St. Valentine passed in 269AD on February 14. According to many historians, St. Valentine walked on a similar path as Christ – spreading love consciousness wherever he went. He brought love into every situation, even if it wasn’t popular. It’s funny how this holiday has become so commercialized with the focus on romantic love. However, according to research, St. Valentine was all about bringing love into every situation and not so much about uplifting romance necessarily. He did perform secret wedding ceremonies for soldiers who were forbidden to marry, but this was more about justice than anything else. He preached to those imprisoned by the Roman Empire and he was eventually imprisoned by all of this.
Romantic love and passion are filled with excitement and certainly gets your senses going. When you find yourself “in love” or wanting to celebrate your love, Valentines Day is clearly a fun holiday to partake in.
It’s also an opportunity all week long to connect in the ways we show ourselves and others love. For some, this can be a sad event, especially if you don’t have someone special to spend it with, yet Valentines Day has also become a day to celebrate the love we have for our friends, family and ourselves.
What are the ways in which you love yourself?
Here’s a nice list to consider that may be a bit off the track for the romantic commercialized approach but I find super grounding and useful:
Time to check in with yourself and see how well you are taking care of you:
Balance/Flow: How well do you handle the stressors of life? Do you give yourself the time you deserve to let some steam out on a daily basis? Take stock.
Rest/Relaxation: How is your sleep? Are you getting in 6-9 hours/night? Do you feel rested when you wake up? Keep a chart if you need it.
Nourishment: Are you taking care of your sustenance? Do you eat at regular intervals? Do you have enough energy throughout the day or are you feeling like you’re dragging? It’s a good time to evaluate the kinds of foods you are putting into your body and how much water you are drinking.
Laughing: Do you do enough of it? If you don’t have others around to make you laugh then pop on a movie or Netflix series that does. Laughing can change your mood for the better.
Fresh Air/Sunshine: Going outside, even in the rain can give you a boost of the good hormones. Not only does it change your mood, it makes you feel good inside.
Some of the ways I have found that really help me with acts of love towards myself are these little life hacks:
Taking a bath. It’s so relaxing and can ease tension in those muscles caused by stress.
Walk in the forest. Hanging out with the trees is so nourishing. They have given us humans the gift of more oxygen so there’s that -- but also it restores a sense of wellbeing.
Stillness/Meditation/Deep Breaths: Sitting in stillness can calm the mind in such a profound way. Meditation is wonderful to reduce the stress hormones and clear out unhelpful thoughts that might arise. Deep breaths throughout each of these acts can help in such a significant way to remind you that stagnation is just a made up thing in our thought process. Everything happens with the breath and movement is restored when you make sure to stop and breath.
One last piece on St. Valentine -- he restored the vision of his jailors daughter. In the same fashion as Jesus Christ used his hands to heal, so did St. Valentine in this instance.
According to Lisa Bitel, Professor of History and Religion at the University of Southern California, who wrote in Smithsonian Magazine: ‘The last words Valentinus wrote were found in a note to Asterius’ daughter – signing it, “from your Valentine.”’
It sounds like that is how we got the trend of “Will you be my Valentine?” So next time you ask someone to be your Valentine, remind yourself of that love consciousness that St. Valentines had and the message he was bringing forth – to spread love every where he went and in every situation.
Let’s not wait another year to be reminded of how we can show up now and do this – with ourselves and towards others. There is indeed a ripple effect that happens and it becomes contagious.
Lisa Schneiderman is a UO member who helps people raise awareness for causes and positive messages that uplift humanity to a higher state of being.