I have mixed feeling about Valentine’s Day. The marketers of the world would have us believe it is about flowers and fuzzy bears and chocolate – all of which I am a fan of but I would prefer to give and receive them when it is truly inspired giving and not because a date on the calendar commands it. Don’t get me wrong I am a huge fan of love and even romance but I prefer it to be given freely and with no secret agenda. Can I truly trust a lover who only brings me over-priced flowers once a year? Hmmm. Fortunately my husband seems to know the number to FTD 364 other days of the year too.
Perhaps my distrust of Valentine’s comes from my memories of high school. The week before Valentine’s you could order roses and have them sent to your sweetie while they were in class. All very exciting for a 16-year-old addicted to Danielle Steele novels. Of course on Valentine’s Day you would see the committed, sought after or most popular people with arms of roses while I walked around with one if I was lucky. I realize now I could have just sent myself flowers and avoided the humiliation. Of course in my dramatic teenage head, Valentine’s Day seemed to shout, “no one loves you”.
And the thing about love is that we all want it. Don’t say you don’t. I know you are lying. We all want to feel love and give love. The cult of Valentine’s tells us love is only felt in romantic terms and usually best displayed in romantic gestures but the opportunity to give and receive love is all around us whether we are in a committed relationship or not. You do not need a lover or partner or high school sweetheart to experience love. The practice of Bhakti Yoga is a devotional practice that asks us to love the Divine within another- to see them as emanations of God/Goddess. This may sound religious but it is actually quite a secular practice. Bhakti Yoga encourages us to see the best of someone or better said as a person with love, light and great potential within them. Would you not adore to be seen this way?
We are often told if you want to get love you must love yourself first. I agree that is true but I also believe if you want to get more love you have to offer it out to those around you first. There is a crusty waitress at a restaurant I love. I use to feel a sense of dread when I saw her approaching. I would think in my head, “How rude!”. “How dare she.” And then I thought try loving her now as she is instead. She is truly an emanation of the Divine. Am I so narrow minded and unfocused that I can not send love and appreciation to all? Is my love so conditioned on getting something from another or them being a certain way first that I can not love unconditionally? So I decided to be kind and extra grateful. Her service did not improve but I felt better and maybe she did too. Last time I was in she actually smiled at me. Sometimes you just have to decide to love the one you are with.
Bhakti Yoga does not mean we open ourselves for abuse or unkindness from others in fact is calls us to love ourselves so deeply that we would only command the best for ourselves. We must be clear on what we want in our own lives AND we must find ways of honoring our own Divinity. For me honoring the Divine within me means loving myself for all my power and all my foibles. I no longer try to tuck those parts of myself away that I am ashamed of. I try to love them just like a crusty waitress and somedays they smile at me too. Maybe it is true that the more we truly love ourselves we can truly love another. Maybe next Valentine’s I will send myself flowers.
Sending you love and blessings,
You are invited to open your heart and experience the love in our community at Balanced Life Yoga. Join me for drop-in classes:
- Tuesday 6:30-7:45 pm Fire and Water Ajax Studio
- Wednesday 10-11:15 am Fire and Water Ajax Studio
- Wednesdays 6:00-7:15 pm Flow Yoga Uxbridge Studio
- Thursdays 7:45-9:00 pm EMPower Yoga Ajax Studio
- Saturdays 10-11:15 am EMPower Yoga Ajax Studio
A celebrated transformational leader and a leading pioneer in embodied spirituality and Yoga, Shasta has inspired hundreds of people through her breakthrough methods for awakening and empowering your inner voice and divine power. Director, founder and senior teacher with Balanced Life Yoga, she delivers public talks, seminars and trainings on evolution and empowerment. She draws on a wide variety of techniques including Yoga, Shamanism, meditation, energy healing, coaching and the Law of Attraction. She is especially appreciated for her passionate way of allowing individuals to make sense of their world and embodied, holistic means to become the change they wish to see.
As early as in her teenage years, Shasta embarked on her journey as a spiritual explorer which led her to India, where she studied yoga, meditation and energy healing. She has studied with many remarkable mentors and she has undergone thousands of hour’s intense practice of meditation and spiritual studies. Shasta has taken every opportunity to become adept in her field through her own practice as well as through extensive training in yoga, group dynamics, meditation and spiritual counselling.