Romantic sunsets, fragrant flowers, delectable chocolates -- all critical elements to pulling off the perfect Valentine's Day. Or so I always thought.
Valentine's Day took on a new meaning for me two years ago when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I remember making the appointment for my mammogram and the nurse asking if I was sure I wanted to schedule on Valentine's Day. I scoffed and said yes. What, was I scared that the day would forever be marked by a shocking diagnosis? That's crazy.
As my two-year cancerversary of my diagnosis approaches, I find myself in a confused state. Last year the milestone seemed necessary as I was in the midst of a post surgical haze of reconstruction and needed to validate that I had been through a significant life experience. I wanted to celebrate that I was on the other side and as difficult as it was, I was a better person for it. My heart was fuller than it had ever been.
This year I feel energized and happy, questioning if I even want to acknowledge the day which on one hand was a dark and treacherous time. But on the flip side, it was also a very transformational and meaningful time. As I've shared before, it is actually quite fitting that my cancerversary falls on Valentine's Day, for it marks the ultimate love story of all -- that with myself.
Unlike the hallmark version of love filled with romantic sunsets and roses, this version of my love story was sparked by surrender and ultimate discovery of so many facets of love that I was never fully receptive to prior to my cancer journey. And it's these multi-dimensional aspects of love (including romantic) that matter.
Self-Compassion -- perhaps the most personal kind of love. It requires we become aware of how we treat ourselves and to simply be kind to ourselves which can be easier said than done. Sometimes, when we can't feel that love for ourselves, its best to imagine our significant other, our pet, or anyone that we feel that deep love and caring. Once we feel that in our heart, we can cultivate that loving compassion and turn it on ourselves.
Fear -- the catalyst of love. My cancer journey taught me that fear is just another form of love, or rather unwillingness to let love in. It requires we embrace all aspects of ourselves including the ego as a driver to bring us to our personal edges and provide those moments where we get to simply choose -- fear or love.
Surrender -- the ultimate pathway to love. This means surpassing all the things we think we are supposed to do, and simply going to the place where we don't know what the hell to do. No blame, no expectations, no judgements, just surrender and love.
Coupled or not, Valentine's Day is an opportunity to embrace all aspects of love. To feel the expansiveness of our hearts fully. To celebrate all the relationships in our life. And to choose to be open to the many ways that love can show up for us.