Oh February: L’Amour!
This is the month for love—or so we are told—as the February 14th Valentines Day looms in front of us. I want to offer you the following proposition: to treat this month equally about Self-Love and a reverence for your Self. Especially if you are flying solo, or are in partnership, but need to cultivate a little more “me” for greater harmony and balance.
Your most important relationship is actually the relationship to yourself, first and foremost. It is from your love of self, the feeling of fullness and pleasure, that you can extend solid, all-affirming love unto and with someone else. Here are a few ideas on how to prioritize your self-care and spend some time giving yourself some real Luv!
Primed for Love
For me this most certainly means food! We are no strangers to knowing that certain foods increase serotonin, the happy hormone, in our bodies. Ingredients like raw cacao, avocado and Maca, are high in levels of Tryptophan, the amino acid that acts as a precursor to producing serotonin (a neurotransmitter that creates feelings of happiness and well-being). In addition to these ingredients, stock up on kale, other leafy greens, broccoli, apples, and berries, which are all Plant-based sources of tryptophan. Love yourself by filling up on the foods that will lift your mood, give you the feeling of fullness and offer true transformative nourishment.
Getting creative in the kitchen to make beautiful nourishing meals as also an act of self-care; take the time to prepare your meal lovingly for yourself. There is a form of meditation that kicks-in when you are intentional about what you are doing: washing, slicing, chopping, cutting, sauteing. As your process unfolds, do so with attention and care while you are cooking, allow it to take time and for it to take on a ritualistic space in your day. The end result, a delicious nourishing meal for yourself or shared with friends, partners and family, is the gift of your loving process. Honour it.
Call in the Pleasure Prana
Pleasure is a physical experience, but so many of us are uncomfortable dropping into the physical and are detached from ourselves. In The Practice, we use our physical bodies to let go of our analytical thinking mind, and enter a more embodied state, where we feel connected to our inner-selves and feel freer to explore. Many of us feel sluggish or foggy, and generally “not at home” within our bodies. When we stoke our own fire by increasing our heart rates and moving, shaking, and dancing we discover that our bodies are magical! And, when we allow them to feel (really feel!), we can let go of whatever inhibitions or judgments we may be carrying around in that analytical mind of ours. So, go ahead: move, dance, shimmy and shake! Let the energy or prana in your body fuel you and your desire.
The foundation of self-love is simple: practice presence. Simple does not mean easy, I know! Can we however accept the invitation to stay present with what we are doing, whether it is crafting away in the kitchen or moving our bodies, and being present with the feelings that arise—can we lean into our experiences as they unfold? Being more in-tune with ourselves, our moods, feelings and experiences, creates a clearer headspace. With a cleared headspace, we can feel an openness to explore, to get curious and to love more fully. Incidentally it also allows us to know our boundaries fully and that keeps us feeling safe and empowered.
And yes, Pleasure!
Eros in the Greek meaning is love in all aspects, and I take that to mean: what brings you pleasure in your life? Make a list of these things that make you feel invigorated, lucky to be alive, truly joyful and at home in the world. Do more of these things. Audrey Lorde, wrote in her 1978 paper, Uses of the Erotic.
“For the erotic is not a question only of what we do; it is a question of how acutely and fully we can feel in the doing. Once we know the extent to which we are capable of feeling that sense of satisfaction and completion, we can then observe which of our various life endeavors bring us closest to that fullness.”
What is more self-loving than that? I hope some, or all, of the ideas above brings you closer to more divine self-love. It is when you feel whole, fully embodied and inspired that you can love more boldly, more pleasurably and connect to the greater feelings of abundant love. Happy February to you!