I love Valentine’s Day. I suppose that my maiden name “Valentin” may have something to do with it. When I was in school, my dad, who is a professional photographer, would take my photo, develop it in his own studio and help me make Valentine’s Day cards for my classmates. This year, I made cookies and shared them with my family. Some other years I’ve sent out packages or love notes to friends near and far. To me, this is a day of love and friendship. It isn’t just for that special someone in our lives, but rather a celebration of the heart, of love, of that heart which is bigger than our physical heart, the heart that animates and blesses and steers the entire world.

Some people are not at all into Valentine’s Day

I’ve heard people call this day a capitalist creation, a terrible day when flowers are needlessly wasted, and even a day that marginalizes people who are not part of a couple. To each his own, but I don’t agree with any of it. I love Valentine’s Day and I continue to celebrate it. For instance, earlier this week my mom came to visit and gifted us some beautiful red candles for our table and some gorgeous Valentine’s Day cards she had made herself. This morning my husband and I gave thanks for the blessings of love, commitment and relationship. In my brother’s home, my little nephew is probably right at this moment giving them sweet things he made in school for them. All of it reminds us of the importance of relationship. Of the care and nurturing of our heart.

Beware of your words as they affect your wellness

Sometimes in my Plant Spirit Medicine healing practice, when a client tells me “their heart was broken” I am always quick to point out that since they are alive, their heart is not broken, but that perhaps the experience was “heart-wrenching.” Words are powerful. When we constantly use the words “break my heart” it is absolutely not good for our physical, emotional or spiritual health. We never want to invite into our lives something we do not want. The heart is the captain of our ship, the captain of our wellbeing. In the gorgeous dance of health and healing, all of our organs, all of our officials take their cues from the heart. Anything and everything we can do to strengthen our heart: physical, emotional and spiritual, is worth doing because it is essential for our good health and for the continuation of our life.

Our hearts can be immensely resilient

Nature is wise. It then makes all the sense in the world for our heart, being as essential as it is to the continuation of our life, be strong and flexible. Our heart is meant to feel love and loss. It is meant to be extended, to grow and change. In fact when we suffer, our heart becomes larger, we become more compassionate, and our emotional and spiritual heart grows stronger. The heart is to be honored, respected, heard, shared, listened to and, above all, nurtured.

How, then, can we take better care of our spiritual heart?

1.By feeling and cultivating joy.

2.By engaging with people and activities that help us feel connected.

3.By pursuing our dreams.

4.By resisting the urge to be cold, lonely and in the dark when things don’t go our way.

5.By sitting around a consecrated fire and cultivating community.

6.By allowing ourselves to be witnessed, to be seen.

7.By paying attention to the messages our heart sends us all the time. For example: “my heart is not in it,” “my heart is heavy with this.” “this makes my heart ache,” “my heart tells me so.”

8. By seeking guidance from your heart, touching your heart with your hand and breathing into it. By crying when we need to, as it cleanses our heart.

9.By doing your best to be in right relationship with yourself and others.