February is the love month. It starts with the anticipation of Valentine’s Day.
Ever since we were all in grade school we couldn’t wait to carry home a shoebox full of “be mine” valentines. We naturally think of “who” we love during this time, not so much about “what” we love.
In January, I started re-reading the book “Simple Abundance” by Sarah Ban Breathnach. I first read it in 1997 during a particularly painful time in my life. It is hard to believe it’s been 11 years since my first reading. I had my heart broken in 1997. It took almost two years for me to recover my bearings, to be able to sing my made-up songs in the mornings and to believe that I would indeed love again. I know this part of my story is not unique. Many of us fall in and out of love over our lifetime. What helped me regain my positive perspective was Breathnach’s approach to gratitude, and too, knowing it’s not always about “whom” you love, but knowing “what” you love.
I read a saying the other day and put it on my bulletin board: “The key to loving how you live is knowing what it is you truly love.” Part of knowing what you love is listening to that still, small voice within. It happens all the time…you see a painting and are moved to draw closer…you read a poem and feel tears well, heart touched…you are drawn to certain colors that remind you of special times...Knowing what you love is about trusting your own instincts, your gut, your heart, the spirit that leads you. Sarah says “you’ll know what you love the moment you see it. It’s that familiar “wow” reaction. Trust the impulse, capture the encounter, and record the clues.” This she says leads you on the journey of knowing what it is you truly love.
Knowing what you love is also about not being swayed by the opinions of others. So you like stripes and plaids together—go for it! Wear it well. You like the color fuchsia, when everyone else is screaming beige. Go for the gusto. You love the mornings; your partner hates them—celebrate the sunrise alone without being lonely. You want to be a theater major and your folks desperately want you to love accounting. Acknowledge to them that you realize you have to earn a living to support the life that you love. Remember the old saying, “life is not a dress rehearsal.”
Some folks believe the still, small voice inside is intuition. Others believe it is the way God speaks to us. When you know what you truly love you are living in that space which is your calling…your desired present and future. Part of knowing what you truly love is discovering your authentic self. It’s not about loving someone else. It is about loving yourself. Oscar Wilde once said, “to love oneself is the beginning of a life-long romance.” So for the month of February, as we walk by the aisles of valentine cards begging to be bought, Breathnach says “the most essential question we can ask is: what is it that we truly love? Be patient. We aren’t going to overhaul our lives, our homes, and our wardrobes in a week. Trust that your authentic life will unfold naturally and with grace.”