As we look deeply into “Real Happiness” this month it seems ironic that we come across February 14 and the word “Happy.” The way this day is commercially celebrated – through the exchange of chocolate, flowers, jewelry, greeting cards, a romantic evening out – can satisfy us briefly but then leave us wanting the deeper kind of happiness we’re discovering this month through the practice. This deeper happiness comes from a different place. It comes from within.
This is no ordinary day for me. It’s tied to my Mother – the person who taught me how to love. My way of honoring her after she passed away was to claim Valentine’s Day on her behalf. For years, I hosted my closest friends at home for a conversation on, “The Power of Love.” Each year we discussed a different aspect of love. Everyone brought something to share: an insight; poem; song; or story. Of course there were victuals. We spent hours singing, dancing, talking, listening and laughing as we turned love inside out - exploring our thoughts, misconceptions, fears and vulnerabilities. We always ended the night with a commitment to remain mighty servants of love – sealing the gathering with big hugs.
How do you define love?
Early on, I remember offering Martin Luther King's clarifying definition of love. “When I speak of love, I am not speaking of some sentimental and weak response. I’m not speaking of that force which is just emotional bosh. I am speaking of that force which all of the great religions have seen as the supreme unifying principle of life. Love is somehow the key that unlocks the door which leads to ultimate reality.”
Before the day is over, list the names of the people you say you love and care about. Note how much time you spend with them. Indicate the quality of that time. Reveal whether or not you know their love language – admit whether or not you speak it. Recall the last time you confessed your love to them in word and deed. Then consider how you use the word “love” going forward. Help restore its power. As Willa Cather says, “Where there is great love, there are always miracles.”