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the gift of love
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The Gift of Love


“I heard once that real love doesn’t ask what is in it for me; it just gives unconditionally. It just tries to take the weight out of somebody else’s pack, lessen his load, and if it gets reciprocated, that’s great, but that isn’t what you did it for.”
Donald Miller, Through Painted Deserts: Light, God, and Beauty on the Open Road

So, how was your Valentine's Day? We all have relationships--whether romantic or otherwise. Friends, family members, coworkers, the cashier at our favorite shopping destination or the food server at your favorite restaurant (incidentally, please tip your servers well!). We have a responsibility to love ourselves--and others--not just on VD day...ahem...Valentine's Day...but every day! It is our sacred duty to spread love wherever we are, in whatever way we are capable!

I was recently asked to participate in a fabulous project called The Kindness Conversations, spearheaded by the gifted, generous and gentle Noelani Musicaro--someone who believes in spreading the ripple effect of kindness throughout the world. In doing so, I was reminded of how acts of love and kindness help us to feel audible and visible, facilitating healing on physical, mental and spiritual levels. Check out my short video here.

True confessions:  I had a cool Valentine's Day message written up and ready to go for you. I must report that It WENT alright...RIGHT INTO CYBERSPACE! As my  mom would say, sometimes I am "a day late and a dollar short!"

Alas, my attempt to recapture some of the sentiments (after all, love is timeless!)

As anyone who is not living under a rock knows, this past week ushered in Valentine's Day, a day which hopefully left you feeling loved and valued. The barrage of advertisements/commercials seem to pick up their frenzied pace as the day gets closer. Messages are everywhere.  All too often, the over-materialized holiday leaves us feeling disappointed, sad and melancholic.

For those with a "significant other," it is often a day which comes with the pressure of being expected to anticipate the desires of someone you love every single day .It is said that, if a couple is experiencing difficulty and is "on the verge," Valentine's Day may very well push them off the proverbial edge. Differences in energy and romanticism are pretty hard to hide when one person views the day as an opportunity to love and be loved back, while the other feels that it is "just another day." I don't know who does these studies, but break-ups are 47% more common on Valentine's Day than any other day of the year!

On the one hand, we need to find ways to take the time to tangibly demonstrate our love much more often than on holidays.On the other hand...why NOT take the time to make this day special? No one wants to be taken for granted, and someone has to take the first step to allowing their loved ones to feel audible and visible (I did not misspeak when I said, "loved ones"--remember, that there are many types of love besides that of couples!).

For those shackled with the pain of loss or who are unable to be with their loved ones, the day can be particularly difficult to navigate....after all, the advertisements are everywhere, along with cutesy heart-shaped chocolates and cards and sundries.

So many, when faced with the depths of their own sorrow, tend to idealize the lives of others, peering with life-weary eyes at the pictures posted by others, all the while imagining the lives of others to be full, satisfying and without any of the disappointments they currently experience. Fantasy can be good or bad...but it is tough seeing clearly when you've been rubbing your eyes all day...either from tears or lack of sleep!

The day is gone (until next year, anyway), but the temptation to feel sorry for ourselves can linger. Those in unfulfilling relationships envy those who are single or assume that, with a different partner, life would be far better. And maybe it would! Or...just maybe...the dance would be recreated in the next relationship (after all, we bring ourselves to the party every time!). In the meantime, step back from the computer screen long enough to stretch and gain perspective. Concentrate on what you can do to make this moment better. Call someone you know is alone, take steps to cultivate your own interests...Take time to set up your foundation by treating yourself the way you would like to be treated.

Too often, we bemoan the fact that there is no one to help us...but what about that which we can do (not to be redundant)!
  • Give thanks--and keep a gratitude journal--even if you only write one word per day in it!
  • Be sure to get some quality sleep, dimming the lights toward bedtime and getting enough hours...at least four out of seven nights, for starters I say, as I break all the rules here--tonight is the three "off nights," apparently).
  • Be KIND--to others AND yourself! It is not about perfection, but progress--so celebrate your successes and forgive yourself! Try your best--and let go of the rest.
  • Keep connected! So many criticize the cell phone culture of our times. I say--use it to CONNECT, rather than HIDE. If you find yourself turning down social opportunities because you would rather hide behind a screen, I am worried. If you use the screen to reach out and stay in touch with those you weren't going to be able to call anyway--go ahead!
  • Allow yourself to watch that movie, curl up and read that book, enjoy that massage...whatever you would do if that perfect partner was by your side! Often, it is precisely when we are most comfortable with ourselves that opportunity knocks!
In the words of Carl Jung, "Throw the dream out in front of you and walk into the dream."

Whatever you dream, dream BIG! Spread love (and smear some on yourself!). Love changes everything.

Love, peace, health, hugs & happiness,

jani


 
Copyright © 2015 the live and be well coach, All rights reserved.


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