Here’s a confession. I’m not a big Valentine’s Day fan. Oh, there are aspects of it I can get behind, like the increased odds of finding things with icing. But overall, I find V-Day a little too, well, pink and perky.
Before you start to analyze, although I have been ditched and dumped in my life, not once did it happen on Valentine’s Day. And I’m not the total Anticupid. I will give love its day to clean up, dress up and madly gush unrealistic expectations with every heartbeat.
But I think we can all agree it’s the grittier, street-tough love happening the other 364 days that really holds everything together. The kind of love that knows exactly how you like your coffee and is willing to roll out of a warm bed on a winter morning to bring you a cup. Or the love that sits with you when you’ve lost a friend, your health, a pet, a parent or just plain lost it. The love that cherishes your vulnerability and never turns it against you. The love that gets mad, and then gets over it.
I was talking to a true love veteran with four children and a 60-year marriage under her heart. She has been in love with her husband since she was 15 and now his memory is starting to abandon him. She wonders how long it will be until she is just something else he can’t remember, like what town they live in or whose house they just left. And, most importantly, can he love what he can’t remember? She told me about a trip to the grocery store when her sweetheart wandered away from her watchful eye and was found confused, cold, lost and embarrassed in the parking lot. As she watched a kind stranger lead him to the store’s front door, she told me she was thinking, “I wanted to hug him and kick his butt at the same time.” If we are honest, that’s where most of us live in love – shell-shocked and grateful all in the same breath.
Through yoga, we are introduced to our chakra system, seven spinning vortexes of energy in our upper body that provide gateways beyond our physical state and focal points for concentration. Each chakra is represented by a different color and the chakras’ locations in the body correspond to various nerve centers, glands and physiological systems including, of course, our heart, or Anahata chakra. Brainwashed by Valentine’s Day culture, I had a hard time at first grasping that the color of the heart chakra is green, not pink or red. Sometimes it is described as being outlined with a thin pink glow.
To me our spinning heart chakra could share the color of my home state’s shocking-green wheat fields that light up the landscape every spring, a ribbon of pink sunset balanced on the lush horizon. I love the idea of all of us walking around with green hearts thumping in our chests, circulating hope and promise, nourishing body and soul and transforming the winter landscape.
We were created by Love. It is our true essence. We are 6.8 billion love lights born with no other real purpose than to first remember that we are love and then love the person standing next to us in the checkout line. If we are lucky enough to know true love in our lives, then we have an even bigger responsibility to get our hearts spinning and pass it on.
In her book The Gifts of Imperfection, Brene Brown writes “…the root of the word courage is ‘cor’ – the Latin word for ‘heart.’ Courage originally meant ‘To speak one’s mind by telling all one’s heart.’” What if that became our Valentine’s Day intention? I think it would require a lot more chocolate, but it could change the world.
It’s no coincidence the Sanskrit word for the heart chakra “Anahata” means “unstruck sound.” Obviously, our hearts have a lot to say.
I guess pink, perky hearts will do on Valentine’s Day. But real love sweeps us off our feet when we timidly - courageously- hand someone our dark paper-thin heart cut with jagged edges and they lovingly tape it to the refrigerator door, gazing on it with wonder that we would offer such a precious gift. And then they do the most heroic thing - they make space for us in their own bruised heart as well.
Now, that’s a Valentine’s Day I can get behind.
(The photo in this post was taken from our back door as a storm rolled in over the winter wheat.)