What made me alive in 2016

Much to my own surprise, I spent 100/365 days in 2016 away from home for workshops, holidays, meditation retreats and trainings. I travelled to 5 cities and provinces in Vietnam and 6 countries in Europe and Asia. I worked much less than in 2015, yet achieved and enjoyed life much more than I could have expected.

Looking back, there are deliberate things I’ve followed that seem to work well. I’d like to write them down, and if you find them useful, feel free to give me your comments or questions. I’ll share more details.

  1. Sunshine:
I love to see life at the dawn of it, to know that every day is a new beginning and everything can be learned.
I love to see life at the dawn of it, to know that every day is a new beginning and everything can be learned.

Waking up with the sun makes a whole lot different to the quality of my day. Whenever I look at the sun, I will smile. I enjoy taking picture of the sun rising from my balcony. It always reminds me that a new day has come, that I’m still alive, and that everything is a new beginning. Whatever I can do or change, if I really want to do it, can only happen today.

  1. Morning routine:
Practice mindfulness on the go, make it as fun and easy as you are.
Practice mindfulness on the go, make it as fun and easy as you are.

I follow a 30m morning practice which includes 10m mindful movements and 20m silent sitting. It’s a simple routine taught by Dr Ha Vinh Tho and it works beautifully for my system. My mind is better organized and body awake after that. It’s a must-do for me to stay focused and energized, especially when I’m in training. If you want to learn the science and practice of meditation, join my next class at Hoa Sen University (follow #HatGiongHanhPhuc) or watch my instruction video on Youtube.

  1. To-be-list:
Start a day with a smile. Sometimes it's all you need to instantly arrive at the right state of mind.
Start a day with a smile. Sometimes it’s all you need to instantly arrive at the right state of mind.

For the start of the day, a to-be-list is a better way to keep track of myself. It can be for example Focus, Patient, Listening, Fun, Active… When negative thoughts arise, getting rid of them is very difficult. It’s better to set the intention on how I’d like to experience the day before any issue arises, often it will help direct the mind to a more resourceful state which will effectively help me get over negativity. Setting an intention is also a very powerful mental habit before starting an important project or entering a new relationship I found 🙂

  1. Listen to my heart & body:
Ask yourself, what is the best thing you can do in this moment that can bring happiness to yourself and others? Most likely the answer will be ‘Smile and send a good thought’. Just that will do. Love.

It’s my secret to gradually get stress out of my life. Whenever my body needs a break, I will give it. And whenever my heart needs to express something, I will let it be. It has given me the freedom to be true to myself and not to fall into the trap of chasing after goals and material needs. I no longer listen to my mind and neglect my heart and body, then become a victim of a non-stopping work-life cycle and suffer from unbalances. Every day it’s important for me to feel at ease, at peace, fulfilled and loved. Period.

  1. Do what I like:
Being one among these aspiring women can be very overwhelming 🙂

For 90% of the time, I choose to only do what I like when I like it. And I like variety of things to do and places to be. Whether it’s about being an MC, mentoring, hosting events or cleaning my place, decluttering my laptop, I enjoy them all. I realize many of these things do not add to my business credentials. However they give me energy and put me in a higher state of performance that best reflect my values and interests. I have joy along the way, and that’s very nurturing every day.

  1. Share what I love:
A Quest For Meaning Screening at Hoa Sen University (November 2016)

I have a strong drive to share what aspire me and concern me. Sharing is a way for me to contribute my part to the world and it definitely brings meaning to my life. FB has been a very helpful platform to reach out to people I care about. You can find me on my company page #OneLifeConnection, my meditation practitioners page #MeditationInSaigon, my local screening community #AQuestForMeaningVietnam group, and two motivational pages #HappinessInVietnam & #GoRoi. Besides, I regularly engage with #OshoVietnam and #MindfulnessbasedCompassionHappiness.

  1. Do not repeat myself:
My class with Suntory PepsiCo's Sales & Marketing Team
My class with Suntory PepsiCo’s Sales & Marketing Team

Thanks to the nature of my work, I must have met thousands of people in 2016 in workshops, retreats, conferences, group events and classes. Most of the time I play the role of hosting, training, speaking in front of the audience. I really enjoy working with individuals and organizations on topics such as Mindfulness, Energy Management, Coaching, Women Empowerment, Happiness & Well-being etc. I always adjust my delivery and way of speaking to meet with the audience on the spot, so every opportunity to work with a group of people is a new challenge for me. And that keeps me very much alive and passionate 🙂

  1. Design a year I would be aspired to live:
“Let’s travel safe and cultivate love and friendship, hugs, kisses, food, arts, farming, trekking, walking, sharing, silence and meditation this time” – Note before taking a 6-week “Mindfulness on the go” Trip to China, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Denmark, India in July-Aug 2016

Exactly this time of the year in 2015, I asked myself what would I like my 2016 to be. Similar to the way I’d like my day to day experience to be, I also want to do that for 365 days ahead. The theme of 2016 was Mindfulness and Meditation 🙂 I wanted to deepen my practice and integrate it into my work-life routine and see how it works from inside out. And as I followed what I set out to do, thanks to living all these above things I share, I have experienced an awesome year in every way!

Looking back, every year has its own ups and downs, with lessons and treasures to appreciate. I remember times when nothing is easy and times when everything is in a flow and wonder whether it’s the life situation that has changed for me, or it’s me who have changed for it. Perhaps both. Perhaps as I put my part into it with effort and a bit of grace 🙂 life starts to response positively and I start to follow it more than trying to make it follow me. This inner transformation process has started even before I learned to meditate. I’m thankful for the teachers and mentors whose sharing and teaching have given me wings to fly and altitude to broaden my perceptions. I’m deeply thankful for the spiritual teachers whose wisdoms have set me free from the conventional way of thinking that the only way to live well is to be successful, which means to become the most stressful person with the most money in the bank account and the highest status in the society they don’t even care about.

With Dr Ha Vinh Tho, Program Director of GNH Centre Bhutan & Founder of ELI, in “Sharing the path of happiness” Talk (March 2016)

If you are aspired by my sharing, you can look further into these 3 phases of inner transformation from Theory U (Presencing Institute). I was blessed to experience this process in “GNH Exploration in Business” program with GNH Centre Bhutan (2015) and in “Mindfulness-based Compassion & Happiness” Training-of-trainer program with Eurasia Learning Institute in Vietnam (2016). And that has made all the differences to how my life has become today.

In brief, first let go of what no longer support your growth and life values. Second, let be of who you truly are and what the present is offering to you. And third, let come of what’s emerging as a whole. It’s a continuous process that happens every day to us. It requires an open mind to let go, open heart to let be, and open will to let come.


#1. Letting go

#2: Letting be

#3: Letting come

On writing this note, I remember this little poem I wrote in my 6-week trip, a mindful reminder for my heart. It’s beautiful the way my heart becomes open for life experiences I’ve encountered.

“May my heart be a little open. To always listen to the sound of silence. From where it comes. To where it expands.

May my heart be a little open. To embrace people I love. To embrace things I love”.

So thank you the universe and thank you all for being a part of my life journey! All the best for 2017! Remember every day is a new beginning. And every day is an opportunity for us to make up the next 365 days worth living.

With love & light.

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