Archive for February, 2010
This video illustrates the courage and determination of a man without the use of his legs. He has developed physical and emotional agility and strength beyond what most of us can do. This man is heroic in his relationship to himself and to life. Check this out for two minutes.
Wheelchair BMX – Funny bloopers are a click away
This podcast is an introduction to my upcoming book: Breaking Through Concrete: “The Gift of Having Mentally Ill Parents.”
Do you want suggestions for celebrating Valentine’s Day? Here are some things to give, whether or not you have a partner:
1. Make a commitment to fall in love over and over again with YOURSELF.
Love is a commitment, not a feeling. Infatuation is a feeling. Here are commitments:
a) Take care of you. Notice self-sabotage. Catch yourself making yourself wrong and STOP it. Do all the healthful things. Do healthful things with the purpose of loving yourself.
Some people do the healthful things and they do it out of fear, or as rigid discipline without any self-love. Do it to be good to yourself.
b) Do all the kind and generous things to yourself, like using skin cream and moisturizers with healthful ingredients. When you do it, acknowledge that you are loving yourself. Then you can thank yourself as you would a friend.
c) Look beautiful for you. Do that for no reason other than it makes you feel good about you, not out of fear that if you don’t look your very best, people won’t accept you.
d) Do something creative. Make a collage that excites you. Use your best china, or your most comfortable sheets. Get some inexpensive watercolor paints at a childrens’ store and paint your heart out (pun intended). Do a dance. Do something you haven’t done ever. Or here’s one: do nothing. That would be hard for some of you. So do something you don’t allow yourself to do, like watch a movie in the middle of the week, or read a book that you don’t usually take time for. Get a massage, or give and receive one. Anyone can massage someone else as long as you are not claiming to be therapeutic.
2. Make a commitment to fall in love over and over again with LIFE.
Do fun things everyday and use Valentine’s Day to remind yourself. Be grateful. Appreciate being alive. Connect with your senses. Enjoy nature especially in midwinter. Nurture indoor plants. Call a friend. Decorate your world with your loving touch. Fix up your home as a sanctuary for joy, peace and renewal, or whatever else is important to you. Use your imagination. If you say you don’t have imagination, you are lying to yourself. We all can create these two kinds of love.
IF YOU DO HAVE A PARTNER
3. Do all the above and make a commitment to fall in love over and over again with that one special partner. Nurture your relationship. Know how he or she wants to be loved and give it to them as much as possible. Have set times you’re your partner to give and receive. Make your partner feel that she or he is the most important, most valuable person in your life. If your partner doesn’t get that from you, it is in your best interest and in your partner’s to give that gift. If she or he is not that important, then there is serious trouble in your relationship. It is easy to give a physical gift compared to a commitment. If your other is not worth it, you may be saying you are not worth having the relationship of your dreams. You have to be the best partner to get the best partner and you both have to make that possible. You can give yourself the gift of getting your priorities straight by sorting out what is most important to you and doing that. Sometimes we take a partner for granted. On the other hand, some of us put up with things we should not.
IF YOU DO NOT HAVE A PARTNER
4. Besides falling in love with yourself and your life, jazz up your friendships, especially your single friends of both sexes. Show appreciation to a friend. Get in a group. Hang out more often with close friends like the friends in the show: Sex in the City. Love shows up in all forms. You may think you want the romance only. Romance is wonderful, and as some married people will tell you, it is not the only thing. Whatever you are single, divorced, widowed or married, you can celebrate how things are.
If someone asks you how your love life is, you immediately think romance. There is so much more. There is humanitarian love, community love, sisterly love, brotherly love, friendship love, and self-love. Were you taught that self love was wrong, and that you should not love yourself, just others? Does it still feel like heresy to say that you need to love yourself?
Do you wonder about the commandment to love others as yourself? If you are not supposed to love yourself, then loving others as yourself is not loving very much. You may have missed that whole thing about loving yourself. If it is in that commandment, then where or when is that supposed to happen? You cannot give away what you don’t have, so it’s essential to love self.
With the plethora of love forms, we have just one day a year dedicated to love. And we limit it to romantic love. How about if we bring Valentine’s Day back to love in general?
If Valentine’s Day was about love in general, then what would it look like? How would you celebrate? What is one thing you would do?
As one woman I polled suggested, what if Valentine’s Day was about appreciation? One man I polled said he would like to see it about community. Right on target. So my thoughts are not unique on this topic. I just want to start a movement where this day takes on a more expanded meaning so everyone can feel good about it.
The smallest recognition means so much. Gratitude is the best gift. Give it everyday. Make a promise to someone close to show love a certain way. Give a Love Coupon. You could write a love letter to someone, sharing how he or she contributes to you.
Be grateful for yourself. Everything else flows from that. Go take care of yourself and that will give everyone else permission to nurture themselves. It’s out of self-care that we have the energy and the love to nurture others authentically and not out of obligation. HONOR YOUR COMMITMENT to yourself.
Many thanks to those that participated in the Valentine’s Day Survey.
HAPPY VALENTINE’S EVERYDAY!!
We can ignore Valentine’s Day. We cannot get away from it entirely. It is all around us.
Even those who have a partner tend to walk gingerly thru Valentine’s Day. The mixed feelings don’t end when you have a partner. Most couples have one partner who likes Valentines and one who doesn’t. “Why celebrate when you have a partner already,” he thinks. Besides, flowers cost twice as much during Valentines day and what women eats candy anymore when she’s expected to be stick thin? So what’s a guy to do?
What if celebrating meant more than going out to dinner? How many couples can do that if they have to get a babysitter for children at home?
Since Valentine’s Day exists, let’s do something smart with it. For those who resist it or those who like it, we can recycle its use and make it work for everyone. Spend this Valentine’s Day in a new joyful way, celebrating love as it could be.
It gives us perspective to see how it started, so let’s look at the origins. It’s actually a very nebulous beginning. No wonder Valentine’s Day is a challenge, no one knows for sure how it started, or when. There are at least 3 versions of a martyred St Valentine or Valentus. One story says that he officiated at marriages, which was an affront to Emperor Claudius who wanted only single men in the army. So performing marriages resulted in shrinking the pool of army men. Supporting marriage got him executed. Hey, you gotta admire that spunk.
Another story suggests Valentine helped Christians escape imprisonment. That was a loving thing to do. No link to that story and love letters, though.
Yet another story contends that Valentine was an imprisoned priest, who sent love letters to a jailer’s daughter. For a priest, isn’t that a sin? Oh well, it’s a good story.
Yet, I think the truth is that Valentine, like many of the early saints, wrote loving letters to his congregation, or his followers. It was similar to having followers on Twitter, except the priest was not limited to 140 characters. My point is that the messages likely were not romantic. The love was platonic. Since we don’t know for sure why it started or when, someone made it up. We can choose a new meaning.
Through all the centuries people wanted to connect. Love, like a diamond, has multifaceted sides. Love takes multidimensional forms. Yet, if someone asks you how your love life is, you immediately think romance. There is so much more.
With the plethora of love forms, we have just one day a year dedicated to love. And we pretty much limit it to romantic love. How about if we bring Valentine’s Day back to love in general? Then what would it look like to you? How would you celebrate? What is one thing you would do? What if it were about stretching and expanding the love in your life? What if you saw that you are responsible for love in your life, that you can increase it if you want? There’s no end to deeper love. There’s no ceiling on it.
What if you knew you were the gift? Then what? What if your Valentine is you? Not that whining self that thinks you’re not enough. Not that self that looks for reasons that others think that you are not enough. I’m talking about the real you that has those wonderful characteristics and qualities. Yes, you. I know what your saying. “Yeah yeah, but loving myself doesn’t keep me warm at night.” Well, it could lead to that if you love yourself. And if you don’t love yourself, you’ll connect to someone who doesn’t like herself or himself. Loving your authentic self is one way Valentine’s could be celebrated. It is not selfish, though women think it is a badge of honor to not love themselves and give to others, except once a year on Valentine’s Day.
Maybe, you would not be emotionally attached to receiving an expensive gift if you loved yourself enough already. Gifts are great. We all like gifts, and the gift is an outward sign of something that often is not said. The important thing is to acknowledge what is underneath the gift if it is not obligation. Honoring your true self doesn’t mean you would have to give a gift to yourself. When you love and respect yourself you listen to that authentic part of yourself to guide you. No telling what it would say. We could start a movement for a new way to celebrate the Love Day.
Let me know what you think. Check my site tomorrow for suggestions on how to celebrate the day while fulfilling yourself and possibly others.
As Valentine’s Day approaches, how do you feel about it? Does it excite you? Are you depressed about it? How do you want to celebrate Valentines Day? It can be fun and it can have a dark side. Let’s look at both.
The UP Side
The fun side is a delight. Since it comes in midwinter, whatever you do to celebrate can be very healthful emotionally. It comes just when we need it. The timing falls between New Year’s and spring. There’s an emotional need for a celebration. In the north, Valentine’s Day is especially beneficial. Some people decorate with red and pink in the midst of winter dreary skies and cold temperatures. The colors contrast with the snow. If you let it, Valentine’s Day can uplift you wherever you are. It jazzes you up.
The DARK Side
First, the expectations. That’s where suffering starts, then suffering keeps you imprisoned. Women tend to expect to be in receiving mode. They place great meaning on getting something. A woman tends to think it really REALLY means something about her if she doesn’t get something. It is programmed into her by ads. She is right back in first grade when one person in the class did not give her one of those cartoon cards. So all the times she did get something, it is not enough to save her from feeling vulnerable every year. Insecurity rules the day. A woman could think: “What if the gifts don’t show up this year? What if they are not as good as last year?” In a recent poll I did, many women felt so left out of Valentine’s Day that they did not want to talk about it.
The second dark side is the discrepancy between givers and receivers. Ads show the woman receiving. Until this year, I haven’t seen men receiving. Have you? Do men relish Valentine’s Day? I set out to find out and I’ll say more about that in a minute. Valentine’s Day is a crucial day in the calendar. We define ourselves by our love life and we judge ourselves by external criteria. Is someone special to me going to recognize me?
When I took a poll, all the men said Valentine’s Day was for women and children. All the women said it was for women and children. That may explain why most men feel it is a non-event. It isn’t marketed to them for them to receive, only for them to give as obligation. And men naturally resist the commercial guilt trip, even if their wife is not attached to the day. Of the men polled, 90% said they couldn’t care less and Valentine’s Day is just stupid and useless. Most men said they were cynical about it.
The third dark side is commercial manipulation. The saying is true that women manage holidays and Madison Ave manages women. You see the mass mailings with the skimpy nities and the undies, the heart candies, the flower ads. Recently I saw a TV advertisement showing a 1950’s version of a Valentine ad for a heart box of chocolates contrasted with the modern Valentine’s Day technological gift that cost $150. So now the price has really gone up. The $50 roses are not going to cut it anymore. Ugh!
In my survey of 40 people, I found that only 10% of people were happy with Valentine’s Day as it is. Most men and women were ignoring that day for themselves, though many parents use Valentine’s Day to share something with their children or grandchildren. One woman said that when Valentine’s warrants a business day off, then she would take the day seriously.
Check my blog tomorrow for How did Valentine’s Day start, and what could it become?
Underline one: Male Female Who is Valentine’s Day for. or who exactly benefits? ______________________________________
Do you like VALENTINE’S DAY? Underline one: Yes No
What do you like about it? _______________________________
What do you dislike about it? _____________________________
What do you expect? ____________________________________
Do you often receive something? Underline one: Yes or No
Do you look forward to giving something? Circle: Yes or No
What gift do you often receive? ____________________________
What gift do you often give? _______________________________
What feelings does it bring up? _____________________________
What is the best or worst thing about Valentine’s Day?
What would you want Valentine’s Day to be about? ______________
What will you do for Valentine’s this year and why? ______________