Mindfulness is paying attention here and now with an open heart and mind. So, how about practicing the art of mindfulness this Valentine’s Day. It seems that Valentine’s Day has become a holiday of great pressure. Those in relationships feel the pressure to deliver the perfect date with the perfect gift while single people feel the pressure of a spotlight on their less than perfect relationship status. Valentine’s Day is the one day where everyone – even the most jaded – secretly wants their life to look and feel like a Hollywood romance. However, like a lot of things in human nature, we miss the point because we fear how we are being perceived. This year I suggest we use Valentine’s Day as a reminder to simply acknowledge the existence and beauty of love in all its forms.

Instead of feeling devastated because you can’t get a reservation at the best restaurant in town, why not just take a moment to think about the person you most love and let them know in a way that is specific and genuine to your relationship with that person. And, yes, this advice applies to single people. In fact, the reality is we are all “single people”, some of us just share space with other single people in closer proximity. We share our lives, not our individual realities, fears, doubts, desires, and dreams. So why not start the day with THAT relationship. If the old adage is true that you can’t love someone else until you love yourself, why not take a moment to do just that. Acknowledge all the things that make you loveable and your life amazing. Give quiet thanks for the gifts you’ve been given, the qualities that bring you the most compliments, the things you can do better than anyone, even if no one yet knows it but you. Open up your mind to the reality of how much love fills your life, if maybe not your bed (at least today).

Perhaps Valentine’s Day doesn’t need to be a reminder of romance but a reminder of kindness, starting with the conscious decision to be nice to yourself. Treat yourself as if you were madly in love with you. Be mindful of yourself and others. Hug somebody. Hold the door. Talk more softly and listen more openly. Give a smile before you give a judgment. Call someone to just say hello. Take the time to really look around at all the things you usually rush by. If you are in a romantic relationship, REALLY look at your partner. See them. Touch them. Thank them. Love them as carefully and passionately as you can. And if you’re spending the day without a date, so what? That doesn’t mean your life lacks love, it just means that the extraordinary one who is looking for you hasn’t found you yet. But you better be ready, because they’re on their way.

That’s how I’ll spend this Valentine’s Day – celebrating the fact that love puts the “awe” in awesome.

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