"I know you are there and I am very happy"

© Jenn Shallvey

© Jenn Shallvey

It is an interesting observation, in self and others, the words with which we choose to inspire or be inspired. Whether it's a borrowed post in social media, a quote fancily dressed up with graphics or even a physical momento displayed visually in your space. Words are powerful. No doubt, or they would not have such staying power and shared understanding across groups and cultures. 

If you do not already pay attention to such examples, I invite you to notice the word signs around you. What grabs your attention? What speaks to you? They might be funny, strange, inspiring or even challenging. Don't judge, notice. What you see says a lot about you as well. 

I have a few to share. For now I choose this one. I stumbled across this phrase by accident in a store in Barcelona. The words painted on an angled section of the ceiling prominently welcomed me as I entered. I asked and received permission to take a photo. Innocent and naive I seemed, yet the words really meant something. I had not read nor heard these before.

So of course I ventured down the Internet rabbit hole to find out more. I discovered so much more. I learned these words are part of four mantras of Buddhist zen master and monk Thích Nhất Hạnh. I know some of his work but do not read or follow in depth. Clearly not aware of this saying. So thanks to both the people who share his work and an Oprah video I know a little more.

You can learn more directly from his teachings. That is your choice. I simply share to honour the origin of the words. So many words are borrowed without attribution. Ironically he would likely not be attached to them and be happy they are shared. 

Instead I share my experience. The teaching for me is about the way we honour another in relationship. It is about genuinely being present and seeing the other. It is then about acknowledging how much this person in this relationship enriches you. It can be said better from the master. 

So I reflected more-as I do a lot. In our busy world filled with opinions flying back and forth we are less and less in relationship with others. We are more in one way word exchange (this post being another example). In person though consider the people glued to their screens, divided in attention, physically there with another but not really.

It is this world that I believe needs a bit more of the above words. Imagine if we shared an equivalent hello and smile when with a stranger. Imagine if we took time away from our distractions to actually look a loved one in the eye and say words of this nature. And if we did it authentically, with meaning for real what would that be like? I wonder. 

So I put this little update out as a bit of an experiment. See what stands out for you. Play with the ideas and experiment. Who knows? You may bring some peace to your little part of the world with the simplest gesture and action.  

And yes I share the photo purposely as is and will save the graphics for another day.

Jenn Shallvey