Thanks to Google, I’ve learned that Valentine’s Day is so old a tradition that we’re not even sure how it began. It probably goes back to pagan rituals that were later “Christianized” around the time of Claudius and probably “commercialized” by Hallmark. Whatever its origins, it is about romance and love and letting the special men and women in our lives know how we feel about them.
For me, Valentine’s Day is extra special because it comes right after my birthday, which for the last few years has been my time to reflect a bit on my life and life in general.
This year, I am profoundly grateful today for the gifts of life and love and the opportunity to observe and be aware. How extraordinary and beautiful this all is. When we consider how miraculous it is that we are here at all, even the difficulty and pain are exquisite.
As I think about my life, it is utterly amazing that I have survived this long and have had such a wealth of experiences—a cornucopia of the good, the bad and the ugly. Perhaps the greatest gift of growing older is to appreciate ALL of it, the marvelous and the horrible, the grief and the bliss and, most amazing of all, the gift of other people in my life to share this journey with—to love and allow to love me.
I don’t think I believe in an intelligent ‘Creator’ (in the sense of a ‘Let-there-be-Light’ kind of Deity). But it sure makes me wonder when I stand back and think about how human beings have evolved, the power of love and the richness of our creative force.
With this gratitude comes humility and profound awe at just being present at this party called Life. I marvel at all of the grandeur and pomp on one hand and at all the suffering and despair on the other. I wonder if I have much to say at the end of the day that others haven’t said before better than I. My gift may be like that of a sand artist: to communicate what I see to others and to consciously release my creations into the next moment of ‘Now’. Perhaps this is another lesson in ‘letting go’—an opportunity to realize there are as many artists as there are audiences to communicate with, and that everyone is as ‘valid’ and ‘worthy of expression’ and ‘needful of seeing’ as the rest.
So on this St. Valentine’s Day I am exquisitely close to the reality of love: unconditional love that includes all feelings, all thoughts, all circumstances. Love that generates the space for the ‘other’ and for me also to just BE.