I overheard a student commenting sarcastically to his friend as I walked through the hallways today, feeling kinda grumpy about Valentine's Day. Jeez. It's a cliche to point out what a useless and industry-generated holiday this is. For those of us who aren't in a relationship, seeing the ads of happy couples, people walking around with pink gift bags, flowers, and balloons can be a painful reminder of what we think we don't have. For those of us who are in a relationship, the holiday can make us feel pressured to express emotions we may not actually be feeling, or buy a bunch of crap we can't afford that the other person probably doesn't even want. Corporate bottom line? For the win! Individual? FML.
There was something about the student's comment--which actually resonated with what I'd been feeling in the buildup to this "holiday"--that actually snapped me out of my self-righteous sarcasm. It does suck to be reminded of loneliness or feelings of disconnection. It does suck to feel like we've got to please our man or woman by buying or doing things.
Even the cynic in me, though, must grudgingly admit that the holiday has at its essence a good message. While at the grocery store yesterday, I saw little pots of flowers that made me think of a couple of really great women friends I work with, so I bought 'em and put 'em on their desks this morning. It just... felt... so.... good!
Of course, the TV ads tell you to buy a diamond ring for your girlfriend, or your family tradition says buy some chocolates from See's. They don't show two platonic female friends exchanging flowers. But that "I'm glad you're in my life and I'm thinking of you" message is one we all deserve to hear, and one that feels really good to say!
So, let's use the skills we develop in yoga and meditation. The message is perfect! The delivery might not be so good and may even be driven by the bottom line, but go back to the message and let that drive our action and thoughts instead. Doing so is what makes us feel connected and loved.
Dare I say it? Happy... Valentine's... DAY. I'm thinking of you.
Heather/a South African flower