Yesterday was Valentine's Day. In our house, we had two breakups in the past year so the mood was not celebratory to begin with. The first three people to wish me a happy valentine's day were my trainer, my tax accountant and the bank teller. The wishes felt a little hollow. Then my children's former babysitter called to wish us all love. I was starting to feel better. In the evening, a close friend invited me for an early drink to discuss our upcoming trip. We met at a quiet French restaurant that we both usually love. Last night, the casement windows were covered in hearts, the tables dotted with votive candles--and to top it off, there was a string trio. (Luckily, the music hadn't started). We sat at the bar--all the tables were reserved--and watched as patrons arrived two by two, the man of the couple often bearing gifts or flowers. I had intended to give my friend a red velvet cupcake but my kids ate them all. She had bought salted dark chocolate (my new favorite) for but didn't want to stop at home to pick it up. Her brother's widow, who lives in the apartment below, surely would have stopped her to talk this evening as she does many others. Being alone has not been easy for her these past months.. My guess is that there are as many people who dread Valentine's Day as those who welcome it. (That's excluding bakers, restauranteurs, florists and chocolatiers, of course.).We all know it's a made-up holiday but knowing that doesn't help those who don't have a special someone (or, worse, have someone not so special). Before I went to bed (alone) I happened to read a quote from Jack Kornfield in a book of daily offerings my sister had given me and had a second life realization that gave me a whole new perception of Valentine's Day--as a day not about others or others honoring us but about ourselves. Here it is:
Adult life brings its own spiritual tasks and openings. We become more caring and responsible for our family, our community, our world. We discover the need for vision and feel a strong desire to fulfill our own unique expression of life. As we mature, a natural contemplative quality enters our life. We can sense a movement within to seek periods of refection and to gain perspective, to stay in touch with our heart.