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A Quiet Place

By Remy Benoit

  It is inordinately cold for us here this morning. When I left the house it was 40, so this is one of the rare occassions that I took a coat with me.
  The streets were lined with things for trash pickup.  There were cans and boxes filled with torn wrapping paper; there were empty boxes from which toys had been removed.
  The decorative lights will stay on through the first, or sixth, of January. The trees will stay lighted until then too, but Christmas is over for another year.

  Or is it?

  As I meandered through the neighborhood streets before getting onto I-10 to come into New Orleans, I thought about the presents which I had received, and which would be longest remembered.

  And when you really think about it, the presents that are the most remembered are those that communicate, touch the most.

  So at the top of my list are the poems that I have shared here with you from Mack and Mikie. And there was the very special treat of tickets for me and my kids to see Elton John's Aida, a treat I would not have been able to provide for them myself right now.

  There was a beautiful letter yesterday from one of you Vietnam Veterans. In this case, the man is bed bound and in pain, but he took the time, and spent, with I know considerable pain, the limited energy he has, to express not only Christmas greetings, but one of the most beautiful and hopeful attitudes on life that is around.

  What is the real gift of Christmas?

  Come on, you know the answer.

  The real gift of Christmas is love, unconditional.

  The thing of it is, to avail yourself of that gift of unconditional love, you have to open yourself to it. And for that you need to go into the quiet.

  You have to find a way to turn off the "monkey mind," that incessant chattering that just repeats and repeats and repeats the same old same old over and over and over again.  The what will I do if end of the world scenario; the somebody done me wrong song scenario; the Christmas wasn't perfect scenario; the cataclysmic I don't have a date for New Year's Eve scenario. You know them all, just fill in your favorite repeat song.

  To hear the love, to receive the love, you need to just turn off the tapes that just keep playing in your head.

  To do that, you can meditate, pray, go for a walk, anything that will help to drown out the ego screaming pay attention to me song.

  To do that you must make the connection to the truth that you are part of something huge, dare I say, Universal; you are a part of the entire Creation. To receive the awesome love of that, to receive the unlimited abundance of that, you must calm the monkey mind to tune into the Universal heart beating with love.

  Perhaps you can make that your Boxing Day gift to yourself.

  Find a quiet place, and go there.

  Make a date to go there everyday.

  It will change your life - for the better.

If you are unfamiliar with St. Stephen's, or Boxing Day, pay a visit to this site. Boxing Day.

If where you are makes 40 degrees seem like a summer heat wave, try some of these photos to take a nature walk: Landscapes.



Or step off the planet!




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This item is part of historian, author, editor, and educator Remy Benoit's ongoing weblog for Veterans, writers, students, and others who believe in learning from and making history; including thousands of articles and posts and the free writing seminar, Using History for Healing and Writing.

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