Ah, Valentine's Day: the one day a year we are officially invited to love, via flowers, chocolate, cards, dinner dates; the day named after a priest who was martyred for secretly supporting the rite of marriage in pre-Christian Europe; the day most Americans at least feel either a) pressured to properly perform their romantic love, or b) sad and suddenly lacking in this prescribed form of love. Nevermind all that.
The invitation today is to to drop the flowers and cards and relationship status for a moment, and just pause to notice the wind. If it's not windy, or you're inside, try your own breath. Let's presume, for a moment, that love is like wind, or breath. That it moves - invisibly, unpredictably, uncontrollably, unstoppingly. That it cannot be held. What would change in your day to day life, in how you relate to others, if this were true?
"Love only hurts when you hold onto it.”
- Steven Ringelberg (old friend, wise soul)
I still remember the 'aha' release when Steven offered my grieving heart those words. They kind of changed by my life. But as you too may have experienced, this is not always an easy truth to live into! Despite pretty consistent attention to this point, I still find myself stumbling around with a face full of mud quite often. It doesn't matter if you are practicing 'The Art of Loving' (great book, by the way) with a romantic beloved, your parents, children, cat, colleagues, self, garden, or the wind. The dance of letting love move through - staying open, curious, and attentive to the intimate spaces between self and other - seems to be a life long practice of endless potency.
So today's cairns are offered in support of that journey. It was hard to choose just three on the top topic of all poets throughout time. But today, this Hallmark day of over-hyped romance, I'm focusing on poems about this dance with the movement of Love, none of which require that you have a date tonight. Enjoy.
(And for those who just want a box of chocolates: here's my most recent romantic-ish love poem, and an old favorite single-life meditation on self-love while making breakfast.)