This was the first year in what felt like a century that I did not have to purchase valentines or help in the creation of valentines for either of my daughters’ classes at school. It felt a bit like winning a mini lottery, though I did have to remind myself why it felt like I was forgetting something. I did not miss the Hallmark messages or the scratch and sniff hearts.
My youngest daughter woke up early to write individual letters to her closest friends at school and asked to purchase winter clothing for a love collection for the homeless in our community. My oldest daughter took part in a “Secret Cupid” gift exchange, her new group of friends in middle school deciding to give a little something to a friend. She spent time thinking about a gift that matched the personality and interests of the friend whose name she picked and woke up with anticipation for the giving. I was involved very minimally, and instead watched my daughters put thought and care into this day. The relief I felt in not having to buy boxes of cards was met with the realization that the love still flowed and it flowed in a much more meaningful way. None of us need Valentine’s Day to see love in action, of course, but it was a welcome surprise – extra kindness took place not because there was a class list of names sent home, but because my daughters chose to show extra compassion today.
This past weekend, my body was holding too much. Life has been a bit too hard and too busy, and I felt the edges of my spirit fatigued and frayed. My family was all eager for outdoor time, so we headed to the woods for the afternoon, knowing our new puppy would love the scents and sounds as well. I knew the woods would offer something for my spirit, as long as I paid attention. I was drawn to root systems, a collection of mushrooms, a new pine tree beginning to grow out of the center of an old pine tree. I marveled at how complicated it was, and how filled with connection it was, little systems growing together or the roots of an old oak tree woven into our path.
I have been thinking about connection and expansion, how we take up space in the world, how we ebb and flow into one another. My walk in the woods on Sunday reminded me, a shared time with a circle of radiant women during the week reminded me of rest and at the same time called me back to the in and out of my own breath. Watching my daughters create valentines for people they love without being expected to, I remembered how simple and beautiful gratitude for another person is – it doesn’t need to be wrapped with a bow and we certainly don’t have to wait for an invitation. Walking in my neighborhood this evening, my heart swelled when a child opened the upstairs window of her house and yelled out to us, “Happy Valentine’s Day!” Dear loves, we are connected all of the time, if only we remember.
On this day of hearts, my wish is that we remember our own resonance and how we are connected, even when we don’t see it. Begin by paying attention to how you respond. There are words all around us working to divide us, hopeful to scare us. Are you remembering connection – with others, with nature, with whatever calls you to make this world a little bit better? Sing a song with someone, and you will instantly remember that there is abundance to be known. Watch a child write a valentine to a friend, and you will remember the importance of telling a fellow pilgrim that you see and honor their light. Take a walk in the woods and be reminded of how beautifully systems work together and how endings meet beginnings. Then lean into that space and know it is always there, on any day, at any moment. There is always a dance and you are always part of it, even in a season of stillness or change. What you feed will grow.
On this day of hearts and love, remember the pulse of your own body, how it is always calling you to pay attention to the multitudes you contain and to the resonance that exists around you in another person, in a dream you can still begin, in the secrets of the forest.
It’s a good day to remember.