Christmas Eve

It’s the day before Christmas, Eliot is playing with his cars on the rug behind me. Kevin is in Kansas City today attending a Chief’s football game with his dad and his future brother-in-law. The whole Rabas family will be in Emporia tomorrow to celebrate the holiday. One week ago, the whole Moritz clan was here--except for my two sisters out in Western Kansas who couldn’t make it due to heavy snow. It was so wonderful for me to have my family here. Our big old house really felt like a home, and since my family is SO BIG, it was nice to have the space. We didn’t have any overnight guests but got to enjoy the conversation and presence of everyone for an afternoon and evening. Eliot was delighted to have so many visitors here (25 in all) and was especially happy to play with his older cousins, Leah and Paula. He also enjoyed the firetruck--complete with flashing lights and siren--that Kevin and I got for him, and also the 4x4 Tonka truck from Grandma Rachel. Tomorrow he will receive another big round of gifts and will be thrilled, I'm sure. Over the past few weeks, on nights that I haven’t gotten to bed too late, I have been reading a book about the Dalai Lama entitled THE WISDOM OF FORGIVENESS-Intimiate Conversations and Journeys. I noticed it on the sale rack at the bookstore when I was doing a little Christmas shopping and decided to get a three dollar hardback gift for myself. I was epecially taken by the excerpt on the back of the book where the Dalai Lama talks about the spiritual benefits of forgiveness and proceeds to give the following example of a meditation technique he uses called giving and taking. “I do a visualization. I send my positive emotions like happiness and affection to others. Then another visualization. I visualize receiving their sufferings, their negative emotions. I do this every day. I pay special attention to the Chinese--especially those doing terrible things to the Tibetans. So, as I meditate, I breathe in all their poisons--hatred, fear, cruelty. Then I breathe out. And I let all the good things come out, things like compassion, forgiveness. I take inside my body all these bad things. Then I replace poisons with fresh air. Giving and taking. I take care not to blame--I don’t blame the Chinese and I don’t blame myself. This meditation is very effective, useful to reduce hatred, useful to cultivate forgiveness.” Each time I read this quote I am both moved and humbled. I think about my own life and ways that I might cultivate forgiveness and compassion, and I think of the many times that I fall short of doing so. Perhaps that is something to focus on in the new year. Forget the twenty pounds I should lose. Replacing hatred with love seems like a better resolution. Imagine how different the world would be if everyone did this. In the time it has taken me to write the preceding paragraphs (which has included a break to fix lunch for Eliot and get him down for a nap), the rain outside has stopped and has been replaced by a strong north wind that blows the bare tree branches outside my window here by the desk. Tomorrow it is predicted to be 50 degrees and sunny. One week ago there was five inches of snow. Only in Kansas. --And I wouldn't have it any other way. Wherever you are when you read this, I hope it finds you in a warm home with people you love. Merry Christmas--and best wishes for a joyful new year. Love and peace, Lisa

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