Some of the things I enjoy about Valentine’s Day are the beautiful colors, the bouquets of flowers, the abundance of chocolate, and the focus on love. The power of love is undeniable. The ability to give and receive love makes life better. Expressions and acts of love don’t have to be bold. They can felt in quiet moments. They can be felt from a gentle touch, a kind word, or a small gesture. Creating more loving moments towards yourself and others will change your life. Love is the glue that holds our relationships together. Extending that love to include compassion for self enables us to grow, change and give more to others.
“All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.”
- Charles M. Schultz
My husband and I were home during the big snowstorm last week. After several hours of working at our desks, Steve called out to me. He said, “Hey Honey, it’s time for a hug break!” I smiled as I got up from my desk and met him in the hallway for wonderful hug. What a simple act that left me feeling happy and loved. Did you know that the hormone oxytocin is released when we’re physically close to another person’s body? It helps us connect to others. In The Little Book Of Hygge, Meik Wiking said that oxytocin is sometimes referred to as the “love hormone,” the “cuddle hormone,” or “social glue.” Hug someone today to increase your love and happiness quotient.
My mom has vascular dementia, so while we can still have conversations, words aren’t always her best mode of communication. Music is though, so we often sing and clap together, or I listen to her play the piano. She has an incredible sense of rhythm. Moving our bodies to music or dancing with others is one of the most joyful things we can do. During a recent visit with my mom, she was so energized by the music we played for her, that we ended up dancing together. It was a joy-filled moment of love and connection.
This past weekend our daughter, Allison, drove from Brooklyn to visit her “baby sister,” Cassie, in Boston. Our daughters have been very close from the day Cassie was born. As a matter of fact, when Cassie was born, Allison was convinced she was her baby. And right from day one, our girls had a special bond. Fast forward 24 years later and they are still close. Each time I thought about them visiting and spending time together this weekend, my heart was filled with love and warmth. Love can be felt through the relationships we have and by thinking about and being around the loving relationships others have. Soak in the love.
I like to make cards and write notes. Sometimes I use my photographs. Most recently, when making Valentine’s Day cards, I decided to take out my watercolors. I used to paint frequently, but haven’t in years. It was like having a conversation with an old, comfortable friend. I just loved dipping my brush in the paints, swirling it around in the water jars, and painting on the textured paper. I had forgotten how much I loved painting. Love can be felt from the relationships we have or the creativity we engage in that touch our souls.
I continue to engage in living more mindfully and practicing daily mindfulness mediation. Especially through meditation, the practice encourages self-compassion. I set aside time each day to focus on simple awareness of connecting my mind, body and heart. The practice encourages being curious, non-judgmental, and kind to the self. By gifting myself this time, it’s helping me to experience more gratitude, more calm, and expand the energy, focus and love I have for others.
On this day of love, this day of sharing and this day of eating more chocolate than usual, I wish each of you a very happy and love-filled Valentine’s Day. What resonates with you? I’d love to hear your thoughts about change, love and compassion. Come join the conversation!