As Valentine's Day approaches, we may be looking for ways to celebrate, whether we are in a relationship or single. For the couple, the traditional approach can include flowers, chocolate, a candlelight dinner, and maybe -- if you're getting saucy -- some lingerie to spice up the evening.
For the single, one possible approach may include directing angry thoughts at the co-worker who received a bouquet of flowers, sitting home and feeling bad for yourself (or pretending that you don't care), or totally shunning the holiday by perhaps having an "anti-Valentine's Day" party with your other single friends.
Either way, Valentine's Day seems to involve at least a hint of pressure and angst, whether it is about making a perfect romantic evening or being secure in one's singleness. We may walk away from Valentine's Day with a sigh of relief, glad that we don't have to worry about that again for another year.
But perhaps there is a better way, a way in which we can celebrate V-Day with joy and excitement, a way that taps into the true spirit of the occasion: love.
Love comes in many forms and is not exclusive to romantic love. Love exists between parents and children, siblings, friends, owners and pets, teachers and students. Love arises when you're listening to a favorite song, reading a good book, cooking a nutritious meal, or feeling grateful for the mailman who delivers your mail every day despite the freezing weather.
Beyond romantic love, there exists a Universal Love that is free from jealousy, neediness, or conditions. Valentine's Day is the one day each year designated to celebrate Love, so let's use this day to cultivate the Universal Love inside us all.
Consciously connecting with another is one way to tap into Universal Love that facilitates deeper intimacy in all types of relationships. For the couple, taking time to truly be with your partner will deepen your bond and allow you to see the other for who he/she really is, free of stories and preconceived notions. For the single, being present with the people around you, whoever they are, will create a deeper sense of connection inside of yourself and with your community.
Here are a few practices you can do this Valentine's Day to enliven Universal Love.
Touch each others' heart through hand-on-heart connection
By touching your partner's heart center with your hand and synchronizing your breathing you feel a sense of soothing and a state of calm.
Kiss often to awaken the endorphins
Practices that involve kissing, especially the upper lip, make the body release chemicals that heighten your sense of well-being and pleasure. Make a game this Valentine's Day to see how many times you can kiss each other.
Do the YabYum: Run love energy through each other's bodies
The human body runs on electricity. In the YabYum exercise, you sit intertwined facing each other with your chests and bellies touching. You breathe together and align with your partner's energy centers which will deepen your connectedness and increase your sense of love and intimacy.
Spoon to rejuvenate and reconnect
Use the spooning practice to nurture each other and as a physical form of communication. Spooning allows you to let go of interfering tension and harmonizes your mood.
Create fun and laughter
Laughter and orgasm originate from the same physiological center in your body. Both initiate the release of endorphins, which promotes a sense of well-being and mood elevation. Make practices, such as expressive dance or poetic improvisation, part of your Valentine's routine to set free your creative energies and experience joy.
Breathe to calm the unending chatter in your mind
All of us have some sort of constant commentary running in our heads. This chatter keeps us from fully being in the present moment -- the place where true intimacy arises. When we can drop out of our story, e.g., our mind chatter, we can be present with another and see that person for who she/he really is.
Relax and breathe deeply into your belly for four counts and discover how mindful awareness of your breathing can silence the unending chatter in your mind and be the key to health, vitality, and inner peace.
The above practices are ones you can do by yourself, with a friend, or with a romantic partner. These practices allow us to awaken our creative energy, tap into feelings of joy and love, and to connect more fully with others around us.
These practices can be done any day of the year, but are particularly special on Valentine's Day. Choose to create the holiday this year as a celebration of the Love that is all around!