Cultivating that Loving Feeling

Posted by Corrie Bradley on

Valentines Day is just around the corner— like it or not!  A holiday that I have hated for the majority of my life and I know that I am not alone.  It’s a day to remind single folks of their cold beds, to put undue pressure on relationships in the early stages, and to shine a glaringly nasty light on the partner that constantly forgets to do a damn thing on this random day in February.

It’s taken me years to reconcile my dark feelings about Valentine's Day because even if I don’t like it, it comes every year.  Now that my life has taken me to be an owner of a personal lubrication company, it seems my reconciliation on celebrating the “romance holiday” has been entirely inevitable.  

The shift began one cold and blustery day in mid-February.  I was walking to the neighborhood coffee shop with my newborn child in tow feeling all kinds of fowl.  When there in front of me, on the icy sidewalk, lay a perfect heart thoughtfully crafted out of thin metal, painted and left for the public to enjoy.  This tiny gesture of love and art shifted my whole day.  When I opened the door of the cafe I was bursting with joy and hope in humanity. The man in front of me sneakily bought my coffee just because we shared a smile.  I then bought the person behind me coffee and the joy continued.  

This simple moment really got me thinking about Valentines Day and the profound importance of having a day to celebrate or remind us to be loving.  If we were able to consider the holiday perfectly placed at the mid-point of winter, the time when darkness has begun to wear on us all, the time when humans require more love than usual, perhaps we could mount up a true Love Revolution for all the humans in our lives.  

Some ideas on how to cultivate that loving feeling for the one you’re with and for all the ones you’re just in it with.  

Say thank you 

We are in so many different types of relationships every day: teachers, gas station attendants, neighbors, lovers, servers, parents, friends.  It’s so common that we go about our business without really looking up.  It’s easy to take the buzz of activity around us for granted and not acknowledge the precious individuals that we get to interact with.  Taking the time to make eye contact and acknowledge the work and the effort of the ones you come in contact with can make a world of difference at feeding the love in them and the love in you.  Gratitude is paramount for feeding love.  

Random acts of kindness

Random gifts given unexpectedly by neighbors or strangers have stuck with me and inspired me my entire life.  I remember coming home to a shoveled walk on a blizzardy night, no clue what angel took the time, but that level of thoughtfulness brought tears to my eyes.  I was inspired for a brief while after this to do anonymous acts of kindness—leaving a flower on a windshield,  dropping an anonymous gift on the porch of someone I knew to be struggling, raking my neighbors leaves while they were at work, etc.  I remember feeling so light and fulfilled in these secret endeavors—a true sense of connection and love for the people.  

Write Love Letters

When I was in college I lived with my best friend Kristi.  We would leave one another notes of love and praise on the bathroom mirror often.  It was effortless but the impact of this gesture on both the writer and the reciever was profound.  Imagine receiving a letter randomly from a friend or your partner that was full of praise for every part of you.  Details about the person that you are all noted, listed and appreciated.   I would imagine as well that the person writing the letters would be filled to the brim with love and gratitude after getting to take the time to contemplate and list all of the things they love about you.  If this exercise feels terribly daunting, perhaps start by writing a love letter to you.  Take your time, dig deep, find all of the things about you that you know are unique, incredible, and necessary for the world.  The parts of you that you have forgotten about but you knew to be true as a child.  The parts of you that you wish the world would see first.  You are incredible, tell yourself.  

Valentines Day is all about Love and Love is what makes the world go round.  We have made the mistake of celebrating only the romantic idyllic love portrayed in cheesy movies and skipping the fundamental need for love in all forms from our human family.  This darkest and coldest of months, let’s warm our hearts with wild and silly gestures of love for all.  

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