December 2, 2010

Peace on Earth. (Begins at Home)

This is my weekly editor’s letter on our Top 10 blogs of the week email newsletter—a great way to follow elephant without getting overwhelmed (as opposed to, say, twitter or Facebook, where we’re verrrrry active). ~ WL

I love Christmas. I love Children’s Day, the Buddhist holy-day celebrated on December 21st. I love Hanukkah. I love the Nutcracker. I love everything about this time of year—most particularly Mother Nature herself. It’s cold out. The snow (if you’re lucky enough to have any; here in Boulder it’s yet to really snow, a record) is crystalline and magical. Homes are cozy. Cafés brimmith over.

Recently, I fell in love. We moved in together—a big step. We were warned that the romance might die in a haze of moving boxes and dishes and utility bills and arguments over whose sofa went where. It hasn’t.

But it’s been tough. While my home has been effectively hit by a tornado—I’ve given away half my furniture and clothes that I no longer need—it’s also become newly cleaned, uplifted, elegant. It’s made me realize how much junk accumulates in our physical lives: piles of paper, magazines and old cowboy shirts we’re attached to yet no longer use. It’s a physical form of karma—it’s what Buddhists call the cocoon. It’s not good for us.

So I’ve realized that I’m no “eco boy” after all, not fully, not yet. For having too many things that we don’t use is a form of “gluttony,” as my Christian sisters would put it. It’s greedy and wasteful. So take this time of year to give a few things away. Make a trip to Goodwill. Remember that Peace on Earth begins at home—my new love and I have a rule that whoever gets frustrated and loses their temper after a long day of moving and cleaning mouse poop out of the basement, doing laundry etc…buys the other one dinner. It’s a simple, fun, and effective rule—and while one of us may lose, both of us win a romantic, wintry evening at The Kitchen, Salt, Hapa or Elephant Hut or one of my favorite eco-minded, local restaurants.

We may hate war, but peace on the home front is tough stuff. Meditate. Do tonglen, or pray. Maintain your mind just as you keep your body in shape.

Merry Christmas. Happy Hanukkah. Cheerful Children‘s Day. Whatever you celebrate, remember that life is short, and precious, and heartbreakingly wonderful.

Yours in the Vision of Enlightened Society,

Waylon Lewis



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