It’s never taken much to rattle me: chasing a newspaper tossed by winds, spilling food on my shirt, breaking a dish, irritating construction noises, hurt feelings, arthritic flare-ups, and so much more. Beneath such experiences lurk pride and anger, instincts-on-rampage that sour my attitude, until acknowledged and dealt with in the Twelve Steps. Clearly, I’m not in control, despite my illusory leanings.

Another way of handing such scrapes with the real is the art of mindful living, explained by Eunice the hospice chaplain during our weekly meetings. An adherent of the Zen Master Thich Nhat Hahn, she outlined its three imperatives: stop, look deeply within, and act with compassion—simple, but not impossible to practice in the dailyness of our lives.

But how to stop when it feels like funneling cyclones are whipping mercilessly at psyches? When wild stallions gallop toward a kill? Such crassness appears bent on annihilation, but that’s not the case. Stop, voiced in loud tones, shakes free the illusory stranglehold: breathing and some normalcy return.

Once in stillness, take stock. Look within—deeply. Befriend the wounds, measure the energy loss, assimilate new awareness, and accept the altered configuration of the psyche. Become familiar with it: place of the next upheaval and more psychic growth. Such suffering softens hearts to love others in their full humanness in which we share.

Then, act with compassion toward others and ourselves. Such overtures embroider color-designs of vibrancy. Within them dwells the Sacred, the artist of our eternal salvation.

These three simple steps of mindfulness do work if practiced, per Zen Master Thich Nhat Hahn.