It’s the month of Valentine’s, and love is in the air. We tend to associate this special occasion with romantic love and our thoughts turn to, if we are lucky enough to have one, our special partner or spouse. Yet there are often other people in our lives from whom we desperately need, perhaps even crave, love and connection. These people aren’t necessarily our intimate partners; they could be an adult child, a sibling, a parent or a close, cherished friend.
When it comes right down to it, I believe that we all really do need love. We may try to run from it or hide or pretend an unmet need doesn’t affect us, but sometimes within the sweep of one moment, we are shown just how profoundly this need exists.
A close friend related her story, from a recent morning, to me. She woke up to the heaviness that had been slowly creeping into her consciousness for the past couple of weeks. It had started with a feeling she couldn’t shake, a feeling that someone very important to her was deliberately distancing her. Of course, the thought of that felt hurtful but she carried on with the demands of her daily life, pushing the thought aside because she knew, empowered and enlightened person that she considered herself to be, that she should not let something she had no control over, bring her down. On this particular morning she tended to breakfast, morning tasks, getting ready for the day… but she had little energy for all that lay ahead for her day. Then unexpectedly and in the flash of a moment, something happened that showed her she had probably been wrong in her assumption about the other person.
This is not a significant story within itself. Things like this happen all the time, right? But what happened next, as she explained it to me, is what I feel is significant and a powerful lesson about the human heart. A sense of relief and well-being, that she could not deny, swept through her and transformed her heart to one of lightness. She was now suddenly filled with energy to deal with things like laundry, and those fitted sheets which had been washed, dried and had lain there for days. And we all know how difficult those darn fitted sheets can be to deal with, even on a good day, right? But now they seemed an effortless task, and her day that lay ahead, looked happy.
By the time we come to mid-life we’ve been, well, kicked around the block a few thousand times. We possess a vast bank of experiences and as a result, a fair amount of wisdom. We seek to operate on a higher level - you know, that kind of level we would learn from Buddha, or books like This is Not the Story You Think It Is . . . A Season of Unlikely Happiness by Laura Munson. Which, by the way, is a great book that I do highly recommend. But when it comes right down to it, nothing can replace that feeling we feel in our heart when we know without doubt, that we are loved by the people who are most important to us.
Sometimes we are on the receiving end of this love and sometimes, we are the giver. When we are on the giving end, I think it is fair for us to ask ourselves these questions: are we giving others the love they are hoping to get? Is there an insecurity or disappointment that lurks behind their eyes, one that we cannot, or choose not, to see?
If that is the case, we may hold an antidote that would be so simple for us, yet mean so much to them.
In my own life, I won’t give up on seeking that place of nirvana where things outside of my control cannot bring me down. In mid-life, and certainly in any phase of life, it’s a worthy endeavor! But I will submit for your consideration, the following quote, attributed to both Taylor Hanson and Dr. Seuss:
“To the world you may be just one person, but to one person, you may be the world.”
On this note, I wish a happy Valentine’s Day to all.
Cindy works as an employment development counselor and is a mother and grandmother. She has lived in Sonoma County for 28 years.