We’re welcoming a sunny, mild day in Eastern Washington before a Superbowl gathering I’m not yet sure I’ll attend. The consistent brain injuries in a few sports complicate my enjoyment of watching them anymore: American football, soccer and bike racing. However, the social aspects of a Superbowl party are quite compelling, which some of you may relate to. I’d love to visit with this group of friends and watch the sun set from their rural cabin in the woods. We’ll see which parts make the decision!
Today began by joining nearly 300 fascinating individuals from all over the world in a monthly Zoom hour of collective creativity. Isolation Journal Community members share the hour writing, drawing or connecting and sharing resources in the chat. I’ve been supported and inspired by Suleika Jaouad and her beautiful community for nearly two years. I refer to her often!
While getting set up for my writing hour, I unexpectedly came upon a playlist made for February 14–one I hadn’t listened to in awhile. This set of tunes was compiled and shared by another brilliant writer, Melissa Febos, in a writing workshop last February. I discovered Melissa through her beloved mama, an important IFS colleague and mentor for me over the years. And through Instagram, Melissa led me to Suleika. One connection opens up another and another and another….
Connections like this are a compelling reason for me to stay on social media, despite the visual and processing challenges for my brain. I’ve discovered so many gems I never would’ve known about without it. I remind my tired parts it’s worth it!
In today’s writing hour chat, I shared the link to Melissa’s V-day playlist as a support to others looking for music while writing. I include it below for you. It wasn’t until later in the day, while reading Suleika’s weekly email to her community, that I read the love poem by Melissa’s wife, the gifted poet, Donika Kelly. The coincidence was too strong not to include Donika’s poem below for you.
For some Valentine’s Day trivia and more tunes thank you NPR:
The fact that Valentine’s Day has been a conflicted day from the beginning, validates my ambivalence about this holiday. February 14 generates both the nudge to express and receive love and appreciation, as well as stir up feelings of loneliness and sadness for those who aren’t partnered and want to be.
It is believed that Pope Gelasius established The Feast of Saint Valentine Day in AD 496 to honor two Valentines who were executed on February 14 (in different years) by Roman Emperor Claudius II over 200 years before.
Continuing the fertility theme from Imbolc in last week’s mailing (read it here!), historians posit that Valentine’s Day originated from the Roman pagan festival of fertility called Lupercalia, an event filled with animal sacrifice, random coupling and the whipping of women. yikes. The first known connection between Valentine’s Day and coupledom wasn’t until 1400.
As I’ve been reflecting on love, I decided to include this photo is from the last night of my 3 month, 7000 mile, cross country sojourn in the Fall of ’21. I hiked up to this spot in Missoula, Montana, for a sunset. I’m three hours from home wearing an important T-shirt I found a few days earlier at Chicago’s Modern Art Museum from an exhibit by Chicago-born artist, Carlos Rolón Dzine. Born to a Puerto-Rican family, Rolón’s background nudges him to explore questions of inclusion, aspiration and cultural identity.
Love is the Answer represents my purpose on this earth—to learn to love myself and all my parts, to learn to love others and their parts, and to help them to do the same. This is an ongoing, dynamic journey that will last a lifetime. And that’s ok.
The life practice of Internal Family Systems therapy is built on love, compassion, open-heartedness, inclusion.
The answer to pain and trauma comes down to the simple, complicated quality and action called LOVE. Love heals. Love connects. Love restores. Love is the Answer. Or for the skeptics, it’s AN answer!
How do you express or experience love?
What small or significant gesture can you make today, this week or month to show yourself some extra love or appreciation?
What could you do to extend some love to someone who may not normally be extended that gift?
Let your creativity and your playfulness flow. Have fun with this!
NPR asked listeners for songs that were both a great love song and a great breakup song. Here are the most frequently suggested tracks filled “with gut-wrenching lyricism and timeless melodic structure…”. Enjoy the range!
Melissa Febos’ V-day playlist on Spotify. Thank you!
And a love poem written by her beloved wife, Donika Kelly, from The Renunciations. (I’m delighted to get to share these as a pair. This couple lives a beautiful and inspiring partnership in so many ways.)