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Give love this Christmas. December 9, 2014

Posted by ourfriendben in Reiki, Reiki wisdom.
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“Wheresoever we seek our own, there we fall from love.”
—Thomas a Kempis

“There is the tendency to place ourselves and our ambitions at the center of our lives. This is very human, but it is not Christian.”
—Pope Francis, @Pontifex

Yesterday, I received a Christmas card from my Aunt Betty. At this season of the year, most of us are either thinking about what we want for Christmas or what our family and friends might want for Christmas, or what we’d better get the boss and the office gang, or our kids’ teachers and coaches, or our secretary, or God-knows-who for Christmas. Or how we’ll ever afford Christmas, with all these ever-more-expensive presents for everybody and shipping costs getting more outrageous every year.

But not Aunt Betty. She gets presents for those in need and sends them in our names. In past years, we’ve gotten cards saying that a needy family in, say, the Andes has received a (live) chicken in our name through Heifer International, so they can get nutritious eggs. (You don’t need a rooster to get eggs.) This year, she donated to Doctors Without Borders, those brave individuals who risk their lives to share their expertise where it otherwise wouldn’t be available. People we’ll never see or know will have a better Christmas this year. Thank you, Aunt Betty!

What I think she’s trying to tell us is that she thinks we have enough “stuff” and don’t need any more from her. (And she’s right.) Whereas these organizations help people who lack food, shelter, warmth, medical care, and other basic necessities, much less toys, video games, the latest athletic shoes, and the like. I suggest that you think of an organization that speaks to you this Christmas, be it a local soup kitchen or homeless shelter, The Salvation Army, The Southwest Indian Foundation, Habitat for Humanity, or any of the hundreds of others, and donate in a family member’s or your office’s name this Christmas. (And don’t forget that you can volunteer your time as well, including giving free hands-on Reiki sessions.)

Obviously, I’d never suggest doing this when children are involved. But you could get them a book or toy and donate in their family’s name, and the family could start teaching them the meaning of sharing and giving. Think how much better you’ll feel knowing you’re helping others on Christmas than ripping open package after package of stuff for yourself.

Just for today, don’t fall from love.


The best things in life aren’t things. December 1, 2013

Posted by ourfriendben in Reiki wisdom.
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Or so the cliche tells us. But we might feel differently if we didn’t have enough food to feed our family, or electricity or plumbing, or heat in the frigid depths of winter. Or, say, a roof over our heads.

I love the arts of the First Americans of the Southwest: the pottery, the jewelry, the rugs, the fetishes, the sand paintings. So of course I eagerly read through the newly-arrived Southwest Indian Foundation catalog, filled as it was with beautiful jewelry and clothing plus foods, books, CDs, and DVDs.

The catalog is produced by a Franciscan foundation that donates all profits to buying woodstoves, food, healthcare services, and the like for the Navajos and surrounding Pueblo peoples. It establishes battered family shelters and youth enrichment programs, as well as support for addicts. It supplies housing for those who can’t afford it, and housing repair services for those whose homes have fallen into disrepair. It supports hospice facilities so families can stay near their loved ones who are battling cancer and other dread diseases.

In the catalog, it said that, for $58, you could buy a Christmas grocery basket that would feed a family of four on the Rez for a week. I continued to page through the catalog, but I couldn’t get that food basket out of my mind. Eventually, I decided that, rather than purchase anything from the catalog for myself, I’d donate a food basket to the people whose marvelous handmade art has been such a joy to me through the years. I don’t need more stuff, and they need the food.

Should you wish to do the same, or if you can afford to donate a woodstove, go online to http://www.southwestindian.com, or call 800-504-2723 to request a catalog or make a donation. And bear in mind that if you purchase anything from the catalog or website as a treat for yourself or a gift for others, your money will also go to support the First Americans of the Southwest.

Just for today, be kind.