February 14th, Valentines Day. It’s the one day of the year specifically marked to show those closest to you how much you love them. Whether its flowers, candy, cards, or a special date this is the day you have to do something right? What about the other 364 days of the year? And what about all the people that you don’t know that well? Here are five ways to show your love all year round, and they wont cost you a thing.
One: Your time
Donate your time to a local charity event, non-profit organization or just find something good to do in your neighborhood. We have a practitioner at MOSAIC who goes out in our neighborhood every Thursday and picks up trash. Not with any group, company or club, just because he lives there, he practices there, and he cares. There are lots of non-profits looking for help. Maybe there is a non-profit collecting toys for less privileged children or a soup kitchen providing holiday meals that could use some volunteers. Whatever it is, one gift everyone always seems to need, is time.
Two: Random act of kindness
Next time you’re in a packed parking lot, instead of racing to secure your spot first, give it to someone else. Let the car behind you take the closer spot; you’ll find another. Help an old lady with her bags across the street or just simply offer a smile to a stranger. Random acts of kindness have a ripple effect. Just one smile could travel around the world.
One person’s old stuff is another person’s treasure. I’m not talking about giving away money; I’m talking about taking stock and removing some of the clutter. If you were to go to your closet right now, how many t-shirts, shoes, belts, or other clothes do you have that you never wear? Small, local clothing exchange stores survive off your donations. They not only provides clothing for more affordable prices, but they also provide jobs. Take stock of the cabinets, closets and spaces under the bed. Not only will you be helping others, but you will create new space for yourself.
There is a Buddhist meditation I like that goes like this:
May I be filled with loving-kindness.
May I be well.
May I be peaceful and at ease.
May I be happy.
The mediation is supposed to be repeatedly recited as it is written above. Then in time, you are to change “I” with a particular person, then a group of people, expanding out to contain communities, countries or continents. The idea is to send loving energy from your heart to the hearts of others. Some energy healing modalities train in this very practice. They specifically focus attention on a particular person and send healing energy to them. We’ve all done it at some point in our lives without even realizing it. What do we say when we hear a friend or family member has passed? “I will send love to you and your family.” Or “You will be in my thoughts and prayers.” We are all connected in this great web of life. Your thoughts are powerful so make your intentions pure. Direct some love to an individual or group on a regular basis.
Take time to acknowledge family and friends not just today but regularly. A hand wrote letter or a phone call to tell them you love and appreciate them, or a short break from all your daily activities to stop and have a focused conversation. It’s important to acknowledge those who support and nurture us in our lives. Not just for them but also for you. It helps you to connect with the many blessings that you have and the gift that family and friendship truly are.
These five gifts don’t come from Hallmark, but they will have a positive influence on a fellow human beings life; and who knows, there just might be something in it for you as well.
Happy Valentines Day, and everyday.
Ryan is the Co-founder of MOSAIC Yoga, a 200-hour Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher (E-RYT) through Yoga Alliance, and a member of the International Association of Yoga Therapists. Ryan is the team lead for MOSAIC’s Health and Yoga services and is the creator and director of MOSAIC’s yoga teacher training program. Ryan is a regular contributor to Yoga Digest Magazine and the author of Good Being, Good Living: A Modern Model for Sustained Holistic Health. Ryan has studied at the National Academy of Sports Medicine, the CHEK Institute for advanced performance, the Metabolic Typing Education Center and Symmetry’s school for alignment therapy. For over a decade, Ryan’s passion has been to identify and learn the best services, methods, and philosophies that support and nurture the health and wellness of human beings. Instagram: @theyogisyogi