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Practicing Love on Valentine's Day

February 14
By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat


Love is not something that you just fall into, as the romance novels and hit songs suggest. Love is a spiritual practice. You can get better at it over time. Here are eight ways to practice expressing love.

In the morning, ask yourself: "Who and what am I going to let aboard the ark of my heart today?" In the evening, review your day, warmly greeting all your loves.

The Buddhist teacher Thich Nhat Hanh suggests two mantras that can be spoken by those in intimate relationships. One partner says, "Darling, I am here for you." The other responds, "I know you are there, and I am very happy."

Try the Quaker practice of "holding someone in the light" by visualizing that person in the circle of God's love and presence.

Love is the spiritual prescription to counter the personal problem of fear. Rent the video Defending Your Life. After an accident, Daniel (Albert Brooks) finds himself in a place called Judgment City where he watches episodes from his life projected on a screen. He sees how constant anxiety has ruled his behavior and prevented him from being able to have meaningful relationships. Then he meets Julia (Meryl Streep), a radiant and confident woman, and he gets another chance to move from fear to love.

The rose was called the "queen of the flowers" by the Greek poet Sappho. It is known as an herb of love. Take time to smell the roses today, or use some rose essential oil for aromatherapy.

Go to the library or a bookstore and get a book of art by Marc Chagall. Take a long look at the deliciousness of romantic love as portrayed in the painting The Birthday. A man floats in a room after greeting his future bride with a kiss and a bouquet of flowers.

Create an audiotape of some of your favorite love songs, and give it to your partner.

According to Rabbi David Cooper, love is based on a desire for completion — "to be whole, to be in harmony, to be connected, and to be free." As a Valentine's entry in your journal, write about what completes you. It does not have to be a person; it could be your work, an experience in nature, a hobby, or something else.

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