“Love can only be found through the act of loving.”
— Paulo Coelho
Good morning and happy Monday! I hope you enjoyed a terrific weekend. I’m super excited because it is Valentine’s Week! How about you?
Yes, I admit it. I love “Love.” My mother said it was the first word I spoke as a young child and that I wrote the word everywhere my little hands and pen could reach. Give me a good romance movie, and I become a tearful mess, no matter how many times I’ve seen the movie. My favorites? Moonstruck, Love Actually, The Notebook. My eyes are welling up, just thinking about them!
Even though I don’t, personally, have a Valentine in my life this year, I am still very excited about this special day of celebrating love. I think we can all get excited about it, whether we’re in a romantic love relationship or not. There are many important people in our lives, who we can show our love and appreciation to on Valentine’s Day and every day!
Today’s article, written by intimacy and couples expert Diana Daffner, is called, “Valentine’s Day: Presents or Presence?” and explores the deeper, more meaningful gifts (than are traditionally given) that we can give to our loved ones on this special day of love or any day of the year. I think you will enjoy Diana’s article very much ♥
by Diana Daffner
It’s that time of year, when romance reigns supreme. Candlelit restaurant dinners, candy, cards, gifts, flowers. Endless expressions of love.
I’m all in favor of celebrating love, shouting aloud our passion and devotion to one another. I love romantic dinners, cards, flowers, presents. (Pass on the candy, please!) However, what I most treasure as a gift, not just on Valentine’s Day, but every day, is the gift of my beloved’s presence.
What does that word, presence, mean? At one level it simply means physical nearness. Sitting together watching TV or at a theater, walking along a beach, feeling the closeness of my beloved’s body and knowing that we are a unit, that we belong together. The tenderness of loving comfort that such nearness brings is often envied by those who dance alone. Yet for those who do have a partner, sometimes this endearing level of comfort allows us to mask and ignore an underlying, gnawing sense of separateness, of not really being known or touched at all. We find ourselves sacrificing ecstasy for contentment, relinquishing dreams of rapture for the comfortable stability of familiarity.
There are other levels of presence that can provide even greater joy, deeper intimacy and more nourishing spiritual bonding. Consciously or unconsciously, all humans crave this deeper level of presence. We yearn to be truly seen and heard. A caring and compassionate therapist or counselor often fulfills this need for many of us. Someone who listens to our emotional self-discovery, who focuses exclusively on us. When we stand before others in an AA meeting, the undeviating attention allows us to speak about ourselves honestly and from the depth of our being.
This power of being in the present moment is experienced in spiritual and wisdom circles. Drawing on ancient custom, we each speak in turn, passing a ‘talking stick’ (maybe better called a ‘listening stick’) that ensures that others in the circle are indeed listening to our words, our personal expressions of self. When we trust that we are being listened to, we can learn to drop our public face and reveal our inner soul.
Even alone, we can experience the power of revealing ourselves by imagining or sensing our spiritual guide, guardian angel or our own higher self. We can speak to them, and their willing presence, attentive and unwavering, will allow us to say what needs to be said. As the old cliché reminds us, when we share our pain with another, it lessens, and when we share our joy, it doubles.
And going deeper still, we can move beyond a presence that permits emotional disclosure to a level of exquisite presence that simply is. A level of presence that invites us to share our essence with another, to settle softly into our own beingness. The quiet peacefulness of a meditation group, a yoga or tai chi class, is due to this shared presence, as we each rest in our own sense of Self. No longer separated by our stories, we are joined by our mutual participation in the Oneness of an all-pervasive, ever-present intelligent energy.
What does all this have to do with Valentine’s Day? In a love relationship, we have at our side someone who loves us. Not a therapist, not a casual classmate or fellow workshop participant. A flesh and blood human being who has chosen, and is willing, to the best of their ability, to be close to us, to be intimate. While as individuals, we may walk, talk and experience life differently from one another, when we come into open presence with each other, all those differences slide away. Only the Oneness remains. It is here, in relationship, that we must learn to walk this path, to give presence instead of just presents…
Copyright Diana Daffner. All Rights Reserved.
I’d love to hear your thoughts and comments on today’s article! Please scroll down and leave your comments below.
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Wishing you a day filled with presence and love!