Why can’t Valentine’s Day be everyday?


Valentine’s day has come and gone and I’m sure it made a lot of people happy, but it also left some feeling sad and lonely. I must admit I used to really get into the whole concept of needing to get a big Valentine heart filled with chocolates and a romantic card filled with loving accolades. I still find it a lovely day to spend with the one I love, but divorce, maturity on my part, and a deeper understanding of what love means has given me a different perspective about Valentine’s Day.

I really want to work on everyday being a Valentine Day. That probably sounds foolish on some level, but if we truly believe in the fact that to love and be loved is the metaphor of the Valentine message than trying to have it on a daily basis is not that farfetched.

We bandy the word love about to describe a myriad of things we enjoy. “I love chocolate, movies, eating out, going on a vacation, sleeping in, and on and on. How often have you heard people say those things? But “real” love is not about the aforementioned. They’re really about things that delight. I can delight in a variety of things. To love requires a host of ingredients.

Scientists have discovered one of the ingredients by studying prairie voles. “The prairie vole is special for having pair bonding with its partner. The male has a continuous contact with its female, which lasts for all of their lives. If the female prairie vole dies, the male does not look for a new partner. Moreover, this constant relationship is more social than sexual. For this bonding to occur, the male must stay one day with the female after they breed. “

The outcome of this study is related to the hormones oxytocin and vasopressin. Human beings have the same propensity. When we touch, and cuddle we release these hormones which help to bond us. Does this all sound like “too much information”. On the contrary I find it fascinating. Love needs touching and hugging to sustain it.

Touch is an important facet, but there are also a list of other ingredients which help couples stay in right relationship to one another. The following traits have been designated to be a critical part of a lasting relationship by the Gottman Institute, leading researchers in the field of sustainable partnerships. Individuals who have endured the ups and downs of long-term relationships have strong friendships, trust, make allowances for each others foibles, create and help to foster each others dreams, use admiration instead of contempt ,manage conflict, have a shared value system, and nurture one another through gratitude and positive messages. And for me one of the most important is to learn to laugh together often!

 

 

 

 

           

Being in the Moment Isn’t Always Easy. Just Breathe!


I often heard my mother discuss the fact that she felt time was going more quickly as she aged. I often thought it couldn’t go quick enough. But then I was young and rarely reflected on the fact that we are not here on a permanent basis. Lately I find myself connecting to many of my mothers’ statements especially the ones around how life seems to whoosh by with each passing year. It seems that I just had Thanksgiving dinner and now it’s here again. How did that happen? And Christmas is just around the corner. Of course it’s not easy to forget either holiday since the media relentlessly feeds us their ads to buy, buy, buy starting in late August.  Christmas decorations are already up and we haven’t even cleared the Thanksgiving dinner. Black Friday is closing in on us, but now there’s some stores that will be open at 9Pm Thanksgiving night in case you have an obsessive need to go to a store and leave your guests in the living room. Forget hanging out and reflecting on the day’s gathering. It’s much better to think about what you’ll be going to purchase while you’re chewing  on a drumstick. We have turned life into a constant need to access the future without living in the present. This shift in how our culture lives their lives creates a great deal of stress  My mother and her generation seemed to savor each holiday without feeling obligated to discuss the one coming. I have talked to many people about this phenomenon and it may be time to reflect on spending more time honoring the moments we’re in rather than anticipating or dreading the ones that are coming. This is not an easy practice in a society that has come to value “doing” rather than “being”.  However, perhaps the gift you may want to access this season is reminding yourself throughout the day to just breathe. When you’re stressed out you breathe more rapidly. The simple act of inhaling and exhaling slowly and purposefully allows you to be aware of the present moment. Every moment that we honor with a deep breath allows us to feel more peaceful by helping to quell the inner critics that never stop reminding us of “what’s next”.Try it when you’re at the Thanksgiving dinner table and Aunt Hattie tells you the turkey is dry, or when you’re lying in bed worried about how you’re going to get all your shopping done, or in dozens of stressful situations that pass and soon become part of the tapestry of life. Just breathe!