Close up Hands Tea x

Sit a bit and hear some observational stories I’ve been steeping.

Take two aspirin and call me after Valentine’s Day

Diana Ross had the goofiest song known to mankind in 1976 called Love Hangover.  As a kid, I had no idea what she was talking about back then, because I was too busy trying to figure out the Rubik’s cube and why anybody would develop such a cheerfully colored torture device (not when you could have a Pet Rock for kicks and grins).  No, love wasn’t high on my list, nor was I high on love back then.


Funny how time (and a little attention) can change a thing or two about a person.


Valentine’s Day is behind us and looking around I see a mixed bag of “morning after” emotions out there.  Saw a couple of fellows in line at the local coffee shop with telltale signs of a love hangover (empty wallet, red wine headache, etc.), a handful of women at the gas pump woozy from being all hopped up on chocolate for days and others still buzzing from a bliss that may last longer than they originally thought.  Oh, St. Valentine, you sneaky minx.


I’ve always felt a bit sorry for Valentine’s Day, as it has sort of been the Justin Bieber of minor holidays.  You know, celebrated by many, ignored by some and downright ridiculed by some of the mean kids on love’s playground.  Over the years, I’ve watched and listened as February 14th got raked over red-hot coals by folks who had either been burned by loved, ignored by love or just made a choice to be the people passionately goose-stepping to besmirch what they called the crass commercialization of Valentine’s Day.  Back when dinosaurs roamed the earth (or mimeographed copies trolled office hallways, at least) cartoons and drawings were taped to water coolers mocking Cupid’s lousy aim or some other take on last-minute desperation for companionship and free chocolate. 


Even when I didn’t have a sweetheart to call my own, I have always enjoyed counting down the days to February 14th, because, the idea of circling a date on the calendar to specifically call attention to love is pretty dang delicious, in my estimation.  But, big deal, if you don’t have romantic love in your life to shine a spotlight on – the heart is capable of all kinds of love that have nothing to do with plunking down a wad of hard-earned cash on long stemmed roses grown in Ecuador to be delivered to Encino.  Strictly romantic love can often be shallow and short-lived anyway, so one should be careful with that.


There is enough anti-Valentine’s Day sentiment out there to satisfy the most hard-hearted cynics of romantic love.  Those folks that wag their finger at greeting card companies, for “creating” what they see as a plastic, commercialized holiday have created their own capitalistic answer.  Seriously, go ahead and Google Anti-Valentines and see what they hath wrought.  Stick a pin in your Geoffrey Chaucer voodoo doll, if you must, and leave poor Hallmark alone, because history says that Chaucer’s the guy who first noted the darn day as one for romance in his sentimental poem “Parlement of Foules” written to honor the engagement of a couple of royal teenagers.  And I ask you, who knows more about mad, romantic love (that can last at least a full day) than teens?


Romance is nice, but the kind of love that rings my chime loudest is the kind that causes genuine philanthropy to rise up in our soul, calling our attention to the many faces we see in a day.  I am constantly telling my music students that the creation of truly lovely music is a combination of your brain, your heart and your soul.  The brain gives you the ability to figure out what the symbols on the page mean and how to make sounds happen.  Your heart provides the notion of tempo and note value, setting the template for rhythm and duration of the sounds.  But, the piece de resistance – the thing that gives music feeling and depth is the soul, the shading that one brings to the sounds with volume, intensity and character.  Music is not complete without all three elements.  To me, this is how we should walk through our days as we weave in and out among other people, not just using our brains, but implementing our heart and soul, too – to bring feeling and depth to our encounters with others – giving us a greater capacity for love.


This morning I read a social network posting of a woman who decided she was going to be proactive this year in her approach to February 14th.  Rather than continue to view the day with passive, calloused yellowed lenses, she gifted one of the service people she’s seen every day for a year with a candy heart – causing the recipient to smile broadly with genuine love on his face as he exclaimed that nobody had ever given him a Valentine before and how special it made him feel that she’d gone to that trouble.  Trouble?  Really?  It was a small gesture with such tremendous reward.  I believe when all was said and done, it was no trouble at all.


Chaucer’s 700 line poem about romantic love on Valentine’s Day ends with the main character “hoping still to learn the thing for which he seeks.”  If nothing else, maybe February 15th is the day to partake of the proverbial hair-of-the-dog, giving love another chance (in small doses) from this day forward.  Move on from the temporary, romantic notion of love and take a shot at love on a grander scale.  Make February 14th your goal, not just to celebrate the idea of love for one day, but to mark it as a culmination of a year’s worth of loving kindness.  Then, if someone gives you candy or flowers on Valentine’s Day smile and say, “Thank you.”  You’ve deserved it.


The art of love…is largely the art of persistence.” — Albert Ellis

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