Valentine’s Day Challenge: 14 Gestures of Love
By Monica Wilcox
My single girlfriend has been counting down the days until Valentine’s Day since mid-January, as if it’s a court date for a romantic misdemeanor. Now that the calendar is flashing February, she’s warped herself into a V-day panic. WHAT will she do with herself on this dreaded day? Sit alone in her condo, slurping bowls of Special K, watching reruns of Sex and the City? Huddle in a crowded bar with her single girl posse? For Anita, “love” has become a battle hymn.
Here’s the odd thing, I’m just as disgruntled with Valentine’s Day, even though I deeply love my husband of 18 years. Manufactured romance just doesn’t do it for me; like a Husky pulling the Hallmark sled, dashing to the store for some F.C.C (flowers, chocolates, and a card). Spending around $128 (men average $166 while women average $90) before my husband and I retire to a restaurant to suffer through a 90 minute wait for a small table near the kitchen. Valentine’s Day is as poorly scripted as a XXX flick.
Somewhere along the way (probably when caveman A noticed cavewoman A kept dragging flowers into their cave) we got off track in this love thing. We’ve stopped listening to the call of our hearts, beating the same song every moment of the year: love, love, love. Tell me that love, to give AND to receive, is not your life’s highest purpose? That’s the IT, the WHOLE, the ALL: just love. If you were to unabashedly love every day until the end, would that not be a life well lived? Would that be love well owned? And here is the miracle, you don’t have to have “romance” to experience love, because you’ve got loads of impressive stuff within you waiting to be loved, and if you’ve already paid homage to your own soul, there are a trillion other life forms on this planet ready to share your heart.
Don’t let another day pass, February or not, before you open your heart. I’m challenging you to commit to 14 gestures of love over the next 14 days; simple gestures that pack a lot of love with a minimal amount of effort. If you promise not to let a lack of a mate stop you, I’ll promise I won’t let having a long-term mate stop me. Can you imagine where this could take our spirits, our energy, and our lives if we were to really celebrate the greatest emotion we will ever share? Go ahead; let’s toss our love pebble out to see how far the rings will travel.
The Doing — Love Thyself
To hear “I LOVE YOU!” from your own heart — it took me a long time to hear that, entirely too long. To know that you are more than enough — just as you are, before the name or titles, the relationships and achievements — is one of the hardest and mightiest things we can grasp. I believe to be on this planet as a mysterious bulk of biological mass working in perfect synchronicity, is a gift of love in and of itself; a chance to experience, learn anew, feel, and sense. Consider this — I can sense the power of an ocean through the tide crashing on my purple painted toenails…sipping a fruity drink…eating chocolate. Now that’s a Valentine!
Are you squeamish at the idea of loving your own soul first and foremost? Don’t you think it’s time, (cue The Judds) don’t you think it’s time? Close your eyes, take a deep gut busting breath and speak the words “I love you.” Take another deep breath, and think these words, then think them three more times. Now sit in silence and say it not with your mind or your voice, but with your heart. There, see how sweet self love is — and it was calorie free and didn’t require a reservation. You’ve already accomplished your first gesture of love.
Now let’s get creative. Write a love letter to your soul. Spend an extra hour one morning trying a new hairstyle. Take a nap in the grass and sunshine at the city park. Plant your favorite inspirational quotes in the pockets of your summer clothes. Give yourself that romantic gesture you’ve always hoped someone else would do for you? Why wait another day to tell your soul how happy you are to BE?
The Doing — Love a Stranger
One of the greatest gestures of love is an unconditional one. Don’t let an opportunity to commit a gesture of love for a perfect stranger pass you by, especially if you can stay anonymous. Pay for the person’s order behind you at the drive-thru. Tuck a valentine under the front wiper of every car you park beside in the next two weeks. Doorbell ding your neighbors with heart shaped sugar cookies. The crazy, cool miracle of committing a gesture of kindness for a stranger is the state of giddy joy that overcomes you as you sneak away.
The Doing — Love Something
What do you love: your garden, a pet, yoga, cooking, crafting, Facebook? Commit a gesture of love by showing your gratitude to have this wonderful thing in your life and all the joy it has brought you. Fertilize those roses. Take Frisky to the dog park. Fit in an extra class. Craft a special something for another. If you love something deeply, make sure the Universe knows how much it means to you!
The Doing — Love Someone
Why do we have to be 7 to give everyone in our life a valentine? When did love become restricted to a romantic partner? Who is it that you think of often but never have time to contact? Who do you love but keep forgetting to tell? Commit a gesture in the next two weeks for every long term relationship you have: romantic or not. Mail them homemade valentines. Meet for coffee. Send a text reminding them which trait you love most about them. Leave a meaningful quote on their office desk with their favorite candy. Even better, do something kind for someone they love.
Taking up the Challenge
Go ahead, redefine Valentine’s Day. Take up the challenge with me and see if 14 days of loving gestures will change your February. What do you think happens to our soul when we focus on love? Do you think it may trigger those who receive it to embrace love themselves? Be careful, you may enjoy this so much; you’ll be spilling love right into Christmas.