If You’re a Romantic–Don’t Read This

Much like love itself, St. Valentine and his reputation as the patron saint of love are not matters of verifiable history, but of faith. Lisa Bitel, Professor of History and Religion

Today, in the United States and England, people are celebrating Valentine’s Day, known as the day of love. However, Valentine’s Day began as a feast to celebrate the decapitation of a third-century Christian martyr, or perhaps two. St. Valentine wasn’t a patron of love. In fact, there were several Valentinus saints over the years, none of whom were particularly romantic.

According to historians, the romance part started with Chaucer, author of The Canterbury Tales who wrote about birds mating in February. Soon, nature-minded European nobility began sending love notes during bird-mating season. Industrialization took over by mass-producing cards and then Hersey and Cadbury stepped into the picture. And, as they say, the rest is history—or not.

Affirmation: I celebrate love.

Coaching question: How do you handle things that aren’t as they seem? 

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The Gift of Generosity

True generosity is an offering; given freely and out of pure love. No strings attached. No expectations. Time and love are the most valuable possessions you can share. Suze Roman, author, financial advisor

’Tis the season of giving. There are “duty gifts” and “love gifts.” We give both. The greatest gifts are those given freely with no attachment. No expectations. As Suze says, true generosity is an offering. I take this to mean offering as in the biblical sense, a sacrifice. 

Humans are inherently insecure creatures. The accumulation of things offers us a sense of security. This is why giving generously out of love gives us such a feeling of satisfaction and joy. In addition to all those duty gifts you’re buying, consider giving at least one love gift with no strings attached. Spent your money, your time, or use your talents—all are gifts. 

Affirmation: I give out of love.

Coaching questions: What’s the best gift you’ve ever received? What’s the best gift you’ve ever given? What gift of love will you give this season?

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Look For The Helpers

When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ Mister Rogers

Mister Rogers’s mother knew that if her son recognized the helpers he would feel calmer about the tragedy, knowing that someone was there to take control and put order to the chaos. Who has helped you in times of tragedy or need? Perhaps it was a teacher or a pastor, a grandmother or a neighbor, a friend or sibling.

As I talk with daughters who have lost their mothers to death, abandonment or Alzheimer’s, the trajectory of their grief recovery is often changed by the helpers who show up. The support and love of older brothers or sisters, grandmothers, neighbors, friends in support groups, hospice workers, or dads, calm the chaos of the moment and become the helpers in their lives.

Affirmation: I’ve been blessed with having helpers in my life.

Coaching questions: Who have been the helpers in your life? How have they made a difference? How have you shown up as a helper in the life of another? What difference did you make?

IMG_2071.jpgEven the famous Julia Child needed helpers…lots of helpers!

Finding Peace

When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.  Jimi Hendrix (1942-1970), American rock guitarist, singer, and songwriter.

It feels as though our nation and our world are in unprecedented turmoil. The power of love is definitely not overcoming the love of power as Hendrix was suggesting. As much as I believe in being an informed advocate for what we believe, taking a breather from it all is valuable as well.

Take a moment and consider the swan. Her life may not be as peaceful as this photo from my local park portrays, but the image gives us a focal point on which to rest our minds and our hearts. Now, if only for a few seconds, take a deep breath and just BE.

Affirmation: I am at peace.

Coaching questions: What helps you keep peace within yourself? If you feel harried, what is one thing can you do to feel more peaceful?

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Royal Love

Mama was my greatest teacher, a teacher of compassion, love and fearlessness. If love is sweet as a flower, then my mother is that sweet flower of love. Stevie Wonder, entertainer

How can I speak of anything but love on the day of the royal wedding? The presence of a young mother, Diana, who died too early, was certainly there. She would have been so proud of her son and the changes he is making to the culture. But the sadness of the past absolutely didn’t take away from the pure joy, the love and the unity this wedding embodied.  Americans and Britons alike were in need of some loveliness…something apart from sadness and anger and bad news in general. I just wish them well…a life of joy and service.

I hope the sadness of your past doesn’t take away the joy and love as your life unfolds.

Affirmation: I am a teacher of compassion.

Coaching question: Who was your greatest teacher? Who is your “sweet flower of love”?