The Heartivist Legacy of Thich Nhat Hanh

by | Jan 26, 2022 | ShiftHappens

Last week, the prolific author and thinker Thich Nhat Hanh died; although in penning that sentence I recognize he would take offense to the very idea. He did not believe in death, once writing: 

This body is not me. I am not limited by this body.
I am life without boundaries.
I have never been born,
And I have never died.

Although our spiritual traditions were different, Thich Nhat Hanh entered monastic life around the same age as I did, albeit around 60 years earlier. His teachings on peace and non-violence were transformational in my own personal understanding of the link between social change and inner transformation. Writing about the Vietnam war, he observed many peace activists who were consumed by anger, reflecting that:

“We often think of peace as the absence of war, that if powerful countries would reduce their weapon arsenals, we could have peace. But if we look deeply into the weapons, we see our own minds- our own prejudices, fears and ignorance. Even if we transport all the bombs to the moon, the roots of war and the roots of bombs are still there, in our hearts and minds, and sooner or later we will make new bombs. To work for peace is to uproot war from ourselves and from the hearts of men and women.”

He noted in many of his speeches and articles the discordance he felt at seeing people do the work of a peacemaker while they themselves were not at peace. This understanding of the different qualities of “being” versus “doing” is still something I find deeply resonant. He helped the world understand that we cannot give that which we do not have; that our own lives have to be our message; and that, in activism, our own inner life deserves as much attention and care as those we wish to serve. 

He saw his eternal life in the continuation of compassion across the world; a legacy that I know has vibrance in our own beloved Pollination Project community and the spirit of heartivism present there. 

In his honor, may we all be attentive to the miracles before us, be they in “a glass of water, a ray of sunshine, a leaf, a caterpillar, a flower, laughter, raindrops;” 

May we find a sacred meditation in an everyday action, like drinking a cup of tea or eating an apple;

May we accept ourselves, knowing that this is what it means to be truly beautiful; 

May we walk as if we are kissing the earth with our feet. 

Photo credit © Plum Village Community of Engaged Buddhism

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It's Volunteer Month! 🌟 🌟 🌟 Today we celebrate our grant advisors working on Economic Development focus area.

By meticulously selecting projects for our seed grants, they're not just funding ideas—they're empowering communities and sparking transformative change. 

Join us in celebrating their invaluable efforts and the positive impact they're creating together!

🔸 Eric Anorrey (Ghana)
🔸 Mariam Nakiryowa (Uganda)
🔸 Jean-Marie Zihalirwa (DRC)
🔸 Emily Logiron Asekon (Kenya)
🔸 Georgia Bernbaum (USA) 
🔸 Herve Tsoala Kuete (Cameroon)
🔸 Jackson Bizimungu (Rwanda)
🔸 Okumu Dickson (Uganda)
🔸 Samuel Litunya (Kenya)

@ericanorrey 
@mayanja_mariam 
@g.bernbaum 

#volunteermonth #volunteer #heartivism #economicdevelopment #change #empoweringcommunities
The Green Earth Initiative (#Cameroon) is a project dedicated to educating and empowering students about climate change, sustainable development, and environmental challenges, that has received a seed grant from The Pollination Project in 2023. With a focus on fostering environmental protection and conservation, the initiative establishes Eco-clubs and Environment Clubs in schools, providing students with the tools to learn, engage, and take action in their communities.

Since receiving the grant from TPP, the Green Earth Initiative has expanded its reach, now encompassing 9 additional schools across two regions/cities, surpassing its initial goal of 5. 
This expansion was made possible by the overwhelming interest from school authorities and the growing number of volunteers and team members.

Through the support of TPP and other partners, the project's environmental education programs, awareness campaigns, and initiatives have impacted over 8000 students in two cities of Cameroon. Additionally, the initiative has planted over 600 trees, launched 5 Environment/Eco Clubs, and distributed over 150 adapted waste bins produced from recycled plastics, contributing to proper waste management practices.

The seed grant from The Pollination Project has been instrumental in catalyzing the growth and success of the Green Earth Initiative, enabling it to make a tangible difference in the lives of students and communities, while fostering a culture of environmental stewardship and sustainability. 

@isec_cameroon 
#environmentprotection #seedgrant #heartivism #environmentaleducation
It's Volunteer's Month!!! 🌟 Celebrating our family of Grant Advisors 🌟

With 80 grant advisors, all experts in their respective fields and many of them former grantees, The Pollination Project is powered by a wealth of knowledge and experience. Their service is not only precious but also essential, as they bring unique insights and understanding to the application process, ensuring that resources are allocated where they can have the greatest impact. 

🎉 Today we celebrate our incredible grant advisors in the HEALTH & WHOLENESS focus area! 

🔸 Ben Kilama (Uganda) 
🔸 Kosa Jimmy (Uganda) 
🔸 Marina Haque (USA) 
🔸 John Ebong (Nigeria) 
🔸 Nzayisenga Emmanuel (Canada)
🔸 Rodger Mwanza (Zambia) 
🔸 Emmanuel Dushimimana (Rwanda) 
🔸 Nelly Hellen Onditi (Kenya) 
🔸 Daniel Ayodele Femi (Nigeria) 
🔸 Christopher Nwafor (South Africa)

Our heartfelt gratitude to these dedicated individuals for their invaluable contributions 🙏

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