Hué, Vietnam, March 2005:
I am sitting in the rooftop restaurant of our lovely hotel overlooking the Perfume River, enjoying the decadent breakfast buffet. (Once I snuck a few of the freshly made crèpes to a French nun in the Plum Village delegation, much to her delight.) Today I am visiting with Delores Nims, a Sangha friend from Oregon. We talk of my desire to write about the trip and I remind her that she offered to introduce me to the editor of the Mindfulness Bell, Barbara Casey. “But, you were just having breakfast with her!” says a bemused Delores. “Oh, that Barbara!”
Thus began a new friendship and a marvelous working relationship. I started by editing the sections about the Vietnam trip in the summer and autumn 2005 issues; then, much to my surprise, Barbara asked me if I would take over editing the magazine. I’ll never forget the shock I felt, reading her emailed proposition, as
I sat at my computer in the farmhouse near Plum Village where I spent that summer; but it didn’t take me long to accept. Back on U.S. soil, I worked with Barbara on the winter issue, and then took over as editor in February when Barbara’s mother suddenly died. Please hold her and her family in your prayers, as they journey through this challenging transition time.
The daily practice of mindfulness, concentration, and insight yields surprising and miraculous fruits. The blessings that have come my way since I devoted myself wholly to the practice are too numerous to be counted. Editing the Mindfulness Bell is one of the best. I am deeply grateful to my teacher, my friends and mentors in the fourfold Sangha, Barbara and all those who have worked so hard on this magazine, and the worldwide community of practice.
It is a privilege to serve the sangha in this way. Not only do I get to do the work that I love—editing and writing—but I am meeting extraordinary people all over the world. On top of that, I get to read many beautiful and inspiring accounts of the practice; I only wish we had space to print them all! That is one of the hardest aspects of an editor’s job.
One way to publish more of your wonderful writing is to solicit shorter pieces. I am inspired by one of my favorite magazines, The Sun, to introduce a new feature into the next issue of the Mindfulness Bell: a “Readers Write” section. The topic will be the First Mindfulness Training. Write from your own experience, simply and sincerely, about how this Training has changed the way you live or view the world. Feel free to comment on all facets of the Training as Thay has rewritten it.
May our collective mindfulness—the healing power of love—bring peace to a world much in need. May the joyful expression of creativity inspire more and more hearts to dance!
Blessings of peace,