsive behavior that leads to feelings of guilt, shame, and self-loathing.

Many people with attachment trauma are not aware of their wounds and operate on survival mode, unconsciously testing or challenging the emotional investment of those around them, and pushing them away out of self-preservation and fear of abandonment.

This can lead to a pattern of making poor choices for themselves based on impulsivity.


2. Persistent Pain

Chronic pain is a common symptom that can stem from early trauma. Studies have shown a connection between physical conditions such as fibromyalgia, headaches, gastrointestinal issues, insomnia, muscle aches, back pain, chest pain, and chronic fatigue with the aftermath of chronic developmental trauma, particularly physical abuse.
Research has found that individuals with insecure attachment styles, such as anxious, avoidant, or disorganized, have a higher incidence of somatic symptoms and a history of physical and emotional abuse in childhood compared to those with a secure attachment style.

3. Behaviors That Block Out Trauma

Trauma blocking practises are used to avoid the pain and memories connected with traumatic events.
Emotional numbing, avoidance, and escape via briefly pleasurable activities that distract from terrible memories or suffering are common examples. Unfortunately, this escape habit stops people from successfully processing and recovering from their trauma.
Furthermore, when the pain resurfaces, more and more diversions are necessary to continue ignoring it. This can be seen in compulsive behaviours such as drug or alcohol addiction, emotional eating, numbing oneself through relationships, workaholism, excessive or dangerous exercise routines, compulsive internet or technology use, or any other compulsive behaviour used to distract yoursef from intrusive thoughts and emotions.
These actions have the potential to prolong a cycle of avoidance and repression, preventing persons from healing and progressing.

4. A strong need for control

It’s understandable that some people may struggle with control issues in their adult lives, especially if they felt helpless or vulnerable during their childhood.
This can happen if someone had an overbearing caregiver who didn’t let them make their own choices, expected too much from them, or didn’t take care of them properly. As adults, they might try to control everything in their life to feel more in control and less anxious or scared. This might be because they didn’t feel like they had control over their life when they were a child.
It’s important to remember that everyone’s experiences are different and it’s okay to seek help if you’re struggling with control issues.

5. Psychological Symptoms That Are Not Explained

Individuals with a history of developmental trauma may experience a range of psychological symptoms, including obsessive-compulsive behavior, intense mood swings, irritability, anger, depression, emotional numbing, or severe anxiety.
These symptoms can vary in intensity and may occur intermittently throughout the day. People with this type of trauma may attempt to “distract” themselves from these symptoms by denying or rationalizing them, or may resort to substance abuse or behavioral addictions as coping mechanisms. This can be a maladaptive way of trying to numb their symptoms.

What to do next if you’re suffering from emotional attachment trauma?

Everyone’s experience of healing from trauma is unique. It’s important to be aware of whether you have experienced childhood developmental trauma and how it may be affecting your relationships as an adult. Sometimes, the effects of trauma can be overwhelming and we may try to push them away or avoid them.
If you notice that you’re engaging in these behaviors, it’s important to seek help from a trauma therapist who can support you on your healing journey. Remember, you’re not alone and it’s never too late to start healing.

There are several ways that people can work to overcome emotional attachment trauma:

  1. Therapy: One of the most effective ways to overcome emotional attachment trauma is through therapy. A therapist can help you process your experiences, understand the impact of your trauma on your life, and develop coping strategies to manage symptoms.
  2. Support groups: Joining a support group of people who have had similar experiences can be a great way to find validation, empathy, and a sense of community.
  3. Mindfulness practices: Mindfulness practices such as meditation, pilates, prayer time with God or journaling can help you become more aware of your thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations, and develop a sense of spiritual connection and self-regulation.
  4. Trauma-focused cognitive-behavioral therapy (TF-CBT): This is a type of therapy that is specifically designed to help individuals process and recover from traumatic events.
  5. Building a safety net: Building a support system of people you trust, who are there for you when you need them, can help you feel more secure and safe in your life.

It’s important to remember that healing from emotional attachment trauma is a process and it may take time. It’s also important to find a therapist who is experienced in treating trauma, who you feel comfortable talking with, and who can help you develop a personalized treatment plan.

If you desire to work with me on healing your wounds and unlocking the aspects of you that were never realized so you can achieve more success in your life then head over to and join my weekly LIVE online mentorship calls.
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