You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Mary Oliver

Once again, Valentine’s Day is here and if you’re not careful, you might feel blown over by all the “Romance” in the air. This can be a disheartening time if you feel left out of the Big Romantic Day and the focus on Love as an expression of Eros. It can feel like a lot of pressure to live up to the barrage of messages vying to convince you what Love looks like, and that you have to get it “perfect”.

There’s a lot of reasons why you might not be “feeling the love” when Valentine’s Day rolls around. If that’s you, here’s a few self-care suggestions to consider:

Cultivate Mettā, Loving-Kindness, for yourself, lots of it. Try out a guided Mettā meditation practice, here’s one from Sharon Salzburg, a renown writer and teacher about Loving-Kindness practices.

You might also turn the day into an on-going day of practice checking in with yourself and greeting whatever you find, from aches and pains in the physical body, to melancholy of the heart, with tender, loving regard. Make a date with yourself to set aside all inner impatience and the litany of tasks you “should” be doing, and instead check in with your whole self and greet everything you observe with tenderness and love.

2017 Valentine’s Postcards

Got Love to Share?

In the spirit of Phila, or “Brotherly Love”, write small notes for people you cherish. If you’re crafty, make something, you might buy “kids” ones at the market, or find some online to print.

Every year I facilitate a group gathering to make Valentine’s postcards, we each make one for someone else in the group, randomly drawing names, and create something simple on a postage paid postcard. In this time of instantaneous electronic communication, the time taken to send a real piece of mail can’t help but feel like a loving gesture to the recipient

By George Hodan [Public domain]

No postage required: Leave small notes of encouragement around as you go about your day. Channel the unconditional love of Agape and spread a message of tender, caring regard for others wherever you go. Some phrases to consider:

You matter.
You are whole.
You are valued.

Take Valentine’s Day out of the realm of passionate, romantic love, Eros, and let it instead be a celebration of all the ways we can love one another. Share you love widely, don’t hide it away.

Love itself is a light, a beacon of hope in dark times. You don’t have to do a lot, just find out what you love about yourself and others, then share that light of love far and wide.