Seashells by the Seashore


I am overdue for a Turks & Caicos travel guide! I promise to have a detailed guide up in the next two weeks. This week, I’m gearing up for my next seaside getaway. I am New York and Dominican Republic bound this Thursday to attend the first wedding to take place from my group of college friends. Weddings thrill me – I love love! I am definitely the sap who tears up at weddings, so you’ll catch me sporting a pair of oversized black sunglasses in an attempt to conceal emotion. When I helped my friend M. shop for her wedding dress at Vera Wang last year, I was surprised at how sentimental I became as she came out of the dressing room, flowing white dress and all. As I get older, I find that these waves of feeling become increasingly more frequent, perhaps because I am becoming ever more aware in the present that time is finite.

If you’ve been to the Dominican Republic and have any travel tips, please let me know! I’ll be spending the weekend in Puerto Plata and heading back to Santiago for the reception on Monday.

I’ve been listening to Thich Nhat Hanh’s teachings in the evenings to relax my mind and body into a state of sleep. I think I’ll book a ticket to France this autumn. No city perfects beauty like Paris does and the idea of a short meditation retreat at Plum Village is becoming more appealing day by day. I’ve been reading Hanh’s books for some time now and I always find them to be a comfort to the soul and a gentle reminder to the mind.

Tonight, I wanted to share three musings from his books “How To Love” and “How To Relax.” I’ve been starting my day by reading a passage from the books in the morning. 

Whenever animals in the forest are wounded, they rest. They look for a very quiet place and just stay there without moving for many days. They know it’s the best way for their body to heal. During this time they may not even eat or drink. The wisdom of stopping and healing is alive in animals, but we human beings have lost the capacity to rest. 

If you pour a handful of salt into a cup of water, the water becomes undrinkable. But if you pour the salt into a river, people can continue to draw the water to cook, wash, and drink. The river is immense, and it has the capacity to receive, embrace, and transform. When our hearts are small, our understanding and compassion are limited, and we suffer. We can’t accept or tolerate others and their shortcomings, and we demand that they change. But when our hearts expand, these same things don’t make us suffer anymore. We have a lot of understanding and compassion and can embrace others. We accept others as they are, and then they have a chance to transform.

Each of us is like the waves and also like the water. Sometimes we’re excited, noisy, and agitated like the waves. Sometimes, we’re tranquil like still water. When water is calm, it reflects the blue sky, the clouds, and the trees. Sometimes, whether we’re at home, work, or school, we become tired, agitated, or unhappy and we need to transform into calm water. We already have calmness in us; we just need to know how to make it manifest.

Have a wonderful week ahead!


2 Responses
  • Cathy
    July 17, 2018

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts and insights! I’ve read how to love on my flight to China, and enjoyed it immensely.

    • Michelle Pham
      July 29, 2018

      Thank you, Cathy! I am thinking of you and all the fun we had in Europe the last time I was blogging!

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