Happy Valentines Day! My original intention for today’s blog was to compose uplifting flowery prose which might inspire love and connection. However, as I delved into the complicated and muddled past of this whimsical day of adorations, I soon discovered there was nothing whimsical about Valentines Day. Its curious beginnings have been studied by various historians sifting through the dusty realms of the past, but unfortunately, rather than locating a precise origin, the beginnings are vague and incomplete. According to some, our designated day of love began with animal sacrifice and ended with a lottery in which young virgins were raffled off. Other chroniclers surmised February 14 was named for St. Valentine, a Roman priest, executed for secretly marrying young lovers against the wishes of Emperor Claudius II, and thereafter was named the patron saint of lovers, epileptics and beekeepers.
If you find the history of Valentines Day tragic, I would agree, but that said, haven’t we done something amazing? We took a historically horrific day and turned it into a day to express our love for our families and our friends. Each time we gape at our history with distress in our heart it’s an opportunity to revisit and become aware of the tribulations of the past thereby creating a brighter future.
Let’s consider the years of 1933-1945, when Adolf Hitler, the German dictator sought war and hate instead of peace and love. His leadership was directly responsible for the deaths of six million Jews and five million noncombatants. Many of those died in the concentration camps, and thousands of deaths were attributed to medical experimentation by Nazi doctors. During Hitlers war campaign the rape of innocent women and children were common occurrence, and he actively persecuted homosexuals and people with disabilities, and went as far as authorizing a euthanasia program for disabled adults.
Today, we look back and wonder how this devastation could have happened, the survivors tell us it occurred quite gradually, it began with a propaganda campaign, a stealthy layering of words resulting in a slow twist of the mind. The government sponsored media used radio, newspapers, posters and flyers, to dehumanize their fellow Jewish citizens and dissidents. Eventually they considered those people enemies that needed to be dealt with, debate was not allowed, disagreeing voices squashed and demonized.
Around that same time period from 1922-1953, Joseph Stalin, Soviet dictator, became responsible for over six million peoples deaths and perhaps as many as nine million if you take into account death by starvation and concentration camps for dissidents. A historian, Norman Naimark, penned the book, Stalin’s Genocides, to illustrate the dictator’s horrific deeds.
It’s ugly. It’s terrible to read, and it’s difficult to consider those times, yet if we turn away from the bloody history of our world we dishonour the pain and suffering of the dead. A forgotten history is a repeated history. Out of all the mass murdering leaders of the 1900’s, the Chinese communist leader, Mao Zedong, reigned supreme at killing his own people. His rule led to the deaths of 45 million people. Forty-Five Million. Rodgers Place, home of the Edmonton Oilers hockey team can hold 20,734 people for a concert. You would need approximately two thousand-one hundred and seventy Rodgers Places to hold all the bodies that Mao Zedong was responsible for killing.
People are complicated creatures, our egos and fears sometimes lead us into unreasonable actions. In the 18th century around twenty percent of all woman died from the Black Death of childbed. Dr. Ignaz Semmelweis, sought to solve the reason. Fairly quickly he established that the mid-wives had a much lower rate of mothers dying after childbirth than the doctors, therefore he concluded the mid-wives must be doing something different than the fully trained doctors. After spending time observing the mid-wives verses the doctors, he eventually came to the conclusion that the doctors did not wash their hands between seeing patients and delivering babies. In short order, Dr. Semmelweis instructed his staff to begin washing their hands and cleaning the instruments between patients, and in response the rate of Black Death in his delivering mothers dropped off dramatically. Incredibly, the other doctors did not immediately follow his solution and actively shunned and mocked Dr. Semmelweis’s suggestion. It took years before hand washing was implemented and in the meantime many more woman died.
History holds so many warnings in the crotch of its bloodiest years. Looking at history we can see, the first sign of a government gone astray can be found in the wording used by their media and its leaders. It utilizes disparaging language, singling out a particular group through blaming and name calling. Cultivating emotion through the use of certain phrasing is a the most powerful tool a leader can use in addressing its citizens. It can either bring people together or drive people apart.
Do you tolerate me? Do you think I am racist and misogynistic for making a personal choices for the only thing I truly own on this earth—my body? Dividing citizens has never proved a peaceful path into the future. Love and unity is the only way to move forward. Consider this, ordinary civilians are not the instigators of an oppressive and tyrannical society, however, through fear and manipulation the majority of citizens do grant their leaders that power. Our history is being decided now. I am an unvaccinated healthy citizen on the side of freedom— love me or hate me, it makes no difference to me, I still consider you a potential friend and ally in a world that seems to have gone over the edge. Happy love day to you.
It was July 29/21 and I was doing it. I could nearly hear my dead mother gasp with shock, I could almost see my dead father giving me the head-shake of disapproval, and I was convinced I heard my husband cuss me out with worry, as I stepped on the brake to offer a ride to a stranger on the road of life.
A week ago, I wouldn’t have dared grant a lift to a scruffy looking man without having another person with me for added protection. I’m not a total country hick. I’ve seen the news reports and read the horror stories of well-meaning people picking up strangers and having things go dark and dastardly. I’m quite aware of how easily a stranger could overpower me, strangle me or stab me and then kick me down into a steep ditch. I even admit to being aware that the stranger could have driven away with my weeks’ worth of groceries and my daughter’s groceries too, leaving my family hungry. But honestly, at that point, none of those considerations mattered, the only thing that mattered was that I had been given a distinctive sign from above to offer this man a ride.
To be clear, there was no flashing neon lettering hanging over the gaunt man’s head instructing me to give him a lift. It was subtle, much more subtle, and in all fairness, the only reason I had noticed at all was due to my newfound meditation practice. For those in doubt, I wrote meditation, not medication. This practice tends to enhance one’s attention on life’s details in a way that is nearly magical. For myself, meditation gave me cause to open my heart to a scruffy stranger and as a result I was granted the wondrous gift of knowing we are all connected no matter our status in life.
Leaving the farmyard that morning, I had a smile on my face and elevated emotions in my soul and there was no reason for either. It was an overcast day, and I was merely going to town for groceries. As I turned off the gravel road and onto the highway I met another vehicle travelling in the opposite direction. Instantly, my thoughts drifted to the people in the other vehicle and I wondered about their lives. Not knowing a thing about them, I simply smiled at the black, shiny truck now in my rear-view mirror and said, “Good morning! I love you!”
I blushed a bit at my silliness. People would think I had lost it, never mind meditation, they would have thought I was on too much medication. But my current practice of mindfulness had taught me that my feelings are an important guidance system, so instead of judging myself, I considered how I felt: My heart was lifted with joy. Everyone could use a little more love I decided with a nod, and I certainly wasn’t hurting anyone, so continued to say I love you to every vehicle I met along the way.
Before I knew it, birds were soaring alongside my vehicle and daringly darting in and out in front of me, never seeming to be in any danger. It was as though they approved of my sentiments. I looked up. Clouds shifted aside and the suns rays fingered downwards displaying a kaleidoscope of colours shimmering with light. Magnificent. My heart blossomed hot pink. Feeling encouraged by natures response to my proclamations of love, I playfully began to singsong, “I love you,” instead of simply saying it.
Fifteen minutes later, I noticed the stranger up ahead on the side of the road, he wasn’t hitchhiking exactly, he was walking in the same direction as I was driving but in the opposite lane facing the oncoming traffic. I glanced at him as I passed and said, “I love you!” in an upbeat voice. My enthusiasm completely contrary to his demeanour. As I studied him in my rear-view mirror, I took my foot off the gas. My inner voice was suggesting I stop and offer him a ride. At that thought, my fears puffed up inside of me, a black balloon of programmed negativity expanding into every nook and cranny of my being. In an instant I recalled dire news stories, and many loved one’s warnings instructing me to never pick up a stranger. Those thoughts instantly deflated my good feeling vibe.
I stepped on the gas driving away from the stranger and wrestled with the morality of my decision. I gripped my steering wheel much harder than necessary. Maybe I should have stopped for him? After all, he was a person in need, my inner voice wanted me to pick him up. Guilt. A heavy self condemning dislike for myself stuck me with sharp barbs. All the sudden, a bird smacked into the front-end passenger side of my car with a loud thwack, and then 30 seconds later I hit my breaks to avoid killing another dodgy bird. See? I thought, even the birds are telling me I should have stopped for the man.
And then I felt ashamed. “What’s wrong with me?” I fumed, voicing my anger aloud. “Why am I so afraid of everything? We are the same, the stranger and I. We are all just people trying to find our way in this crazy fucking world.” My chest tightened; heavy with regret, with sadness. My decision had been wrong. I acted out of fear instead of love. I snorted at myself. What a hypocrite I am, I thought. Here I was shouting, “I love you,” to everyone, but without action they are empty words.
Coward. I though. My heart nearly winced at the abuse. Tears welled up spilling over, and then my inner guidance spoke to me, “By judging yourself you are in a sense disrespecting the stranger too; condemnation without offering space for forgiveness blocks all healing… we are all connected by the living threads of energy. He is you and you are him.”
Tiny streams of wetness ran down my cheeks and I was urged to place a hand on my heart and whisper, “I love you and I forgive you for being afraid.” And then I did not block the rest of my tears with my usual wall of hard self-judgement. Instead, I offered myself compassion. In that moment, I decided if I saw the stranger again I would stop and offer him a ride.
The grocery pick-up was quick and easy and before I knew it I did see the man again. He was still travelling alongside the road. I wish I could say I felt courageous but I didn’t, I felt the shaking hands of nervousness strumming my tethered line of fear. Sitting up taller and grasping at elusive threads of courage, I roped my emotions and turned into an approach a few hundred feet ahead of the somber trudging figure. Another human being that was down on his luck. Instantly, I wanted to give him something, my grandma’s standard fix for everything was food. So, I turned around and rifled through my grocery bags until I came up with a vibrant red apple. I set the fruit in my cup holder and looked up. He was closer now, shambling towards the car, his face hollowed and drawn, a bulging pack on his back. It looked like everything he owned was in that bag. He was so thin. My throat tightened with emotion, I wanted to help him with more than just an apple. What road in life had brought him to this point?
I snatched up my purse and grabbed my wallet hoping I had stashed some cash for a rainy day. I almost never carried cash. Today, there was a fifty and a ten. My desire to help swiftly wrestled my tight-fisted Scottish genetics into submission and I grabbed the fifty from my wallet sticking it under my leg for easy access. My Scottish bloodline kept the ten.
The man approached my driver’s window at a weary pace, rumpled and shaggy, looking as wary as I felt. I rolled down my window to greet him, and as he stepped closer my planned words were obliterated by my horror. His feet were bare. “Oh my God, you have no shoes!” I said with far more forcefulness than I intended.
He bent his head and studied his feet momentarily, almost sheepishly. Then, he sighed and met my eyes gesturing with a limp hand towards the lumpy knapsack on his back where his shoes dangled like an oversized car mirror decoration. “I got soaked this morning when the rainstorms came through,” he said, his voice rusted from lack of use. “My feet were getting rubbed raw, so I was letting them dry.” Weariness lined the edges of his dull blue eyes and blondish stubble roughened his face; thick straw-coloured hair stuck out from under the edges of a black ball-cap. His frayed tan shorts and faded t-shirt hung on him; a scarecrow left to be weathered and worn.
“Where are you headed?” I said, still feeling slightly nervous despite his harmless appearance. Fear porn news stories still rolling in the back of my mind.
“I’m going to Plamondon,” he said, a touch of hope sounded in his words. “I have a line on a job.” The stranger reached up with one hand, fingertips brushing the peak of his ball cap and then sliding back alongside his hair smoothing it down.
Plamondon was behind me and a little off my trail, but it would only be an extra twenty minutes. “Do you want a ride?” I asked, feeling lighter as I spoke the words. Love and kindness winning.
“Yeah, that would be great.” His cloudy eyes brightening suddenly; a flash of brilliant blue.
As he walked around the back end of my car, I tossed my coat and purse into the back to give him room to sit in the passengers seat.
The back passenger door swung opened, and he held his backpack in his hand looking for a spot to put his possessions. I awkwardly moved a grocery bag out of the way feeling a crushing sense of guilt at the amount of food in the car. “It was my grocery day,” I said, blurting it out, wanting to explain. “I shop once a week online and since I am at the store anyway, I pick up my daughter’s grocery order too.” I laughed, a stuttering laugh and then offered the stranger an excessive grin. “It saves two vehicles going… you know, the extra gas.”
He nodded politely, and set his gear inside and closed the door.
I turned back to the front and then remembered a container of delicate Hey Clay sculptures I had sitting on the floor in front of the passengers seat, they were my granddaughters creations. The door opened just as I lifted the treasures from the floor. The man slid into his seat and clicked his seatbelt into place, appearing completely innocent. The fact he had put his knapsack in the back had made me feel much safer.
I held the container out towards him like a peace-offering. “Would you mind holding these? They are my granddaughters—they were broken by her cousin—adorable sweet boy, but rough— and my husband has fixed them so I was returning them to my granddaughter today.” I was rambling, but he didn’t seem to take any notice.
He just nodded and offered the slightest grin.
I swallowed hard, put the car in gear and turned onto the highway back the way I had come. The stranger studied the carefully crafted blue dragon with interest. “These are pretty good,” he said, his tone honest.
I glanced over and smiled at his appreciation of the amateur art. “The sculpting material is called Hey Clay, it’s much better than the Play-Doh we used to have when we were kids, and it air dries really well too.”
His features suddenly softened and he appeared much younger.
“Well, you probably played withPlay-Doh when you were young,” I said, trying to make a connection with his past.
He nodded enthusiastically, childlike. “Yeah, I used Play-Doh all the time.” His scruffy face flinched then, as though the good memory hurt and he set the dragon back in the box with a light sigh.
Again, I wondered of his story, he seemed so wounded, his obvious pain triggered my desire to help even further. I remembered the apple and motioned to the fruit in the cup holder. “Oh yeah, I was wondering if you wanted an apple, I thought you might want a snack or something after walking this morning?” Ugh, I silently groaned at my words. Talk about minimizing; like he had gone for a pleasing stroll along the edge of the road to listen to the birds, instead of an agonizing walk in wet sneakers that rubbed his heels raw forcing him onto the pavement barefoot.
He reached down and lifted the apple with thin spidery fingers. “Thank you, I am kind of hungry.” He held it tightly in his hand, fist pressed against his stomach.
People have called me an empath, and maybe I am, I have always been sensitive, and this human being beside me leaked a type of suffering that I had rarely been around. The underlying pain and hurt inside of him was soul crushing. In that moment I just wanted him to know that he meant something. He was something. He was a living creation of a holy energy and that something was looking out for him in this world, whether we call it the Creator, or God or Source or Allah or whatever. This man needed to know he was looked after. So, in my authentic and unceremonious way, I said, “I was supposed to pick you up today.” I glanced at him brightly, earnestly… not crazily.
He met my gaze, eyes curious. “Yeah?”
“I mean, I was supposed to pick you up when I first saw you on my way into town, but—” I bit my lip and I frowned at my former actions. “—You know.”
“I let my fear stop me the first time,” I explained glancing at him earnestly. He dropped his eyes, clearly uncomfortable but I continued on, “And then by the time I reconsidered you were too far back. So then, I don’t know— the Universe, or God, or the Creator, or whatever you may believe, gave me the idea to stop and see if you needed a ride if I saw you on my way home.”
“Hmph,” he said, an acknowledgment but a dismissal as well.
I laughed. It was a genuine laugh. “I know. It sounds crazy, absolutely bonkers, but it’s true. You don’t have to believe me.” And he didn’t. But I felt at peace.
He scratched his temple. “No. That’s cool, I appreciate the ride.”
“Happy to do it,” I said, “What’s your name?”
My body, my brain, my very soul expanded with light. “Shut up!” I said, my filled with awe, bubbling over, my eyes wide. I’m nearly giggling as I explain, “My maiden name is Mitchell and my sister named her only son Mitchell. Isn’t that crazy?”
He patted his knee, unsure, and then nodded, his head a child’s rocking horse bobbing at an even tempo. “Yeah,” he said, his tone wondering. “Mitchell, isn’t a common name around here.”
I wanted to offer him more. “My nephew Mitchell is really clever.”
He bobbed again. “I used to be smart too,” he said, voice sad, regretful, beaten.
“I’m sure, you are still very smart.”
“I don’t know,” he said.
“You should give yourself more credit.” I said, in the tone of a bossy older sister, “Obviously the Universe believes in you, I wasn’t planning on picking anyone up today.”
He smiled and his eyes contemplated my words.
I slowed the vehicle as we drove into the small community of Plamondon. “Where do you want to be dropped off?”
He sat up taller looking ahead and pointing. “At the co-op gas station. Maybe I can get a coffee,” he said, sounding hopeful, “I could really use one.”
As soon as I rolled to a stop, I pulled the fifty dollar bill out from under my leg and thrust it towards Mitchell. “Here,”
Wide-eyed, he accepted the bill with a shaking hand, and then his brow creased as though he couldn’t quite believe his eyes. “Really?”
“Yeah really,” I nodded eagerly. “The Universe wants good things for you. You deserve good things.”
His voice trembled. “Well, thank you.” Appreciation shone on his face. “You have no idea how much I needed this.” And then he snorted happily. “Now, I really can get that cup of coffee.”
My heart sank. He really didn’t have anything. I watched Mitchell, hop out of my car taking tender steps on the rough ground as he retrieved his bag from the backseat. “Thanks again,” he said.
“Anytime,” I said “It was nice to meet you, Mitchell. Good luck on your job.”
The story doesn’t end there. There was one more gift in store for me.
On my way to my daughters to drop off her groceries, I picked up her mail. She had some parcels. At her house, after her groceries were put away she made me a coffee and then she began to open up her packages. As she sliced open the boxes, I started retelling the story of my day: of my spontaneous proclamations of love to everyone I met; how I wrestled with myself about picking up a stranger walking on the side of the road; and how the strangers first name was Mitchell like my maiden name. I told her how I cried when I had first refused to pick him up and that when I heard his name was Mitchell it was a clear sign that love is the thread that connects us all.
My daughter, Megan, had followed the story up to that point nodding here and there, and then suddenly when she opened her final package exposing some gorgeous plumes of pampas grass, she squealed with shock. “Oh my God! Mom, this is crazy!”
“What? What?” I said, nearly dumping my coffee in my lap.
She thrust a piece of plastic with writing on it at me with one hand and held her other hand to her throat, tears forming in her eyes. “Look! Look at this!”
I took the floppy plastic from her, bold lettering leaped out at me. SAY “I LOVE YOU”
Blessed. I felt blessed. And then I read the whole thing from top to bottom and felt even more blessed. Today, was my wedding anniversary.
A smile is a gift. It is a welcoming recognition of another person’s spirit and serves to connect with others in a meaningful way. On, April 12, 2019, a team of psychologists from the University of Tennessee found that smiling can make people feel happier. They combined data from 138 studies testing more than 11,000 participants and found that facial expressions have an impact on our feelings. This rings true for me. I certainly feel happier and more synergistically inclined when anyone, be it a stranger, or a friend, flashes me an honest smile.
Smiles are impossible to find these days, in the streets or in the stores, and while we may feel a temporary jump of joy at buying such things as; soap in the shape of a big toe, or a pair of it’s okay to fart socks, or a Maserati sports car, eventually the glee of owning something new fades away leaving only emptiness in your heart. Truthfully, the only substance in our lives is created by maintaining and forming new connections with other human beings. Joy is better times two. We are without a doubt happier, healthier and stronger with regular human interaction.
Harvard Health Publishing, printed an article; The Health Benefits of Strong Relationships, declaring that, ‘Good connections and social support can improve health and increase longevity.‘ And it went on to state: ‘For many of us, the holidays mean family gatherings, getting together with friends, and participating in special religious, community, and workplace activities. Such occasions are an opportunity to check in with each other, exchange ideas, and perhaps lend some social support to each other.
Social connections like these not only give us pleasure, they also influence our long-term health in ways every bit as powerful as adequate sleep, a good diet, and not smoking. Dozens of studies have shown that people who have social support from family, friends, and their community are happier, have fewer health problems, and live longer.
Conversely, a relative lack of social ties is associated with depression and later-life cognitive decline, as well as with increased mortality. One study, which examined data from more than 309,000 people, found that lack of strong relationships increased the risk of premature death from all causes by 50% — an effect on mortality risk roughly comparable to smoking up to 15 cigarettes a day, and greater than obesity and physical inactivity.’
We all know at our very core just how important human touch is for our health and welfare. It is the weakest among us who need people around them the most. The miraculous healing benefits of a loving touch has been seen time and time again in hospitals and care centres, and was clearly demonstrated in the CNN story on YouTube called, The hug that helped change medicine. Doesn’t everyone deserve a hug from someone who loves them? It is time to reevaluate the data on asymptomatic spread. There is more and more information coming out which proves people without symptoms pose no threat. We must use our good sense instead of our fears. There is always a tipping point when good intentions fail. Have we gone over?
“Sometimes I feel so— I don’t know—lonely. The kind of helpless feeling when everything you’re used to has been ripped away. Like there’s no more gravity, and I’m left to drift in outer space with no idea where I’m going.”
Hello, you can’t see my face, but if you did you would see that I am offering you the most caring and warm-hearted smile. It’s been a tough year. People are naturally more lonely when they are separated from loved ones. The separation causes a weakening of the spirit, which is why solitary confinement is used as a form of punishment in the prison system. But, I digress, the fact of the matter is, that people have lost their sense of power, and that is no laughing matter. When peoples independence is gone and others are making major decisions for them they eventually become more child-like, more receptive to taking orders without asking questions. That said, I am here to remind you today, that you are far more than a mindless teddy bear that can be dragged around this way or that. You are a powerful person. Did you know that Quantum Physics has proven without a doubt that everything is made up of energy? It’s a fact. Everything we see, taste or touch is actually energy which is vibrating at different frequencies in complex series. The very ground we stand on only appears solid, but in fact, is not. And as Nikola Tesla, an acclaimed inventor, electrical engineer, mechanical engineer and futurist, once said, “If you want to understand the Universe, think of energy, frequency, and vibration.” But, please, don’t take my word for it, or even Nikola Tesla’s, do your own research and look into the discoveries of Quantum Physics. Put on a hat though, because it will blow your hair back!
As energetic beings, we have the capability of influencing each other through our emotions, because even our emotions are energetic frequencies. Did you know that quite often we unwittingly mirror the emotions of others? Think of the impatient driver who slams on his horn because you didn’t jet forward on the green light fast enough to get out of his way— your initial response to his blaring is probably hostile. But what if it wasn’t your own hostility you were feeling? What if it was the other drivers? Most of us interact with other people completely unaware that there is a much deeper level of energetic interaction happening during every exchange we have. Often it goes unnoticed because we are bogged down by our learned perceptions of the physical world. Many of us live our entire lives without understanding the incredible link between the physical and nonphysical aspects of ourselves, and yet, if we know what we are looking for there are many examples of energetic connection. For instance, have you ever thought of a friend you haven’t talked to in months and then out of the blue that same day they call? That is no coincidence. Consider the idea that your thoughts are simply energy transmitted the same way radio waves operate, you broadcast a thought to your friend and then they subconsciously receive your energetic message which inspires them to call. Amazing right?
The advantage to becoming aware that we are energy at our essence instead of simply physical creatures is that we can begin to affect our lives in an intentional way by focusing our thoughts (energetic frequencies). You can improve your relationships and career by concentrating on what you want to bring into your life instead of what you do not want. By intentionally bringing high vibrational emotions to the surface like joy, hope, awe, forgiveness, amusement and love, you can change the shape of your day and eventually your whole life for the better. On the other hand, if you get caught up in the darker emotions such as sadness, loneliness, jealousy, self-criticism, anger and fear, you will soon find yourself instantly drained and depressed. Sadly, the biggest mistake we make these days is starting out our morning with a dismal dose of foreboding headlines. I mean, let’s face it, the majority of the news is purposefully designed to use alarming headlines to catch peoples attention. And once again I say, your energy goes where your intention flows. Perception is the key. How do you see the world? The news wants you to believe Canada has been utterly infested with a disease, but the number of people that have tested positive for the dreaded virus since January 1/20 to November 28/20, is only 364, 810 people out of a population of 37,742,154 Canadians. That’s less than 1% of our countries population, and those were cases, not deaths. We have so much to be grateful for, the virus isn’t near as deadly as they predicted. Anyone under the age of sixty-nine has a 99% survival rate. Isn’t that a positive outcome?
It should be, but good news is rarely a headline story. As I mentioned, most of our news is bleak and as a result the majority of the population have been paralyzed into a state of fear and have become completely apathetic. Peoples hearts have gone dark. And our bleak winter season offers only shadows of a land gone to sleep, with biting winds and freezing temperatures that chill us to the bone. So, now, not only do we have a lack of warmth outside but we find it inside wherever we go. The required social distancing and masks have separated us from other human beings, and I don’t know about you, but for me, wherever I go, all I see are masked faces with downcast eyes. My heart hurts. I miss exchanging a smile with a stranger and experiencing the joyful burst of connection it brings. The truth is, we are all part of something bigger than ourselves, we are part of a community, we thrive on connection and it’s time to break our apathetic bonds. Healing and immune boosting is greatly enhanced through touch and presence.
The fact is, most of us are kindly people with good intentions. We don’t want to make anyone sick. We want to follow the rules, and be well-liked and accepted. Often we will even put aside the truth so we can fit into a group. This is clearly shown in these two short scientific experiments, The Asch Experiment, and Social Conformity- Brain Games. Personally, I found those video’s uncomfortable to view, especially the one with in the waiting room. Would I actually stand up to the sound of a bell in an empty room? I don’t know. So, here’s where I am going with this, maybe you are okay with all the government imposed virus rules and regulations. That is absolutely 100% your choice. Individual choice is necessary in a free society. However, if you happen to feel called to protest these restrictions, then I encourage you to become a leader through noncompliance, it only takes one person to begin a movement, as shown in this short video, First Follower. The reason I suggest noncompliance as a protest, is because it’s time we looked at the other side of the coin. We now know who the most vulnerable are to this virus and we can protect them. Now, we must consider the consequences the lockdowns have incurred, such as delayed diagnoses of deadly diseases and delayed treatments of those illnesses, and the drastic rise in depression, suicides and drug overdoses. And there is yet to consider the utterly dismal financial disaster this has been for many small business and others who have lost their main source of income. The whole picture needs to be looked at, and I am not the only voice suggesting this, please read or simply glance through, The Great Barrington Declaration and The World Doctors Alliance statement.
Much gratitude to you for reading my words of care and concern, I hope you find the time each and every day to bathe in the warmth of bright emotions. Whether you agree with anything I have rambled on about or not, I hope we can agree to keep our hearts lifted and not fall into despair. Change for the better simply requires us to place our attention on what we want instead of what we don’t want. For instance, if you don’t want to get sick focus on being well, try not to focus on not wanting to get sick— there is a difference. May your inner light lead you into a brighter future.
Piazza Novona, Rome, relatively near to the events that sparked the creation of Valentines Day. In the spirit of love and attraction I gift to you this photo displaying all sorts of suggestive symbolism. Sit back, take a close look, and allow your imagination to run wild, like a horse that’s been spooked by a flying tarp. Photo by Heinz Klier on Pexels.com
Well, my friends of the heart, February 14th, has arrived. That’s right, the gushy, lovey-dovey celebration is here, regardless of whether we want it or not. It enters into our lives either like a ghost in the night, or a yodelling yelp of expectation. Let’s face it, this is a day of jumbled reactions. Some people will excitedly profess their love to a potential mate or current partner, and some people will offer death glares to paired up lovers in the street. While still, others will play the feline, pretending nothing is happening at all.
Despite the diversity of our feelings about the designated day of love, I’m sure you most of you know, the biggest winner on Valentine’s Day is the retailer. Hence, some of the biggest losers will be, the inconsiderate sods that neglected to buy a gift for their expectant partner. If you’re not sure how your significant other feels about the Hallmark holiday, here’s a little hint, if there is glitter on their lips and in their eyes, you should probably pick something up. God knows it’s easy enough to find a little something when all the stores are thrusting their heart-shaped wares in your face like an ageing stripper looking for tips.
As you can probably tell, I have become a Valentine’s Day skeptic. For the past four years, I have asked my thoughtful hubby not to participate in the Valentine’s Day scheme. I have literally said, “I don’t need anything for Valentine’s Day, don’t buy into the fake holiday and spend half a day’s wages on a card, and chocolates. I’m good. I already know you love me, I don’t need a damn card to tell me that.” Seriously. Spending ten dollars on a card that costs seventy-five cents to make causes me heart palpitations. Hmmm, the heart palpitations? Maybe that’s why he continues to buy me cards.
But like I said earlier, it’s not only the price of cards that creates the extra squeeze on my blood pump. It’s the other items of adoration, like the chocolates. Please, please, listen to me, my bearded bedfellow, don’t buy the elegantly dressed up chocolates in a heart-shaped box for twenty dollars. It’s a rip-off! When you open up the frilly cardboard creation, there will only be a dozen itty-bitty sweets in that box. Even at the very thought, I feel my heartbeat suddenly chugging at top speed like a train about to fly off the tracks. “Dear husband, if you are utterly resolved to ply me with chocolate to express your affection, then for the love of all that’s penny-pinching, go to Costco. There you will find the products to deliver unto me, a serious supply of decadent treats.” He will hesitate at this, and I encourage him further. “Listen, honey, if you absolutely need the heart logo to display your devotion to me, then, by all means, use your handy dandy red permanent marker and inscribe the cosmic symbol for love on the container. I would be charmed by that effort. Plus, on the upside, the enormous bag of treats will feed both of us, and our children, and our children’s children and the future generations to come.”
Now, allow me to state once again, my grudge against Valentine’s Day, is not intrinsically against the event itself, but the retailers cashing in on the opportunity to sell junk for jacked up prices, just like politicians making promises at election time. It’s damn expensive. So, in the spirit of finding some meaning in this day that comes around once a year, I choose to dig up the roots of the February 14th tradition. Lo and behold, after a bit of finger flexing and a strong internet connection, I excavated a truth, or rather, a supposed truth.
Long, long ago, in the ancient times of Rome, there ruled an Emperor nicknamed Claudius the Cruel. We can infer from his handy dandy moniker, that Claudius the Cruel wasn’t precisely the empathetic humanitarian you would choose for a leader. He was ferociously dominant, and during his rule, was knee-deep in a plethora of bloody battles. The warring tyrant used-up soldiers as casually as one would swat away flies. Eventually, there was a noticeable decline in the number of volunteers enlisting in his army, after all, what man wants to mean less than an insect? The arrogant ruler presumed it was the men’s affection for their wives and families that prevented potential recruits from joining his legions. Therefore he banned the practice of marriage and engagements in Rome. What a Dic… tator.
Soon, all of Rome’s lovers were seeking cold showers. And then, as an answer to many hardened prayers, along came Valentine of Terni, a Roman Catholic priest. He took one look at the quivering lovesick young people of Rome and made a decision. He defied Claudius the Cruel’s ban against marriages and performed ceremonies in secretive circumstances. Unfortunately, the ruler discovered Valentine’s defiance and arrested him. The cold showers ran once more, and the Roman Catholic priest, Valentine, was sentenced to death. On February 14, 270 AD, the tender-hearted man, Father Valentine, was beaten, stoned and then beheaded.
Consequently, the priest was granted sainthood for providing the blessings of marriage, done in the spirit of love. And that, my friends, is why we celebrate Saint Valentine’s Day. My opinion has changed. I have a new respect for the remembrance of February 14th, a fellow human sacrificed himself in the spirit of love and connection. My heart warms with honour and appreciation for Saint Valentine’s sacrifice. I will still refuse all the retail gifts today, but I’ll gratefully accept love and give plenty in return.