One of the things that happens more and more often as one advances in the process of aging is looking back at the past. It seems interesting that the past often looks much better at the backward glance than it really was when it was happening. A person tends to push the less pleasant memories into the background and put more focus on the things that really brought pleasure. Some of my most happy memories are in conjunction with the month of February. I was born and raised in the Snow Belt, Youngstown, Ohio, and February was not the beautiful month that it is in the paradise of Florida. The days were short and the sun was seldom shining. At best, the weather was bleak, bone-chilling cold, and snowy, as winter struck with all of its fury. The month of February has only one day of celebration, but for a young girl Valentine’s Day was a very special time.
My earliest memories are of being in grade school and making my box to carry all of my Valentine’s home in. Each of my classmates took a shoe box and spent days decorating it to make it worthy of the wonderful Valentines that it would carry. When it was finished, there would be days left before “the big day” came, when it could be looked at and handled tenderly while the anticipation grew…. “Who would send me a valentine?…Would the special boy send me one?…Would I receive any fancy ones or just the variant that came in the standard Valentine pack?…There were big ones and little ones in the packages…Would I get any big ones?”
When the big day arrived, each of us would be called upon to deliver our cards and place them in the boxes of our classmates. The teacher would make fancy little heart cookies with pink icing, which we would nibble while opening our treasures. The special day would not end when the final bell rang because then it would be time to take our cards home. I would make my mother stop whatever she was doing and look at all my cards, and she would spend time looking at each and tell me how lovely they were. When dad got home from work, he would do the same.
As I grew older, the childhood memories of Valentine’s Day faded into the memories of a young teenager. I remember the first really “fancy” valentine I received. I was 13 and had a special boyfriend. He not only gave me a big, fancy valentine but also a heart-shaped box of candy! I wouldn’t eat the candy for a long, long time and would just look at the beautiful box, with the cellophane untouched. When I finally unwrapped the box, the candy was not very tasty, but the box kept its beauty for many years. The box that held the candy was so special that I kept it well into my college years. By that time there had been many more heart-shaped boxes, but none as special as the first.
Yes, Valentine’s Day is a special day of hearts and flowers for those involved in relationships. But what of those who face the month of February as single people. I honestly don’t know if men experience February 14th the same as women do and would suspect that they don’t, but to a woman no matter what her age, it is very painful to be alone on this special day. First of all, Valentine’s Day is literally thrown in our faces from the beginning of January until the big day is finally over. In every store we see the Valentine’s Day candy, the heart cups, the little red and white stuffed teddy bears and the racks and racks of cards. If one chooses to stay away from the business establishments then television must be avoided as well. We turn on the TV and see happy couples with the male partner giving his lady love gifts that range from new cars with red bows to lovely flower arrangements to diamond jewelry. All of these gifts are to show the lady how much she is cherished and loved. There is always a new film being released that says it is the “romantic film of the year,” and what better month to release it than February? Nothing makes a person feel more lonely than being alone in February.
As I look back, I realize how fortunate I was to always have someone who loved me at this time of year. I know that many people rarely experience the excitement of this holiday and are often alone during this time of togetherness. It is only in the last few years that I have found myself without a special someone to spend Valentine’s Day with, and now I begin to realize the loneliness experienced by many of my friends, some experiencing it for most of their lives. In the greater scheme of things, like wars, hurricanes, life threatening illness, poverty, and such, it seems a bit “shallow” to let one day be so important that one’s self-worth is measured by it.
Redefine Your Image of Self
As a teacher of metaphysics and one who tried very hard to transcend to a higher level of thinking and being, it becomes important, in fact crucial, to teach my students to redefine their image of Self. This is also something that I have to work on daily. In the spiritual teachings we strive for liberation, to be able to free ourselves from the media hype of what we should be, of that we have been programmed to think we should be, and to become what we are capable of being. In Shakespeare’s play Hamlet, the father gives advice to his son as the son leaves for college. He tells him many things but the most important advice is, “and this above all, to thine own self be true.” We do not have to fit the mold that others would like to put us in. We only have to create, for ourselves, the mold that fits us best.
One of the first steps to liberation can be achieved when we face a day, like Valentine’s Day, alone.
We can consider ourselves really free when we realize that we do not need another person to love us in order to be a complete person. We can only be complete when we love ourselves!
Regardless of that excellent advice, it can still be difficult to face the day created for lovers alone. I think there are some good ways to spend Valentine’s Day even without a significant other, and it is just as important that we can help to make the day more pleasant for friends who will face it alone.
The first idea is an easy one: send a Valentine’s Day card to a friend. (No, not an email card, a real card, with an envelope and stamp that will arrive in the mailbox.) There are cards made today that actually say “for a special friend.” They are wonderful to receive and what a great way to let a good friend know that you appreciate the friendship.
It is also fun to spend the day with another friend who will not be with a “mate.” Plan a great night out, a special meal followed by an evening at the theater or watching a movie. This is a day for love and there are many kinds of love that do not have to include romance.
I hope that this Valentine’s Day finds you with someone that you love, but if you are alone on February 14th remember that love can appear any time, often when it is least expected. Spend some time in self evaluation and think about what you REALLY desire in a mate. Offer it up to the Universe, and be open to the miracle of Love.
And remember, knowledge is the greatest power, so Walk in the Light.
Marcia began her career as a school teacher, working with preschool through inner city high school students. She has worked with all aspects of Metaphysics for over 40 years and specializes in Tarot and Numerology. Marcia’s clients and students are in every state and throughout Europe. Marcia has taught over 400 students to “read” the Tarot for the purpose of self-guidance and to use the powerful symbolism of the Tarot to reach higher levels of spirituality. Her column, Spiritually Speaking, originally ran for 8 years in Attitudes Magazine. Email email@example.com