Tis the season for the chocolates in the box that require a map. You know the ones where everyone pokes the bottoms to see what it is and subsequently rejects it and begins hunting another flavor? No thank you.
What is a Valentine, really? So much money will be spent in the next couple of weeks in an attempt to give traditional symbols of Love. But what if we shifted our focus from “having” a Valentine to instead BEING the Valentine that we all need? What if BEING a Valentine involved creating a Safe Space for Love to grow, rather than just filling space with chocolate and flowers?
Conversation hearts could say something like “What is important to you, today?” Or maybe, “No matter what happens, I will not do anything to hurt you or shatter this friendship. No matter what you say, I accept you.” A Safe Space created for a friendship or a relationship, one that is free from judgment, one that is built on mutual understanding, and one where acceptance is sacrosanct, is softer than any overpriced rose petals that will be bought on February 14th.
Let there be no question that your ‘ship (friendship, relationship, parent-ship, sibling-ship) is a sacred space of NO hurt. Guarantee that your shared space is one where you will do anything and everything to protect their wants, needs, and dreams. Be THAT Valentine. One of the greatest acts of humanity is infusing the world with Love. Invest in the time it takes to say to those you treasure, “you are safe here.”
I noticed this weekend that my tiny, colorful birds have returned to my backyard. Legend has it that birds choose their mates on Valentine’s Day. For me this is a great symbol of hope that spring is, indeed, coming. A pair of bluebirds has already claimed the bluebird house in the center of the yard. The other females are staking out territory to build their nests. Watching them build is one of the most fascinating events—the careful and resourceful bottom-up engineering of strong sticks, smaller twigs, soft leaves, and fine grasses. It takes them all day, sometimes two, and it is usually built in the crook of two adjoining branches to guard against the spring rains. Even at the smallest level, Mother Nature assures the ability to provide and nurture a Safe Space. So must we.
So if you must, spend your money on an expensive dinner, flowers, and chocolate. Buy your friends chalky conversation hearts. But consider investing in a far greater Love. Invest your time in building and nurturing Safe Spaces. One that says, “No matter what, I will not hurt you. I treasure you. This is your soft place to fall. I gotchu. :) ” And then, gorge yourself silly with chocolate—just not the box with the map and the poked holes in the bottom.
from last year's spring garden...