When you live life noticing all of the love that is within and surrounding you, every day is Valentine’s Day. Once upon a time, someone had the idea to assign it a date and bring attention to it by selling roses, dinners, confections and expectations, yet what it represents is far more rewarding and worth reaching for. Flowers wilt, candy is eaten and meals are devoured. A life perpetually lived in love creates cherished moments and a lifestyle that never ceases to generate bliss. Since I had to backtrack to find this, it took a bit of reflection and practice. Now, I truly believe that this is how humans were born to live. We just forget it fast.
I had the pleasure of attending a Valentine’s Day celebration at a retirement home while visiting a friend who is in his nineties. At 55, I was by far one of the babies in the room. I smiled from ear to ear as these folks cheerfully played music trivia while trying to guess love-themed songs throughout time. Then they would sing them, their eyes filling with joyful tears from happy memories. I was excited to be with them in this room filled with humans who understand what it means to feel love…the deep and committed fairy-tale kind. They do not analyze, question, doubt, discount or quickly discard it, but nurture and appreciate it as an unconditional gift. Yes, although the concept is disappearing from our culture, I too believe in this happily ever after.
I have a collage of family pictures in my kitchen. The center square says, “Love anchors the soul.” Ahh yes, but it also frees it. To go out into the world and discover what and who we love takes courage; to show it, even more. We are able to expend our energy on finding, feeling, experiencing, doing, sharing. Driven by that love, there are no limits. And the beauty of that is, we can learn to offer it whether it is returned or not. That is where it feels the strongest, when the rewards for that courage are the highest.
Recently in our community a homeless man named Larry froze to death in a bus shelter during a blizzard. For decades he frequented the local coffee shops and was easily recognized because of his signature dreadlocks. An outpouring of love and sympathy reverberated throughout western New York as we learned of his passing. A local reporter wrote, “Larry died in a blizzard in a village where he worked his way into the hearts of people who tried to clothe and feed him. Those people are asking themselves why he died. But I know they are the reason why he lived.”
That is the reason we all live….to love and to be loved. And we spend so much time ignoring this. We deny it for ourselves and desperately seek it out in others when it is right inside of our hearts and in our faces. Pink paper heart-laced cards and chocolate are a nice gesture, but they can never take away the power that one glance in a mirror with a smile can generate as the closest reminder to where love really lies. Only then can we truly pass it on. Try that today to recapture that long lost feeling and remind yourself how loved you really are. Then watch the magic begin.
FROM THE SANCTUARY
Nature has been abundant these past few days. I made suet and hung it out for the birds. Days passed before anyone touched it, and the squirrels found it first, hanging upside down from their tails, entertaining me with their antics in enjoying it. The deer were out in the largest herd I have seen here. Eleven in total were feeding along the creek bank and gracefully jumping across. Meanwhile, in the creek, the ducks are pairing up and squawking and paddling against the current. I’m hoping this is the sign of an early spring. March is on the way!
I met with fellow Allegany Nature Pilgrimage committee members to plan this year’s event. It is a pleasure to be interacting with so many other nature nerds in this endeavor. If you’re looking to kick off your summer experience with a fabulous weekend in the great outdoors in a family friendly environment, check out our website for more information.
Meanwhile, know and share the love!