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What does Valentine’s Day mean to you?

Do you know where Valentine’s Day comes from?

I wanted to reflect on Valentine’s Day this week and what it means to each of us, and so I decided I had better have a look into its history. I was quite surprised at the rather heart-sore story that I found!

In the third century AD a roman emperor made it law for all Romans to worship 12 gods and made it punishable by death to associate with Christians. A Christian martyr, named Valentinus, was so dedicated to Christ that he could not be stopped and was therefore arrested and imprisoned.

Since Valentinus was a learned man, the jailer sent his young blind daughter, Julia, to listen to his stories and his tales and see the world through his eyes. One day when Julia asked him whether God heard her prayers he replied in the affirmative. She asked if they could pray together for her sight to be returned. After some moments of silence during their prayers, a bright light shone into the cell and she could finally see.

On the eve of his death, Valentinus sent Julia a note encouraging her to stay close to God. He signed it ‘From your Valentine’. The next day, on February 14, his sentence was carried out. It is believed that Julia planted a pink-blossomed almond tree near his grave.

To this day the almond tree is a symbol of abiding love and friendship, and now, onalmond-tree-love-affection February 14 each year, messages of affection, love, friendship and devotion are shared around the world.

I believe that marketing and the media has taken Valentine’s Day and created the expectation in people that it is a day of being showered with flowers, chocolates, elaborate cards and lots of love. And this is what the day is like for some. For others, this is not always the case. And many are OK with that, but I bet there are many who are not OK with it. For some it may be a day that stings its reminder that you’re still single, a fact that you’re not comfortable with. Or, if you’re in a partnership, it may make you feel less loved and worthy on the day if your significant other forgets to celebrate it. There are all number of reasons why this day, for some, can often be a sad one.

My proposal to you for Valentine’s Day, and what it means to you, begins with two questions:

Who is the most important person in your life?

Many of you might answer, my kids, my husband, my wife, my mother, my father, my sister etc…

What about you?

Surely you are the most important person in your life? Surely your cup is the one that needs to be filled to the brim with love so that you can share it with those other significant people in your life? Don’t rely solely on others to fill you up with love.

self-love-valentine's-dayOn Valentine’s Day this year I challenge you to do something fabulous for yourself that fills your cup with love. Enjoy all the love and affection that others share with you and enjoy sharing that love with others. But please, do not hold back on love, while you wait for someone else to give you flowers or a beautiful card. Instead treat yourself to something special as a symbol of the love you have for yourself…after all, you are the person in this world who you spend the most time with!

Please share with me what ideas you have in mind, I can’t wait to hear 🙂

Taking a moment to be present…

taking-moment-be-present

Time to just be present

There are always long lists of to-dos and ‘shoulds’ and ‘coulds’, but today’s Saturday and it’s pouring with rain outside. I decided to give myself a little bit of time out on the couch. Millie is curled at my feet. I had just baked some gluten free bread while listening to an amazing talk by Anita Moorjani, on her near death experience and how loving ourselves is the most important thing. I felt it was time to put down my phone, tuck my feet under Millie for some extra warmth and then just be present.

It’s quite delicious when we make that decision to give ourselves permission to simply be present in that moment. No thinking about ‘what next’. No brain busy with a million lists and scoldings…instead mindfulness and being wholly present in that moment. I don’t find myself doing this often enough. To be present brings with it a beautiful sense of calm, because there is no space for your brain to monkey around and jump from one task to the next. You’re right here in that moment, with a sense of peace…

be-present-moment-mindfulness

Presence in what’s around us

What caught my attention first was the rain drops running down the ranch slider. They’d land, like crystal balls, join with more droplets and then run down the pane. Their tops reflected the green from the metal and the bottoms were clear, each creating a half moon affect. It was quite mesmerising and I felt so peaceful and relaxed (you should try it 🙂 ).

Do you find that you spend most of your time hounding yourself to do certain things? To complete certain tasks?

Does that stress you out? Feeling like no matter how much you do, it’s never all going to get done?

In these moments, see whether taking a deep breath in through the nose and slowly releasing it out the mouth helps. Try doing that 3 times. Feel the sensations of the breath in your nostrils, your lungs expanding, the air over your lips. Feel your body relaxing ever so slightly.

Take notice of the room around you, the smells in the air, the sounds coming your way. Feel that moment right here and now. Give yourself permission to stop, even if only for a few seconds, nourish yourself and reset.

If you allowed yourself, just for a minute to be present and let go of all those busy thoughts, what could you give yourself permission to do right now that would nourish you?

 

Pleasure In This Moment…

pleasure-autumn-leaves-mindfulnessBreathing in I calm body and mind, breathing out I smile. Dwelling in the present moment I know this is the only moment.

– Thich Nhat Hanh

Do you get pleasure out of your daily skin care routine?

Do your many daily routines bring you pleasure?

Pleasure…that sensual feeling of being right there in that moment, enjoying, feeling, with every sinew and cell of your body, luxuriating in it, and bubbles of gratitude fizzing up through your insides. That to me is pleasure, savouring this moment that we have right now.

I walk outside and the sunbeams fall on my face. The wind tousles my salty hair and I hear that piercing sound of the cicadas. Immediately I am right here in the moment. Right here with my feet on the grass, savouring. Every sense is awake and I feel that gratitude fizzing…for experiencing this moment, for having all my senses to be able to luxuriate in all that the world is offering me right this second. I breathe in deeply and as I breathe out I smile. Hello pleasure, I am here with you, hearing you, enjoying you, taking note of you, thank you! Thank you!

It might be that first cup of coffee for some that brings pleasure in the moment...what is it for you?

It might be that first cup of coffee for some that brings pleasure in the moment…what is it for you?

Maybe for you it’s that morning coffee you dream of as you roll out of bed. First that smell hits your nostrils and a slight smile plays at the corner of your lips. Next you hold the cup in both hands and the warmth drifts into your skin. Your shoulders drop and your breathing slows ever so slightly. You’re letting go of some of that morning madness. You take a slow tentative sip and that hot liquid swirls around your mouth and disappears down your throat. You’re in these moments, savouring, enjoying them, letting them play with your senses and feeling this dose of pleasure dissolve the tension in your body.

Finding pleasure in skincare

As I have written before, Bee Sensual, as well as being natural skin care inspired by our bees and their delicious honey, is also about sensuality and mindfulness. Over the years I have worked on changing my attitude to my body and the way I speak with it. I try to be more conscious of the relationship I have with her, and of making it a special one. My skincare rituals are all a part of this shift. I wake up in the morning and wander over to the basin, splash my face a few times with cold water and then pat it dry. On the days when I’m open to the sensual pleasures around me I delight in the sharp contrast of cold on my warm sleepy face. As I pat it dry I look at myself in the mirror and think ‘you and me, we’re going to tackle this day head on, with joy and enthusiasm.’

Depending on what I’m up to for the day I take the Gel Toner and pump a little into the palm of my hand. I love the hint of geranium, and it’s often enough to stop me and remind me to quit thinking about what I didn’t do yesterday and what I should be doing this morning. So busy racing ahead and forgetting this moment. I gently massage it all over my face taking pleasure in the texture and the dewy feeling it leaves on my skin. If I start to look critically at the smile lines hinting at the corners of my eyes, I pull myself up. I remind myself that my face and I, we’ve done some things and we’ve seen some places, and don’t you bet we’ve had some bloody great laughs. So, if I have a few lines around my eyes it means a life of much laughter. What a gift.

Slowing down

Basically I believe that pleasure is all around us all the time, waiting for us to slow down and notice it. It begs us, it plays with us, calling from

The heavenly scent from an unfurling rose = pleasure in that moment.

The heavenly scent from an unfurling rose = pleasure in that moment 🙂

the tops of a fence post in the form of a flitting fantail, gently reminding us as a rose unfurling, releasing its heavenly aromas into the air. Or quietly teasing, as the wind tickling our face with our hair. When I say slow down, I don’t mean quit your day job and go and live in the bush. I simply mean slow the pace of your mind and open up a little to the pleasure waiting for us in every moment.

Try it next time you’re moisturising your body. Make that one minute your sacred time of flinging the windows wide open for pleasure to fly in. Let her sit softly in your hands as you feel the strength and great support that your legs give you each day. Feel your skin softening from the moisturiser. Your muscles gaining a little extra oomph from your gentle reassuring touch. We’re a team after all, us and our bodies! Give yourself a big, loving smile for the day in that mirror 🙂

What is bringing you pleasure in the moment?