What is love?
What is love?
This question will bring up many different answers for each of us.
As we launch full steam into the week that has been over commercialised to represent romantic love in many nations, sometimes we neglect to pause and ponder what love is really about.
Let’s remove the tokens of love, the cards, the chocolates, the tables for two.
Let’s soften the edges of the symmetrical red hearts.
Let’s instead come back to basics.
I read an article on psychologytoday.com by Dr Deborah Anapol and she beautifully summed up love as this:
“Love cares what becomes of you because love knows that we are all interconnected.
Love is inherently compassionate and empathic.
Love knows that the "other" is also oneself.
This is the true nature of love, and love itself cannot be manipulated or restrained.
Love honours the sovereignty of each soul.
Love is its own law.”
I’m not sure I can truly add much more than this, but I want to home in on one of her points raised above.
Love knows that the “other” is also oneself.
For most of my life I shirked away when February 14th came around.
I walked fast past shop fronts and avoided bars and restaurants until it was all over.
Then through my personal yoga practice I had a self-realising moment one year, that I could use this day and the extra surge of love in the atmosphere to nourish myself.
I bought myself some flowers, my favourite food, and some bath salts.
On the day in question, I went for a long walk along the River Thames, stopping for a coffee and cake on the way. I had a lovely long soak in the bath when I got back to my flat and then cooked myself a delicious meal and laid the table beautifully with the flowers and candles.
As I sat and slowly ate my meal, listening to some chilled music, in my pjs, I paused regularly to acknowledge me.
In between mouthfuls of gratitude to the producers of the food on my plate, I thanked myself for being who I am.
I called out my strong points and raised a glass to them (oh yes wine was included)
I recalled my vulnerable moments and thanked myself for getting through them and for the lessons they taught me.
I giggled at the silly things I did and promised to do more of them.
And in this moment, I created one of the most powerful self-loving rituals for myself.
Solo dates are now a regular thing for me.
They might not be the full-on self-loving ritual that I created that February, but they are special moments where I take time out to honour myself and recognise my inner love.
I say this a lot in my yoga classes, but it is hard to be a truly loving and supportive human to another, if we are neglecting our own needs.
It’s the same as the safety advice issued on aeroplanes before take-off, “should the air masks drop, be sure to fit your own before assisting others.”
It’s not that you won’t be able to love another if your own self love is limited but it’s like Dr Anapol said, “Love cares what becomes of you because love knows that we are all interconnected.”
Fuelling and filling your own personal love foundation is a fundamental feature of feeling nourished, supported, and connected.
If your personal love cup is full first, imagine the depth of the love you can offer another?
Love really is all around us, you just need to be open to let it in, in whatever guise it comes for you. And maybe we can find a way to make February 14th a day to celebrate love for EVERYONE especially ourselves.
What will you do for yourself this Valentines?
Sending much love this week and always to you all and hope to see you on the mat very soon.