When I started this piece, much of me wanted to fling my Valentine’s version of Bah Humbug at the goings on of yesterday. But then I reflected on the beautiful moments that I witnessed during the day and I remembered that there is still lots to value in the myth of love that we have built around the 14th February.
My friend’s daughter covering the house in glitter to celebrate the day (I can’t help wondering if she’s been on cleaning detail today), another friend, a new mum, coming downstairs to find two lobsters gloomily sitting in the sink awaiting their fate at the hands of her man for a special dinner, home made cards, flower stalls that looked like multi-coloured aspects of heaven, fun, laughter, kisses and surprises. Beautiful moments created by people imaginatively expressing their love for one another.
When we sign up to a collective myth like Valentine’s, it’s good to remember that we can still make it our own. We can pour so much more of ourselves into it than the customary, hastily brought, cellophane-wrapped supermarket flowers. Let’s face it, when love comes wrapped in convenience, it’s a sign that we have completely lost the plot.
To be honest, I don’t know what really could adequately celebrate love in a day. Love is the mystery, the most fundamental magic of our human nature. Love wants to flow, and grow, to be nurtured within each of us, and carried on our breath and through our eyes and touch to connect us with each other. Maybe there’s no way to really celebrate love, other than to open ourselves up to it.
As a single woman who was fully sold on the romance myth, I used to find Valentine’s Day so painful. The pain came because I saw the myth as something separate from me, that I wanted to belong to, but was being excluded from. Now I see the story that’s there and I make my own relationship with it. This year, I could have chosen romance with another, but instead I chose romance with myself.
Recently I’ve reminded myself of an incredibly simple practice that has the ability to completely transform my day, my moment, and my relationship to everything that’s happening around me. I look inside myself and ask if I’m loving myself inside right now. As soon as I do, I relax and soften, I’m connected back to me, to my core rather than hiding in my busy head. When I look up, I see the world differently. Because I’m feeling love for myself, I don’t need to seek love or validation, or fear rejection by others. I can just connect with people, without any other agenda. Funny little interactions happen, and particularly I’ve found I connect beautifully with men. Give it a try ladies. We spend so much time believing there are no men for us, but when you connect in this way, suddenly they’re everywhere, and they’re loving you back, even if it’s just for a moment.
A day, a week, a month, a year full of precious, little moments of love between friends or strangers. Now that’s something to celebrate.
PS – definitely do the loving self and connecting things ladies and gents. I went jogging in the park this morning, and I received so many cheeky smiles, lovely looks and responses from the men I met on the way – in spite of my jogging gear. I’m pretty sure they were genuinely admiring rather than sportingly sympathetic.