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Newsletter from Feb 2, 2017 "Did I live? Did I love? Did my life have meaning?"
It easy to believe that Valentine's Day was created by Hallmark Greeting Cards and The Florist Associations (FTD), but in reality there are several interesting tales about how this day of love came into being.
Scholars believe Valentine's Day originally was a Pagan holiday, celebrating the feast of fertility. With the rise of Christianity, a Christian priest named Valentine was martyred on Feb 14th, 269 AD. According to legend, Valentine ignored a Roman Emperor's decree, temporarily banning marriage. Refusing to abide by the law, Valentine was caught covertly administering the sacrament of marriage to several young lovers. He was arrested and after refusing to renounce Christianity, the Roman emperor sentenced him to death; he was martyred. Pope Galesius in 496 AD, declared Feb 14th Saint Valentine's Day in his honor.
While today Valentine's Day has become way too commercialized for most of us, it is still a perfect opportunity to reflect and celebrate the powerful emotion of love.
"Love is the bridge between you and everything." Rumi
On our death bed, alone with our final breaths and thoughts, we won't be concerned with how much wealth we have accumulated or what we still think we need to acquire to finally be happy. Most likely our final thoughts will be three simple questions: "Did I live, did I love and did my life have meaning?"
To truly understand what love is, we have to recognize what "love" is not. Love is not lust, which is a short lived burst of primal hormonal responses deep within our hypothalamus. Animalistic sexual lust, may be enjoyable and very necessary to populate the earth, but lust is much different from love. Love is not about being jealous, manipulative, judgmental or controlling.
The song by Nazareth says "Love hurts" but in fact love is the polar opposite of hurt and suffering. True love is one of life's greatest pleasures and needs. Unconditional love is an emotion you can only truly experience with someone that has stood beside you through your darkest moments along with the greatest of times. The people that loved you when you least deserved it, but needed it the most.
Mother Teresa once wrote, "The hunger for love is much harder to satisfy than our hunger for bread. If you love until it hurts there can be no more hurt and only love."
The paradox with love is that in order to experience love fully, you must become vulnerable. To become vulnerable you expose your weaknesses, but at the same time being vulnerable requires great strength! Love is a choice. You can choose to love or you can choose to fear, but it is impossible to serve two masters.
Take time this holiday to embrace and truly appreciate the people in your life that have been brave enough to show you love and compassion.
See you on the mat!
David Scott Yglesias
David Scott Yglesias (Founder, E-RYT)