By: Nina Smiley, Ph.D., Director of Mindfulness Programming, Mohonk Mountain House
The Beatles posed this question in the 1960s with their song “The Word”. The meaning of love has been parsed and pondered for thousands of years, and every year on February 14, the calendar calls it to our national attention. While Valentine’s Day brings a flurry of pageantry with hearts, flowers, chocolates, cards, and romance as top-of-mind for the day, it can also offer an opportunity to explore how love can nurture body, mind, and spirit in a gentle, non-judgmental way—mindfully!
Moment to moment awareness of what is—simply being present with oneself, with others, with pets, with Nature, with the simplicity of the breath, with a sense of connection to the whole—makes a difference in our well-being. As we let go of the stress that comes from an on-going sub-text of evaluating self and others, we relax and find ourselves more able to be resilient. Loving ourselves helps us nurture ourselves and allows us to more easily share love with others.
THIS YEAR ON VALENTINE’S DAY, LIGHTEN UP!
Give yourself some loving with a few minutes of mindfulness as you clear the mind and calm the body. Then extend this sense of spaciousness to include others, silently sharing a moment of calmness and serenity with those around you. Words won’t be necessary. The equanimity you feel in the moment will be a Valentine’s gift of love.
Take a moment right now to clear the mind and calm the body. Breathe in gently and fully, then exhale gently and fully. Focus on the sensation of breathing. If a thought comes in, let it go. Now close your eyes. Take another three full, gentle breaths. Feel the spaciousness of being present in the moment. Feel the spaciousness of love for yourself just as you are at this moment in time. Extend that spaciousness of love to others.
And remember that Valentine’s Day is simply a reminder. The opportunity to experience Love is moment-to-moment every day of the year!
For more information on how you can reduce stress and enhance mental well-being, come to Mohonk Mountain House this spring and join our Mindfulness in Minutes Weekend. Show yourself love when you come to the mountain top and experience our “forest bathing” and spa treatments! Also check out our other upcoming events such as Yoga Weekend!