Valentine’s Day Thoughts

Happy Valentine’s Day to you. The holiday devoted to love. A few thoughts for you today:

• Love takes so many forms. Our culture tends to elevate romantic love over other forms of love (and hey, I’m as much of a fan of romantic love as anyone else), but there is so, so much more, and we shortchange ourselves by elevating one form of love over others. Love for friends, family, pets, adopted family members, Mother Earth and the great cosmos and all of creation. Love for good honest hard work that’s making a difference. Love for the many ordinary yet breathtakingly beautiful moments that make up a day of life. Love is ALL GOOD! And it really is what makes the world go round.

• When we get too single-mindedly focused on “finding the right person,” we neglect the important task of cultivating other kinds of love and connection. Friendships, family relationships, neighborhood ties, connections with animals and nature. A robust social web made up of many different kinds of relationships helps people conserve resources (because friends and allies tend to share resources), and also helps create safer communities.

• Over the years I’ve noticed that many of my favorite “love songs” (that are intended to be about romantic love) can just as well be sung and listened to as devotional songs. And I really enjoy them that way as well as the originally intended way!

• I read a quote awhile back, something to the effect that “If you have no partner, then all of creation is your partner.” I actually think that’s true of us all, even those who DO have a partner. I love the idea that each and every one of us is living in partnership with all of creation. If you like this kind of thinking, you may also enjoy the poetry of Rumi and Hafiz, Persian ecstatic Sufi mystic poets of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, respectively.

• What does love have to do with low-footprint living? Well, aside from the fact that people with some kind of affectionate connection tend to share resources, which lowers our collective footprint, there’s also the fact that people who feel loved and emotionally secure are less likely to engage in impulse buying, binge drinking, hoarding, and other self-sabotaging behaviors. Whenever we’re able to get beyond using material stuff to fill an emotional void, it’s good for us and for the planet. (Note: It’s fine to enjoy material things. We just need to know the difference between taking pleasure in them and using them to fill an emotional void.)

Further Reading:

Who Was St. Valentine and What Is the True Meaning Behind February 14? (article in The Telegraph)

Poets United: A Community for Poets Who Blog (the piece on Rumi and Hafiz linked above comes from this blog)