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In Beginning Anew, Sister Chân Không shares a concrete, four-part process that can help anyone heal relationships. Thousands have been introduced to this practice at the retreats led worldwide by Thich Nhat Hanh.
When we’re upset with someone, we’re often afraid to say anything. We tell ourselves, It’s just a small matter; it’s not important.” But the accumulation of many small issues can cause relationships to break. Beginning Anew gives us a way to address problems when they’re small.
Sister Chân Không brings the practice to life by sharing stories of couples and families she has helped to reconcile.
After a few minutes of quietly sitting together, each person speaks without being interrupted. The first step is to express appreciation of the other person, something we may forget to do and that can lead to people feeling taken for granted. The second step is to express any regrets we have. This is something we often put off, but it gives the chance to directly address any problems in the relationship. The last two steps are for expressing anger and checking in with each other. When practiced regularly, these steps bring deeper understanding and harmony to any relationship.
Sister Chân Không is the author of Learning True Love and Deep Relaxation. She is a Buddhist nun with students and readers around the world. Born in a village on the Mekong River Delta in 1938, she has devoted her life to the development and practice of nonviolence grounded in the Buddhist precepts of non-killing and compassionate action. At the age of 21 she became part of the community of Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh. She lives at his monastery in Plum Village, France.