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Friday, December 17, 2010

Merry Christmas Charlie Brown!

I love the Peanuts gang. It's just not the holidays without seeing Snoopy rock out on his electric guitar! I break out in a funky dance as soon as the "Lucy and Linus" theme chimes in. What is it about Charlie Brown that makes him and his friends so timeless?

Charlie Brown brings out the child in each of us, transporting us back to simpler times and carefree lives. He helps us recapture, even if for a short time, the joy of our inner child, that sense of wonder and boundless happiness. This Christmas I chose to uncomplicate my obligations and focus on the true meaning of this Christian holiday. Although I don't personally belong to an organized religion, the true meaning applies to all human kind. Goodwill, charity, understanding, peace, empathy, selflessness should be a part of us all year round, not just around the holidays when it's fashionable.

The sad, little tree that needs a home is pretty obvious in the Peanuts version. Showing compassion for others, even a tree, is much easier than turning that compassion within and directing it inward. Our inner child needs nurturing and love as well. There is a well known Buddhist meditation titled "Loving Kindness". This meditation is about compassion, compassion for ourselves first, then toward those we know, and finally to all sentient beings. Like the emergency oxygen mask we strap on prior to assisting others, being merciful to our inner self is like oxygen for our soul. We can't adequately help others if we don't attend to our spiritual child first.

Although Snoopy is my favorite Peanuts character (who doesn't want a dog like Snoopy??), Charlie Brown carries our inner child on his sleeve labeled as insecurity, angst and simplicity. Yet it is in simplicity that the divine qualities of our inner child shine. Open hearted, good and kindly are the traits we should carry on our sleeve every day, just like Charles.

My Christmas wish to you all is to find your inner child and give it a reason to smile. Feel the warmth of that smile radiate through your soul and fill you with compassion and joy.