Art by Kuba Fiedorowicz
“The entire universe is a great theatre of mirrors.” – Alice A. Bailey
Valentine’s Day is a holiday that finds its true roots in Pagan culture with the Roman festival of Lupercalia (see: Hidden History of Valentine’s Day). Originally inspired by honoring the Greek deity Pan, this festival allowed young Romans to perform a “dating” lottery where young women would put their names in vase, and a young bachelor would select the name. The person selected would be the person they’d participate in sexual rituals with, while also maintaining this particular sexual relationship throughout the rest of the year.
Today, this is a day that tends to remind us of relationships, romantic gestures, hearts, candies, flowers and the type of idealized fairy-tale love that Disney princesses embedded in the female consciousness throughout the years.
“Let us then suppose the mind to be, as we say, white paper, void of all characters, without any ideas:—How comes it to be furnished? Whence comes it by that vast store which the busy and boundless fancy of man has painted on it with an almost endless variety? Whence has it all the materials of reason and knowledge? To this I answer, in one word, from experience.” – John Locke
For those whose hearts are being held by the one they care for, it’s a day to celebrate the beauty of love – to appreciate what you appreciate about your significant other. However, even for those who remain untethered, and are still looking for “the one”, I encourage you to take this day to celebrate all of the ones who have made you the “one” you are today.
In celebrating this theme, I’ve created a list of 6 of the most powerful pieces of wisdom that love has revealed to me, from the ones I have met as I’ve searched for unification with unconditional love of all experience.
Each of these 6 reflections is a piece of knowledge I could have never learned completely (and wholly) unless love was the catalyst for revelation. Although each lesson of this perennial wisdom was learned by experiences which have come to pass, each partner, person and part of the fabric of my story is someone I will eternally love, and find gratitude for.
6 Powerful Lessons Love Can Reveal to You
- The Importance of Friendship: Love is an emotion that is constantly evolving as it weaves through the fabric of time. While passion and romance are usually the catalyst for love revealing itself, as a relationship progresses the love may transform into something different. Some romantic relationships are formed from friendship, and some relationships find that once the Honeymoon phase ends, friendship is the better suit for longterm goals. When romance fades, and companionship heightens – this is a gift in and of itself. Attachment first makes the ego feel saddened at the perceived “devolution” of what once was, yet in clearing the lens of perception – the importance of friendship before, during, and after a relationship can allow love to continue to evolve, as this person still can remain in their own unique place in your heart.
- Letting Go of Judgement: Learning to let go of judgement and detach from the fetters of our own preferences/opinions is another valuable gem that love can impart. We all have a past, we have all made mistakes, your blue may be someone else’s purple, and your individual experiences may not always be understood by the ones you love. Our stories are what we live by, but if we can appreciate the color of what makes us different, it empowers us to love more by seeking the lesson in the contrast. We may not always see eye to eye, but learning to agree to disagree (without judgement) is a beautiful thing.
- How Pain Gives You Strength: Many, if not all, of us have one ex that hurt us pretty bad. We tend to want to compartmentalize this person into an enemy (“the bad guy”), because when we are going through a particularly painful situation we need to find the right outlet to project these difficult emotions onto. When it’s all happening, it’s hard to see the forest through the trees – but once you are out of the metaphorical woods, you may find yourself stronger than ever. The relationships that teach you how not to be, and what you don’t want, give you strength. These people are not “bad guys”, they are also on their own journey, and have their own demons to battle – they too need love, even if from afar. Finding strength in love’s painful moments allows you to transmute that darkness into light, and in time you will shine even brighter than ever before.
- Forgiveness: The Hawaiian practice of Hoʻoponopono is a ritual, which corrects, restores and maintains good relationships between loved ones through identifying problems, discussing transgressions and forgiving them. Forgiveness allows us to alchemically transform pain into clarity by letting go of what happened (or what didn’t happen), and liberating feelings of resentment for former partners. Resentment is a toxic emotion, which in turn only hurts us the more we hold on to it. The past no longer exists, and your present presence is your gift. The ultimate act of love, courage, and spiritual maturity is being able to not only forgive the person who hurt you, but to forgive yourself as well. Forgiveness empowers, and forgiveness frees our heart from any residual heaviness the past may have left behind. “I forgive you” can be just as effective as “I love you”.
- Learning to See Yourself, Outside of Yourself: Love can show us aspects of ourselves that we may not have otherwise seen. The ability to see yourself through the eyes of another, allows you to love the person who serves as this mirror, and to appreciate the various aspects of your reflection as well.
- The Magic of Creativity: The great philosopher Rumi once said, “You are the universe in ecstatic motion”. Ecstatic being an operative word, which is loosely defined as the feeling of overwhelming happiness or excitement. As human beings, our very nature is motion – we are busy vibrations of light and matter working our way through the galaxy, seeking to find our place in the world. At our core we are creators, here to create our reality through the work, art, relationships, and experiences we allot our time to. When we fall in love, deep, ecstatic love, our base natural instinct is to want to create a life with the person we are giving our heart to, and the life we create with this person can become a new construct of our reality. This new life, may also evolve into a life we give birth to – the manifestation of two halves becoming whole (if that’s the path you choose). Creativity is amplified when love is fully present, and an open heart has the power to ripple out to all you create, and all of the lives you touch along the way.
Today, and always, if we can attempt to seek the magic in all of love’s various gradients – life’s journey can truly become a work of art, and each color that paints this canvas only adds to the beauty of all that is.