For the love of money?
February draws relationships squarely into focus—particularly familial or romantic love bonds which serve as nutrient-rich soil for our growth, compassion and understanding. We’re speaking of Valentine’s Day – popular culture’s multi-billion-dollar romance extravaganza.
V-Day is nothing less than a whirling dervish of expectations, co-dependence, projection and consumerism. Indeed, we are spoon-fed its hype each February 14th. Greeting card companies, chocolatiers and Madison Avenue hipsters are in conspiratorial overdrive to engage our credit card cha-chings. Sound cynical?
Valentine’s Day celebrates a priest – Saint Valentine – loyal to his abiding belief in love’s omnipotence – who forfeited his life when a Roman Emperor outlawed marriage!
St. Valentine was imprisoned, beaten, stoned and eventually beheaded. Yikes! Hallmark fails to divulge this unsavory historical backdrop to the unsettling biography of St. Valentine.
Love, like the life of St. Valentine, is complicated. Love is fraught and flawed because like love’s protagonists we too, are less than perfect. We are simply human.
Love exemplifies both positive and negative.
“Love’s virtue represents human kindness, compassion, and affection. It extends itself in unselfish and benevolent concern for the good of another”.
Contrarily, “Love’s vice represents humanity’s moral flaw, akin to vanity, selfishness, amour-propre, and egotism. It potentially leads into variations of mania, obsessiveness and codependency.”
A Deeper Look at Love
While Love is indeed a state of being, it is also active, fluid, and it begins with intention from within. What becomes of Love when we are not clear about its reasons or our intentions?
- Or what our needs, wants and desires are?
- Or we are unclear about who we are ourselves?
- Or about the why and how we Love? Through what filters? Are we unconditional? Are we consistent?
- What happens when we aren’t sure if we can Love to the degree of some idealized notion foisted on us?
- And why would we care if we can’t?
- What if, at the core we realize that maybe we don’t exactly Love ourselves?
Perhaps we are so busily engaged in doing for others, trapped in balancing life and its whirlwind of “expectation, co-dependence, projection,” that we neglect our still small inner voice, alternately whispering and screaming in our ear…
“Hey, I love you, please… slow… down.
What is Love?
Love is a Verb. It begins with self-trust, radical self-care and awareness. It operates best within self-defined boundaries and is served by compassionate inner listening. Tapping into True Self is love in action.
Love is Choice. Big and small. Love is Decision, moment by moment and over time.
Love is the Flight Attendant’s announcement to put on your own oxygen mask before attempting to help someone else. We are thus reminded we cannot help others meaningfully before first connecting ourselves to our own life-giving resources.
Love is waking-up to Self. In our upcoming workshop “Love is a Verb“, Rita Abdallah and I will share our teachings on love. The purpose of this workshop is to better prepare a sacred space within where Love can flourish for the Self and for our Beloveds. Through yoga, guided meditation and self-inquiry, let us engage our minds and bodies to answer Love’s noble calling.
About Peter Chakerian
“Who am I?” “Usually, when you ask people who they are, they tell you what they do.” So says a favorite digital nomad-writer I know. Years ago, while creating a social media profile, I fell into that trap.
Long before my “essential communication” practice was cemented in my Yoga Teacher Training, my Twitter “Who am I?” had brevity, but, ugh, it reads like a giant laundry list of Accomplishments. Employments. Big Red-Letter Days. Gold Stars.
Yoga (and, by proxy, the many people it has brought to me) changed me for the better — particularly on a cellular and spiritual level. That’s not to say that I am perfectly grounded; none of us are. It’s all a sliding scale, a moving target.
We are all Bodhisattvas on the run, thanks to Western culture, but yoga is the essence, the vehicle and the wisdom to get us all closer to that grounding every day. Yoga is more than asanas, and it has brought everything so squarely into focus, particularly my love for building community.