Valentine‘s Day is just around the corner, and we all have our feelings about it. If we’re dating or (happily) married, we may be excited about the flowers, chocolates, and candlelit dinners. If we are single, we may feel dissatisfied, sad, or annoyed. (We may even retitle the holiday “Singles Awareness Day.”) Either way, is our tendency to define love in terms of romance making us miss a much bigger picture?
Karen McGregor, author of the upcoming book, The Tao of Influence, says yes and offers this list of relatively simple things you can do on Valentine‘s Day—and afterward—to start reconnecting with your pure love-power:
1. Take a Valentine‘s Day meditation break.
Just set aside 15-20 minutes to sit quietly and focus on your breath. If your mind wanders, that’s okay: The point is not to judge the thoughts that stream endlessly into your consciousness but to allow them to ebb and flow without getting emotionally hooked.
“Successful meditation occurs when there is no war between your head and your heart,” says McGregor. “This state is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself. If you’ve always ‘meant’ to try meditating but haven’t yet done so, Valentine‘s Day is the perfect day to start.”
2. Gift yourself a lovely journal.
Journaling is a powerful practice that can help you get in better touch with your thoughts and feelings, recognize goals, enhance gratitude, and pinpoint areas in your life that need work.
Find a journal that speaks to you (pick a gorgeous one that inspires you to write). Then set aside some time alone (even just 10 minutes) to write each day.
3. Sing and dance your way to gratitude.
As mentioned, many people keep a gratitude journal. The problem is, it can turn into a mindless checklist that simply creates the illusion of gratitude. If that happens, try singing and dancing instead. I
In his book The Mastery of Love, Don Miguel Ruiz says this is a natural expression of our love-power—which is why little children sing and dance. They haven’t yet developed the filters and fear that they’ll be judged. You can dance and sing in the privacy of your room or as you clean your house.
If you want to take it to the next level, suggests McGregor, consider signing up for a hip-hop or salsa class or joining a local choir.
4. Get rid of something that isn’t serving you.
Often without realizing it, we clutter and complicate our lives with things that create chaos and drama. It can be anything from too much “stuff” in our homes, to too many commitments, to the wrong job or relationship.
A great expression of self-love is to pinpoint something to purge.
- Do a closet clean out or a social media detox.
- Turn down a project.
- Draw a much-needed boundary.
- Just take one step to simplify your life and free up your energy.
5. Grieve losses.
This may not feel very Valentine-y, but when we’re changing our life for the better, we must first release what was. Otherwise we’ll get stuck and block the clarity we need to move forward.
“Pain can be released through the portal of the heart,” says McGregor. “When you focus on your heart, a desire to release the pain of the past may arise. Even better, your heart knows how to do that without your mind interrupting.”
6. If you’re single, stop searching for “the one.”
It’s common to believe that there’s one person out there who can finally see us for who we really are. But searching for our perfect match is a chase that’s based on an illusion.
“I love romance, but I’ve come to believe that it’s usually founded in the need to be special,” says McGregor. “People search for ‘the one’ their entire lives, never escaping the constant craving for specialness. Never confuse love with specialness. Love supports a life of joy and love-power; ‘specialness’ impedes it.
“In that same vein, it’s time to revisit the definition of ‘soul mate,'” says McGregor. “Soul mates are actually not romantic partners but people destined to help you grow by presenting you with challenging personality traits and actions you don’t like..”
7. If you’re in a romantic relationship, start working toward a cause you believe in, together.
There is no greater calling for a romantic relationship than to create a better world. In fact, many millennials are moving in this direction.
Rather than being absorbed by one another, they are breaking the old paradigm of romantic co-dependency and choosing instead to be inter-dependent, working together for causes that uplift humanity.
This new paradigm of relationship lets people shift from a state of isolation within their own dramas, fears, and wounds, which are experienced as they get to know their partner, to becoming a presence in the world.
“Talk with your partner and choose a project to participate in,” says McGregor. “Maybe arrange to visit an orphanage to play games with or tutor school children, or plan a fundraiser event to benefit the homeless. Think about the passions you both share and start there. You will be amazed by how deeply a project rooted in love-power can transform your lives.”
While Valentine‘s Day is a good time to think about connecting to your love-power, or even take a symbolic first step, it’s actually a journey you take every day, all year long.