Another Valentine’s Day has come and gone.

“With love that begins in a mindful heart and centered presence, we never need feel unloved, unloving or alone.”

Valentine’s Day. The day of love.

One of those greeting card holidays so often mentioned by people as just another expensive day.  According to Statistic Brain.com, eleven billion dollars each year is spent on Valentine’s Day. There’s a lot of expectation attached to it. In fact, 53% of women will end their relationship if they are not given a gift on , and 14% of women will buy themselves flowers if no one else does.

This is a sadly materialistic fact.  Young women’s expectations are largely focused on presents, while the young men I have interviewed on this subject reflect that they simply want to spend the day completely together, finding special ways to make their one-on-one time something special without all the spending.

Let’s reflect on this.

How would our highest selves benefit if Valentine’s Day was a day focused on, and only on a day of fully mindful loving, giving and receiving?  Are those the kinds of Valentine’s Days that you remember?

In the spirit of expanding our self-awareness in highly-charged days like the 14th of February, can we bring our humility center stage for a moment, and allow ourselves to take our motivations, behaviors and expectations into deep discernment? Is being swept away by materialistic excess giving our most authentic self what we really need?

Or is there something infinitely simpler that we long for … something centered in loving kindness, and the complete presence in the moment of our loved one? I have dreamt of this unwrapped version of a celebration of love for many years. I’ve experienced the pain of self-absorbed love, where a celebration of ‘love’ is actually a day of penance for an unfortunate, mindless relationship … often nothing more than a guilt-ridden imperative.

This year my unwrapped present finally arrived …

in the form of a mindful, caring partner who rose above all the other trappings of what can all too easily become nothing more than “the game of love” … gifts of significant monetary value, purchased in mindless, often frantic moments, and laden with expectations of reciprocity. I’ve never felt so loved.

Will you accept this gift for yourself? May I challenge us for the remainder of this year to focus on building strong, loving and caring relationships with as many of our family and  friends as possible?

Why is this an important challenge?

Without our mindful decision to engage from our higher-selves with another human being, it is easy for us to get caught up in the marketing frenzy of materialistic love.

How can we best maneuver through the cupid traps of mid-February to create a day fully Present in Caring love? Here’s a few thoughts:

1.  Begin an intimate discussion about the day with your partner at least three weeks in advance.

2.  Be prepared with intimate ideas for the two of you to choose from.

3.  Don’t forget the romance!  Instead of eating out, how about a romantic dinner at home for two, filled with unique surprises for each other … how about one simple flower with a written sentiment for your Beloved? Think of champagne as optional.  quickly disappears when inebriation takes over!

4. Post-dinner massages! I’m convinced that loving relationships that are built on the desire to create a solid foundation based on mindful living will have no trouble forgoing the materialistic game of Feb. 14 next year.

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